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Detailed record for Harley 3486

Author Giovanni Boccaccio, translation by John Lydgate based on translation by Laurent de Premierfait
Title The Fall of Princes , with prologue, imperfect
Origin England
Date 2nd half of the 15th century
Language English
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration Large initial in colours and gold with foliate decoration including acanthus leaves and foliate feathering extending into the margins to form a partial border (f. 2). Large and smaller 'champ' initials in colours and gold with foliate feathering extending into the margins. Some initials have been excised (e.g., ff. 70v, 167). Paraphs in red or blue.
Dimensions in mm 375 x 265 (255 x 175), in 2 columns
Official foliation ff. 177 (+ 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and 1 at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Brown calf with gold fillets and blind tooling.
Provenance Added 16th-century annotations in English (e. g., ff. 63, 67v).
Nathaniel Noel (fl. 1681, d. c. 1753), bookseller, employed by Edward Harley for buying books and manuscripts chiefly on the Continent, where his agent was George Suttie (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, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley ‘13 die Augustij, A.D. 1724’ (f. 1) and '13 August 1724' (f. 2).
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 f. 1 is a partially excised leaf with later inscriptions.
Catchwords written horizontally. Leaf signatures.
For missing leaves, see Bergen 1924-27.
Very damaged, especially towards the end.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 3486.

Henry Noble McCracken, The Lydgate Canon. Appendix to the Philological Society's Transactions 1907-1909 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & co. for The Philological Society, 1908), pp. iii-xlvi (p. xiv).

Lydgate's Fall of Princes, ed. by Henry Bergen, 4 vols, Early English Text Society, 121-124 (London: Early English Text Society, 1924-1927), I, p. xxiii; IV, pp. 51-53.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), II: 1723-1726, p. 305 n. 2.

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. 253-54.


Images
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Decorated initial and border

f. 2
Decorated initial and border

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