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Detailed record for Harley 3877

Author Ranulf Higden
Title Polychronicon (from the Creation to Edward III)
Origin England
Date 3rd quarter of the 15th century
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration Large initial in gold and colours with acanthus leaves combined with a full border with foliate decoration, acanthus leaves and flowers at the beginning of the prologue (f. 9). 6 large initials in gold and colours with foliate feathering, acanthus leaves, and flowers extending into the margin or intercolumnar space at the beginning of each book (ff. 39v, 61, 92, 117, 147, 170v). Space for initial left blank (f. 66). Numerous large and smaller initials in blue with red pen-flourishing including foliate decoration and fish. Capitals marked in yellow or in red. Ascenders of certain letters on the top line are decorated with a face in profile (ff. 2v, 3). Catchwords written on scrolls.
Dimensions in mm 375 x 270 (260 x 180), in 2 columns
Official foliation ff. 217 (+ 4 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Collation Mostly in quires of 8.
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Binding of brown leather with gold tooling, marbled endpapers.
Provenance 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 Including an alphabetical index (ff. 1-8).
Catchwords. Leaf signatures.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 3877.

John Taylor, 'The Development of the Polychronicon Continuation', The English Historical Review, 76 (1961), 20-36 (pp. 28, 29, 36).

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Decorated initial

f. 9
Decorated initial

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