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Detailed record for Stowe 950

Author John Gower
Title Confessio Amantis, imperfect
Origin England
Date 1st half of the 15th century
Language English and Latin
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration Large initials in blue with red penwork decoration, some in foliate patterns. Large and small initials in blue, 2 with a face in brown ink (ff. 22v, 52v). Latin summaries in red. Cadels, many with penwork decoration, including faces and animals. Decorated catchwords.
Dimensions in mm 365 x 255 (265 x 165) in two columns
Official foliation ff. 177
Form Parchment codex
Binding Pre-1600. English c. 1450 polished brown calf over wooden boards, with tooling including a flower pattern and clasp marks; parchment pastedowns affixed to the boards.
Provenance Inscription: 'Ano 1569 Maye 9D' (f. 63v).
William Burye: Latin verses signed 'W. Burye' and dated 1573, and ' . . . by me William Burye' and dated 1575 (ff. 61v and 62).
16th-century inscriptions: 'Frauncis Normann' (upper pastedown); 'Gualterus Hart 1790 (f. 2); 'Gualte' (f. 3); 'Henry Swynbourne' (f. 73); 'William erosl' (?) (f. 138v); 'John Maks' (f. 174).
Inscription: 'Robert Willmer' and 'RW' with the date 'June 1620' (f. 55v).
17th-century inscriptions: 'Anthony Chest' and 'Anthony Chester', and 'John Ch Chester' (upper pastedown).
Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville (b. 1776, d. 1839), 1st duke of Buckingham and Chandos, of Stowe House, near Buckingham: inscribed with the press-mark 'Press 2 No. 98' (f. 2) corresponding to his catalogue (see O’Conor 1819).
Richard Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville (b. 1797, d. 1861), 2nd duke of Buckingham and Chandos: sold in 1849 to Lord Ashburnham.
Bertram Ashburnham (b. 1797, d. 1878), 4th earl of Ashburnham, of Ashburnham Place, Sussex.
Bertram Ashburnham (b. 1840, d. 1913), 5th earl of Ashburnham: purchased by the British Museum from him together with 1084 other Stowe manuscripts in 1883.
Notes ff. 1 and 177 are paper leaves with notes in English, the latter affixed to the lower inside cover.
The first recension of the text.
Select bibliography Charles O'Conor, Bibliotheca Ms. Stowensis: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Stowe Library, 2 vols (Buckingham: Seeley, 1818-1819), II, 380-81.

W. H. James Weale and Lawrence Taylor,Early Stamped Bookbindings in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1922), no. 42.

Catalogue of the Stowe Manuscripts in the British Museum, 2 vols (London: British Museum, 1895-1896), no. 950.

The English Works of John Gower, ed. by G. C. Macaulay, 2 vols (London: Early English Text Society, 1900-1901), I, Confessio Amantis, Prol.-Lib. V. 1970, Early English Text Society, Extra Series, 81, p. cxlv (as 'O').

Derek Pearsall, ‘The Manuscripts and Illustrations of Gower’s Works’, in A Companion to Gower, ed. by Sian Echard (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2004), pp. 73-97 (pp. 74, 81, 91).

John Gower,Trilingual Poet: Language, Translation, and Tradition, ed. by Elisabeth Dutton, with John Hines and R. F. Yeager. (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2010), pp. 16, 306, 309, 312.

* * *
Decorated initial

f. 20v
Decorated initial

ff. 28v-29

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