Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Cotterell-Throckmorton Hours

Looking through the Dreweatt-Bloomsbury catalogue mentioned in a previous post, I noticed a reproduction of leaf of an English Book of Hours (lot 23) that I recognise:

The provenance in the catalogue states:
"From a large and impressive English Book of Hours from the library of Sir Robert Throckmorton (d. 1791). It was probably originally produced for a chapel in an English church or cathedral (rubrics on other leaves giving instructions for a bishop, dean, cantor, chancellor, and treasurer, and ordering texts to be read “sine pronunciacione” and “sub silentio”, suggesting communal devotion) and a sixteenth-century inscription on the endleaf of the volume asks that “Ye shall pray for the saules of Edward Cotterell & Margaret hys wyff, & of Roger, Thomas, John, William, Jane, Amey, Elizabeth, chylderyn of the seid Edwarde & Margaret”. From Throckmorton it passed to John Meade Falkner (d. 1932: see A.S.G. Edwards, 'Medieval Manuscripts Owned by J. Meade Falkner', in The Medieval Book, 2010, pp. 388 and 391), and was sold by Sotheby's on 12-14 December 1932, lot 211 (to H.R. Creswick, Librarian of the Bodleian and later Cambridge University Library), and again on 3 April 1939, lot 44, and then dispersed."
The implication is that it was broken up some time  after the 1939 auction, but in fact it was broken only very recently: the book was still intact when sold at Christie's two years ago (12 June 2013, lot 23).

A large number of leaves are currently available from Philip J. Pirages, and a few from King Alfred's Notebook; one is owned by the University of South Carolina, MS 138.

[EDIT, 18 June 2015:] Micah Park kindly informs me that nine leaves, containing the Psalter of St Jerome, are now at Emory University, Pitts Theological Library, MS 370.

I have an interest in Throckmorton manuscripts, some of which are still at the ancestral family home, Coughton Court, now owned by the National Trust:

each bearing one of a few different bookplates:

I was able to photograph the manuscript before the Christie's auction in 2013 so, for the record, here are some images of the book before it was dismembered:
Binding
Pastedown with Throckmorton bookplate; various provenance inscriptions
Request for prayers for Edward Cotterell, Margaret his wife, and their children
Detail of inscription
Opening, with ornamental catchword

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