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Detailed record for Harley 4688

Author Bede
Title Commentary on Proverbs, Letter to Ecgberht of York (ff. 89-97)
Origin England, N. (Durham)
Date 1st half of the 12th century
Language Latin
Script Protogothic
Scribe Written by two scribes, including Symeon of Durham
Decoration Large initials with foliate decoration in combinations of green, brown, purple, and red, some with highlighting in yellow (ff. 2, 27, 63, 79v, 89). Large initials in red, some with penwork decoration. Small initials in brown, some highlighted in light yellow. Rubrics in red or green. Numerous marginal drawings in brown ink.
Dimensions in mm 290 x 185 (225 x 125)
Official foliation ff. 98 ( + an unfoliated paper flyleaf at the beginning and 2 at the end)
Collation Gatherings of 8 leaves.
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance The Benedictine cathedral priory of St Cuthbert, Durham: inscribed 'D' (erased) (see Ker 1964); 13th-century inscription 'Liber Sancti Cuthberti' (f. 1v).
Inscribed 'Joh. Henworth monachus legebat (?), 15th century (f. 27); Heworth (f. 88); 'Willelmus Kirkby monachus Dunelm (f. 85v); 'Ricardus (?) Nycetipet de monasterio de Nesham tenetur dompno Thome de Adlyngfletis in . . . cum quibus . . . vel cum quibus comparabitur una corda cum qua prefatus T. erit suspensus' (f. 53v).
Thomas Tempest (d. 1743), 4th baronet, county Durham: inscribed 'Sr. Tho. Tempt Baronet' (f. 2).
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 One of three manuscripts containing this letter, according to The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900, 1991.
f. 1 is a parchment fragment with various inscriptions.
f. 98 is a parchment leaf with Latin text and various inscriptions.
Scribe A, identifiable as Symeon of Durham, wrote ff. 1-7, line 7/7. Scribe B wrote ff. 7 line 7/8-end, and Harley 3864, according to information provided by Michael Gullick, which we gratefully acknowledge.
Includes a early example of the 'split petal' motif, according to Lawrence-Mathers 2003 pp. 75, 212.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 4688.

Durham Cathedral Manuscripts to the end of the Twelfth Century, intro. by R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford: University Press, 1939), no. 63.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, ed. by N. R. Ker, 2nd edn, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 3 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), p. 73.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books ed. by N. R. Ker, Supplement to the Second Edition, ed. by Andrew G. Watson, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks, 15 (London: The Royal Historical Society, 1987), p. 30.

The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900, ed. by Leslie Webster and Janet Backhouse (London: British Museum, 1991), no. 96 [exhibition catalogue].

Anne Lawrence-Mathers, Manuscripts in Northumbria in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Woodbridge: Brewer, 2003), pp. 75, 212, 226-7.

Registrum anglie de libris doctorum et auctorum veterum, ed. by Richard H. & Mary A. Rouse, and R.A.B. Mynors, Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, 2 (London 1991), p. 98.


Images
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Decorated initial

f. 2
Decorated initial
Decorated initial

f. 27
Decorated initial
Decorated initial

f. 79v
Decorated initial
 
Decorated initial

f. 89
Decorated initial

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