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Detailed record for Royal 20 A IV

Author Martin de Brion of Paris
Title Description of the Holy Land, entitled, 'Tresample description de toute la Terre Saincte, et choses memorables faictes en plusieurs lieux et villes d'icelle extraicte de la Bible et livres Sainct Hierosme', beginning, 'Arbee est une petite ville', and preceded by a dedicatory letter and poem addressed to Henry VIII
Origin France, Central (Paris?)
Date c. 1540
Language French
Script Humanistic
Decoration Full-page miniature of the arms of France and England quarterly within the Garter with 'H. H.' on either side, roses, fleurs-de-lis, and crowns (f. 1v). Full foliate borders in colours and gold with birds, insects, roses, and acanthus motifs, framing texts written in gold on red grounds (ff. 2-3v). Miniature in colours on a gold ground of roses, a ladybird, a butterfly, and a bee (f. 25v). Numerous initials with floral or foliate motifs in colours and gold. Tudor roses in gold at the corners of the text blocks. Titles in gold.
Dimensions in mm 230 x 160 (165 x 100)
Official foliation ff. 125 (+ 1 unfoliated parchment flyleaf at the beginning and at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding Pre-1600. Binding of crimson velvet with the royal arms; gilt fore-edges.
Provenance Henry VIII (b. 1491, d. 1547), king of England and Ireland (from 1509): arms of France and England quarterly within the Garter with 'H. H' on either side, roses, fleurs-de-lis, and crowns (f. 1v); dedicatory letter and poem addressed to him (f. 2); binding of crimson velvet with the Royal arms (between H. H.) and roses embroidered in coloured silks, gold-thread and seed-pearls.
The Old Royal Library (the English Royal library): included in Henry VIII's 1547 post-mortem inventory as 'the description of the holy lande and a boke covered with vellat enbrawdred with the kings armes declaring the same, in a case of blacke leather with his graces Armes' in 'the llittle Study called the newe Librarye' at Westminster (see Backhouse 1992); included in a list of books of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (b. 1571, d.1631), 1st baronet, antiquary and politician ( in 'the privy closet at Whitthall' Palace, Cotton Vespasian B IV f. 25, as 'Discription of the holy places in scipture dedicated to H. 8 in french--4t' (see Backhouse 1992).
Carley (2000, H5. 140) supposes the item to be a printed book, but it matches the later description in Cotton's listing of the manuscript (Backhouse, 1992).
Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.
Notes Incipit: 'Arbee est vne petite ville'.
A similar but slightly abridged version in Latin (Totius terrae sanctae descriptio), with dedication to Francis I of France, was printed at Paris in 1540.
Select bibliography Cyril Davenport, ‘Embroidered Bindings of Bibles in the Possession of the British and Foreign Bible Society’, Burlington Magazine, 4, No. 12 (1904), 267-80 (pp. 268-69).

George F. Warner and Julius P. Gilson, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and King’s Collections, 4 vols (London: British Museum, 1921), II, p. 352.

Janet Backhouse, 'Sir Robert Cotton's Record of a Royal Bookshelf', The British Library Journal, 18 (1992), 44-51 (p. 46).

Robert W. Karrow, Jr, Mapmakers of the Sixteenth Century and Their Maps: Bio-Bibliographies of the Cartographers of Abraham Ortelius, 1570 (Chicago: Speculum Orbis Press, 1993), pp. 94-95.

Livres en broderie: reliures françaises du Moyen Age à nos jours, ed. by Sabine Coron and Martine Lefèvre (Paris: Bibliothe`que nationale de France, 1995), pp. 25-26.

James P. Carley, The Books of King Henry VIII and His Wives, preface by David Starkey (London: British Library, 2004), p. 11.

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (London: British Library, 2011), no. 146 [exhibition catalogue].
Last revised: 02 June 2011


Images
* * *
 
Upper cover

Upper cover
Upper cover
Lower cover

Lower cover
Lower cover
Upper cover

Upper cover
Upper cover
 
Arms of France and England

ff. 1v-2
Arms of France and England
Royal arms

f. 1v
Royal arms
Royal arms

f. 1v
Royal arms
 
Gold text

f. 2
Gold text
Frog

f. 2
Frog
Verses addressed to Henry VIII

ff. 2v-3
Verses addressed to Henry VIII
 
Verses dedicated to Henry VIII

ff. 3v-4
Verses dedicated to Henry VIII
Gold text

f. 3v
Gold text
Owl

f. 3v
Owl
 
Grasshopper

f. 3v
Grasshopper
Gold text

f. 4
Gold text
Anathoth, Area Achad, and Azer

ff. 13v-14
Anathoth, Area Achad, and Azer
 
Bethoron, Bethsamis, and Bala

ff. 24v-25
Bethoron, Bethsamis, and Bala
Rosebush

f. 125v
Rosebush
Rosebush

f. 125v
Rosebush
 

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