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Detailed record for Harley 838

Author Various authors including Christine de Pisan
Title Miscellany including works on heraldry and genealogy, a bestiary and book of birds, historical annals of St David's and Llandaff, an English translation of Christine de Pisan's the Epistle of Othea to Hector (Epistre de Othea) (ff. 67-91v), and the Prophecy of Merlin (ff. 92-93v)
Origin England
Date 2nd half of the 15th century
Language Latin and English
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration Drawings of heraldic shields in colours (ff. 1-6). Sketches in brown ink of heraldic beasts, including a swan, a bear, and a griffon (f. 8). Tree of consanguinity in brown ink (f. 10). Stags' heads (f. 11). Roundels with genealogical diagrams in brown ink, from Adam and Eve to Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville (ff. 13-48 ). Plain intials and paraphs in red. Added drawings of heraldic emblems (f. 94).
Dimensions in mm 300 x 220 (various dimensions)
Official foliation ff. 1* + 49* + 94* + 95* + 117 (+ 2 paper flyleaves at the beginning and at the end)
Form Paper codex
Binding BM/BL in-house. Rebound in 1966.
Provenance Henry Babyngton (b. 1530, d. 1570), of Dethick, Derby, father of Anthony: inscribed, '1550. Henry babyngton haveth thys boke ' (f. 1*), and the same inscription and the initials 'H. B', dated 1549 (f. 12).
Anthony Babyngton (b. 1561, d. 1586), the consiprator, executed 19 September, son of Henry Babyngton: inscribed with his name (f. 1*).
Danyell Hills: inscribed with his name and the date 1594 (f.12).
Edward Stillingfleet (b. 1635, d. 1699), bishop of Worcester and theologian (see Wright 1972).
Edward Stillingfleet (b. 1661, d. 1708), physician and Church of England clergyman, son of the former; in 1707 acquired by Robert Harley (see 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 ff. 94-95 added in the 16th century.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), I (1808), no. 838.

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. 58, 190, 316.

H. L. D. Ward, Catalogue of Romances in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum 3 vols (London: British Museum, 1883-1910), I, p. 302.

Curt F. Bühler, ‘Christine de Pisan and a Saying attributed to Socrates’, Philological Quarterly, 33 (1954), 418-20 (p. 420).

Kathleen L. Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts 1390-1490, A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, 6, 2 vols (London: Harvey Miller, 1996), I, 75 n. 54.

* * *

ff. 12v-13
Genealogical diagram of English monarchs

f. 38
Genealogical diagram of English monarchs

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