[Continued from this post]
Looking at the original Phillipps auction catalogues from 1903 and 1911 it was possible to locate the following entries:
"858 Novum Testamentum. Pars Expositionis Bedæ in Actus Apostolorum, manuscript of the tenth century, written in double columns, on vellum, with the book-plate of Lord Guilford, half morocco folio X Cent"
In the 1903 sale it was bought by "Brewer" (or perhaps Bremer?) for £1, and in 1911 by J[acques] Rosenthal for £4 5s. Presumably Brewer/Bremer failed to pay for the item, or returned it for re-sale."71 Bedæ Expositionis in Actus Apostolorum Fragmentum, manuscript of the eleventh century, written in double columns, on vellum, with the book-plate of Lord Guilford folio XI Cent"
This tells us that the manuscript was a bound volume until at least 1911, although incomplete, and that there was definitive proof of having come from the Guilford library, as suggested by the Phillipps catalogue at no. 10614. This description does not mention that the manuscript was a fragment, so the "fragm." of the first description indicated that it was an incomplete codex. The Schoenberg database does not include single leaves, however old or interesting, but it does include incomplete codices, and the present item can be found there by searching with "Bede" as author and "Guilford" in the Provenance field (I prefer to use the old interface, which is much more user-friendly than the "improved" one).
As usual, the results of searching the Schoenberg database are very hit-and-miss (hits often turn out to be misses), but two are correct:
Payne & Foss, Catalogue of Manuscripts, Books Printed on Vellum ..., February 1830, item 1053:
R.H. Evans, Valuable and extensive library of the late Earl of Guilford, Part the Third, 28 February, 1829, lot 410:"1053 Bedae, (Venerabilis,) Expositio in Actum Apostolorum. A very ancient Manuscript of the Twelfth Century upon vellum, in double columns, from Lord Guilford's Collection, 3l. 3s -- -- -- folio"
A marginal note in ink in the catalogue "α/o/o" indicates that there was a reserve of £1 on the lot; it was bought by Thorpe for £1 3s."410 Venerabilis Bedæ Expositionis in Actum Apostolorum, A VERY ANTIENT MANUSCRIPT, ON VELLUM"
Thus we have confirmed that the manuscript comes from the collection of Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford (1766-1827) part of whose library was sold in auctions from 1828 to 1835.
|Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford. © National Portrait Gallery, London|
The attribution to Bede has a long history but is spurious. The text exists in 8th-century manuscripts, and was probably composed in the 6th century. It is BHL no. 428, and has been edited in the Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, II part 1, pp.1-37, the present leaf containing the text printed from p.1 line 1 to p.9 line 1.