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Detailed record for Harley 2771

Author Marcus Tullius Cicero
Title Orator (ff. 1-24v), Brutus (ff. 25-56)
Origin Italy, Central (Florence)
Date c. 1430-c. 1440
Language Latin
Script Humanistic
Decoration 2 large white vine initials in gold and colours (ff. 1, 25).
Dimensions in mm 285 x 185 (200 x 120)
Official foliation ff. 56 (+ 3 unfoliated paper flyleave and 2 parchment flyleaves at the beginning + 1 unfoliated parchment flyleaf after f. 56 + 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. 'Harleian' binding of gold-tooled red leather; marbled endpapers.
Provenance Franciscus and Rubertus de Leonibus, brothers and sons of Franciscus Rubertus, 15th century: inscribed 'Hic liber ?est mei francisci & ruberti fratres & filii francisci ruberti de leonib[u]s hoc ?aut i[n] mei memo[r]iam feci.' (f. 57v).
Doodled faces added in the margin, ?medieval (f. 7).
Added notes and calculations in Italian, referring to Livorno and Florence (f. 57r-v).
?John Gibson (fl. 1720-1726), dealer: probably sold to the Harleys on 9 November 1721 (Diary 1966; Wright 1972).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts.
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes According to unpublished notes of A. C. de la Mare at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, this manuscript was made in Florence c. 1430-1440.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), II (1808), no. 2771.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 121 n. 7.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 162, 222.

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Front cover

Front cover
White vine initial

f. 1
White vine initial

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