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Eulogium historiarum, liber V [A Eulogy of Histories, Book 5]; illuminated medieval English manuscript on parchment
- ILLUMINATED MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT IN LATIN ON PARCHMENT, England, likely Malmesbury, c. 1375-1400. 280-288 x 190-192 mm. 63 folios on parchment, preceded and followed by two flyleaves on paper, wanting a single leaf after f. 10 and one quire after f. 15 and ending imperfectly (collation, i8 ii7 [of 8, 3 is lacking] iii-viii8), catchwords and quire signatures, written in dark brown ink in a neat English Gothic bookhand with decorative hairlines on 37-38 lines (justification, 215-218 x 125-126 mm.), ruled in ink with multiple full-length horizontal and vertical bounding lines, guide notes for rubrication, red rubrics, capitals touched in red, numbers underlined in red, 1-line paraphs in red or blue, guide letters for initials, 1-line initials in red or blue, 2- to 6-line initials in blue or red with contrasting pen decoration, often with faces in profile, two 5- to 6-line initials in burnished gold with purple pen decoration (ff. 1, 10), red line-fillers, red running titles, marginal corrections and annotations by the scribe, often embellished in red, sketches of King Edmund (f. 38v), a dog’s head (f. 51), Thomas Becket’s martyrdom (f. 56v), and King John’s death (f. 62), many marginal annotations in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century hands, some erasures on f. 56v by later reader, eighteenth-century inscriptions on f. 1. BINDING: Bound in late eighteenth-century English quarter leather over marbled pasteboards, spine with six bands, gilt-stamped with flowers and decorative patterns and title, ANTIQ. / BRIT. / HIST. / MSS. / COD. SEC. / XIV. / MUS. / BAPT. / BRISTOL / GIFFORD,” two bookplates on front pastedown, two inscriptions on verso of second flyleaf. TEXT: The Eulogium historiarum is a monastic chronicle that almost certainly originated at Malmesbury Abbey, in Wiltshire. Furnishing a universal history of the world, much of the Eulogium is a compilation of earlier chronicles, supplemented by the author with more recent events. Legends, history, and local concerns intermingle in the fifth book of the Eulogium, contained here, which focuses on the history of England from its legendary foundations to the present (although this copy breaks off in 1240). It features the story of King Lear, the prophecies of Merlin, and the life and deeds of King Arthur, as well as the history of Anglo-Saxon and Norman rule and a more local history of Malmesbury. This manuscript offers an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a near contemporary copy of the Eulogium, the only one available on the market in the last 300 years. PROVENANCE: Judging from evidence of script and decoration, this manuscript was produced in England in the late fourteenth century, c. 1375-1400, likely around Malmesbury. It is not only one of the earliest of six surviving copies, but it may well be the author’s fair copy, prepared for the monks at Malmesbury or an important patron. A sixteenth-century reader appears to have made some effort to remove Thomas Becket from the book (see f. 56v), likely in response to Henry VIII’s 1538 proclamation calling for the removal of his name and image from books. Belonged to Henry Justice (c. 1696-1763), lord of the manor of Rufforth, in Yorkshire. Belonged to Dr. Andrew Gifford (1700-1784), Baptist minister and Assistant Librarian at the British Museum. Presented by Gifford to Bristol Baptist College. Offered for sale with other manuscripts from the College’s collection by Sotheby’s in their 17 December 1991 sale. CONDITION: Joints, edges, and corners of binding worn, some staining and discoloring of leaves, mostly without any loss of text, but with loss of legibility on the ends, mostly ff. 1 and 63v, and some patches of illegibility elsewhere where the text has been rubbed, tear in lower margin of f. 26, losses to the lower corners of ff 53-55 and 57, tearing of the outer margin of f. 63, with loss of marginal annotation. Otherwise in good condition. Full description and photographs available (TM 836). [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Les Enluminures (ABAA & ILAB)]
Last Found On: 2015-11-20           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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