Sunday, 20 June 2021

The St Albans Bible

The so-called St Albans Bible (shown above) was made in Paris in the 1320s or 1330s. The earliest certain record of its existence is when it was sold as “The Property of a Lady” at Sotheby’s, 6 July 1964, lot 239, when it consisted of 526 leaves in a 16th century vellum binding. It was bought at the sale by Philip Duschnes for £1,500, and he was selling it as single leaves by the following year.

Although it was a very substantial volume, it was far from complete, "wanting the first two leaves of the prologue and the first leaf of each of the four gospels", with "initials or decorations cut from about thirty leaves". Some leaves simply have holes where the initials were cut out, and others have the holes patched with pieces of text or border decoration from other leaves:

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Email notifications for this site

There is no new blogpost this weekend, because "Feedburner", the system used by this site to send email notifications of new posts, is being discontinued, and so I have had to spend some time setting up an alternative service, using "".

I think that I have successfully moved the email adddresses of all subscribers to the new system, but it is possible that there will be glitches. If you are seeing this message after Sunday 13 June 2021, and have not had the email or RSS notification that you were previously used to receiving, please let me know (, and I will investigate.

Hopefully I'll be back with a normal blogpost next weekend ...

Saturday, 5 June 2021

A New Leaf from the Pontigny Copy of Florus & Didymus

McCarthy Collection, BM1115, verso

After many publication delays, vol. III of the catalgoue of the McCarthy collection of manuscripts appeared a few weeks ago [1]. One item that proved to be have a particualrly interesting provenance, from its origin to the late late 20th century, is a leaf from a 12th-century copy of Florus of Lyon's Commentary on the Pauline Epistles and Didymus the Blind's On the Holy Spirit

A leaf that was previously unknown to me has resurfaced in the most recent catalogue of Phillip Pirages [], so now seemed to be a good moment to set out what I found out for the McCarthy catalogue entry, and add another membra disiecta page to this site.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Otto Ege's 12th-Century Italian Gospel Lectionary


Sotheby's currently have an online sale including more than thirty single leaves from Otto Ege manuscripts, including a leaf from his well-known 12th-century Italian Gospel Lectionary, shown above. I helped to catalogue the sale, giving me a reason to reconsider the parent manuscript, which I have not really thought about since a blogpost in 2016.

The main purpose of my 2016 post was to share a 1937 description of the manuscript before it was was disbound and dispersed, but I did not pursue this to its logical conclusion, to see how much we could deduce about its provenance and contents from the old description and available images.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Otto Ege's Copy of Thomas Aquinas on Peter Lombard's Sentences


One of the most easily recognisable manuscripts dispersed by Otto Ege was a copy of Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on Peter Lombard's Sentences, Book I. Typical leaves look like the one above.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

[The 1766 Rubempré sale, IV:] The Date of the Sale

I have written before about the tendency of those who write about manuscripts (including me) to treat auctions and auction catalogues as interchangeable, and the inaccuracies this may cause. The Rupempré auction provides a good example.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

The 1766 Rubempré sale, III: Manuscripts from the Merode-Westerloo Collection

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Philippe-François de Merode (d.1742), 2nd Prince of Rubempré (shown above), and suggested that he acquired the illuminated Apocalypse that was later sold, in 1766, by his son, Maximilien-Leopold de Merode (1710-1769), 3rd Prince of Rubempré.

Of the other manuscripts in the 1766 Rubempré sale, at least one ought to be identifiable; lot 631 has a distinctive colophon at the end:

"Liber Decretorum ... anno Nativitatis J. C. 1326 Ego R. Joglar complevi seu perfeci Deo juvante Librum Decretorum ..."