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Detailed record for Harley 5261

Author Virgil
Title Bucolica (ff. 1-18); Georgica (ff. 18v-63); Aeneis, with verse preface (ff. 63v-266v); Epitaphs, etc. (ff. 267-268v)
Origin Italy, Central (?Rome)
Date 3rd quarter of the 15th century
Language Latin
Script Humanistic
Scribe Johannes de Parma (ff. 63, 266v)
Artists In the style of Joachinus de Gigantibus
Decoration Miniature in colours and gold, of Virgil reading in a landscape facing a large historiated initial of Aeneas standing with bow and arrow combined with a full white vine border with medallions enclosing two youth heads (ff. 64v-65). Large historiated initial of shepherds minding their flock combined with a full white vine and interlace border with medallions enclosing a leopard, a goat?, a head in profile with a laurel crown (?Virgil), a hare, and a coat of arms supported by putti (f. 1). Historiated initials in colours and gold at major divisions combined with white vine forming a partial border (picking ?fruit from a tree, ploughing and sowing (f. 18v)), or simply extending into the margin (man pointing at the sun, moon and stars (f. 23v), men pruning trees (f. 29v), shepherds with cattle (f. 40v), man with a beehive (f. 52), Aeneas in conversation with Dido accompanied by a child (f. 80v), Aeneas leaving on a ship (f. 96v), Anna and Dido, and the death of Dido (f. 111), Aeneas and his fleet and two men partaking in the contests held in memory of Anchises (f. 125v), the Sybil giving the golden bough to Aeneas (f. 143), Aeneas, guided by the Sibyl, entering the underworld (f. 143v), the Trojans? (f. 161v), a banquet (f. 162), ships (f. 178v), ships, and 2 men beside a sleeping king in a tent (f. 193v), 2 soldiers (f. 210v), a man and a woman fighting on horseback (f. 238v), 2 soldiers carrying a dead body (f. 229), a soldier brandishing a spear and another lying on the ground (f. 247v, more like a small miniature beside a white vine initial)). Large white vine initials in colours and gold with the white vine extending into the margin (ff. 2v, 6v, 9v, 10v, 11, 11v, 13, etc.). Large initials in colours and gold with interlace extending into the margin (ff. 4, 7v, 10 (unusual interlace initial with reserved designs)).
Dimensions in mm 235 x 165 (145 x 105)
Official foliation ff. 268 (+ 1 unfoliated paper flyleaf and 2 parchment flyleaves at the beginning + 1 unfoliated parchment flyleaf and 1 paper flyleaf at the end)
Form Parchment codex
Binding BM/BL in-house.
Provenance Written by Johannes de Parma: signed in cypher substituting the vowels by the following consonants (ff. 63, 266v).
Made for a member of the Maffei family, of Volterra: its arms per fess: 1) azure, a stag's head horned or, and 2) bendy sinister of seven or and azure) (f. 1).
Inscribed 'Cassius infelix M ?R', 15th century (f. 268v).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1
661, 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 Catchwords written vertically.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 5261.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), p. 231.

R. D. Williams, T. S. Pattie, Virgil. His Poetry through the Ages (London: The British Library, 1982), p. 137 [with reproduction of f. 63].


Images
* * *
 
Historiated initial and border

f. 1
Historiated initial and border
Text page

f. 1v
Text page
White vine initial

f. 2v
White vine initial
 
Historiated initials

f. 18v
Historiated initials
Historiated initial

f. 23v
Historiated initial
Colophon

f. 63
Colophon
 
Virgil

f. 64v
Virgil
Aeneas

f. 65
Aeneas
Aeneas and Dido

f. 80v
Aeneas and Dido
 
Text page

f. 91v
Text page
Ship

f. 96v
Ship
Historiated initials

f. 111
Historiated initials
 
Aeneas

f. 125v
Aeneas
Sybil

f. 143
Sybil
Aeneas

f. 143v
Aeneas
 
Trojans

f. 161v
Trojans
Trojans

f. 162
Trojans
Ships

f. 178v
Ships
 
Soliders

f. 193v
Soliders
Soldiers

f. 210v
Soldiers
Battle

f. 228v
Battle
 
Soldiers

f. 229
Soldiers
Soldier

f. 247v
Soldier

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