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Detailed record for Harley 2900

Title Book of Hours, Use of Sarum
Origin France, N. or N. W. (Rouen?)
Date c. 1430- c. 1440
Language Latin
Script Gothic
Decoration 34 large miniatures with large decorated initials and full foliate borders including hybrid figures, peacocks, one with a crown (f. 81v), eagles, one perched on a crown (f. 23v), other birds, and animals, in colours and gold (ff. 17, 19, 21v, 23v, 25, 36, 47v, 49, 50, 52v, 55, 56v, 59v, 61v, 63, 64v, 66, 68v, 71, 75v, 76v, 80v, 81v, 85, 86, 89v, 90v, 96v, 97v, 102, 107, 131, 179, 200). All text pages with full foliate borders, in colours and gold. Small decorated initials (2 lines), in colours and gold. Small initials (1 line) and line fillers in gold on red and blue grounds. Capital letters highlighted in yellow.
Dimensions in mm 240 x 157 (116 x 80)
Official foliation ff. I + 204 (+ 2 parchment and 1 paper flyleaves at the beginning and 2 parchment flyleaves at the end; f. i is an unfoliated paper flyleaf at the beginning)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Red velvet over wooden boards; gilt and painted edges, fore edge painted with impaled arms of Oldhall and Willoughby (see provenance).
Provenance Sir William Oldhall of Narford (d. 1460), Norfolk, and his wife Margaret, daughter of William, 5th Baron Willoughby of Eresby: Oldhall arms (f. 55), Willoughby arms (f. 200), and Oldhall and Willoughby arms impaled (on fore edge); miniatures showing William (f. 55), and Margaret (f. 200) in devotion.
Inscribed, 17th century: 'John Brooks' (f. 1).
Inscribed, 17th century: 'Thomas Standlij of Trim' (f. 78).
Robert Dale of Stratford-on-Avon, 17th century: inscribed with his name (ff. 16, 18), and the name of his cousin John Dale (f. 16).
Thomas Dale, 20 May 1654: inscribed with his name and the date (f. 171).
Elias Ashmole (b. 1617, d. 1692): inscribed 'E. Ashmole' (f. 17).
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. 1-4: added leaves with suffrages and prayers.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: [n. pub.], 1808-12), II, no. 2900.

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. 54, 84, 123, 261, 313

W. R. Tymms and M. D. Wyatt, The Art of Illuminating as Practised in Europe from the Earliest Times (London: Day and Sons, 1860; repr. Studio Editions, 1987), pls XV.10, 15.

Walter de Gray Birch and Henry Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations: An Introduction to the Study of Illustrated Manuscripts (London: Bagster and Sons, 1879), p. 17.

Friedrich Winkler, Die Flämische Buchmalerei (Leipzig: Semann, 1925), p. 179.

Millard Meiss, with Kathleen Morand and Edith W. Kirsch, French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Boucicaut Master (London: Phaidon, 1968), p. 153 n. 35.

Renaissance Painting in Manuscripts: Treasure from the British Library, ed. by Thomas Kren (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1983), p. 12 n. 4.

Janet Backhouse, Books of Hours (London: British Library, 1985), p. 76.

Janet Backhouse, Illuminations from Books of Hours (London: British Library, 2004), pl. 19.


Images
* * *
 
George fighting the dragon

ff. 54v-55
George fighting the dragon
George and the dragon

f. 55
George and the dragon
George and the dragon

f. 55
George and the dragon
 
Peacock

f. 55
Peacock
Thomas Becket

f. 56v
Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket

f. 56v
Thomas Becket
 
Eagle

f. 56v
Eagle
Ethelburga

f. 68v
Ethelburga
Nativity

f. 71
Nativity
 
Christ carrying the cross

f. 85
Christ carrying the cross
Christ carrying the cross

f. 85
Christ carrying the cross
Grotesque hybrid

f. 85
Grotesque hybrid
 
Virgin and Child

f. 200
Virgin and Child

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