Saturday 10 September 2022

More Ege Acquisitions from Dawson's Book Shop

Last week we looked at a manuscript sold by Dawson's Book Shop of Los Angeles, and broken up by Otto Ege (or perhaps Philip Duschnes). Today we'll look at a few more.

For the catalogue of French manuscripts in the collection of Bob McCarthy I traced eleven leaves with historiated initials from a Parisian Bible of about the 1330s  (of which a detail is shown above), and about sixteen more without historiated initials:

Ege included leaves of this Bible without historiated initials in his portfolios of Original Leaves from Famous Bibles, Nine Centuries, 1121–1935 A.D., Series A and B, and in his study of Otto Ege's Manuscripts, Scott Gwara suggested that the parent volume might be no. 4 in the list of Ege codices in de Ricci's Census:

I gave several reasons for believing that Scott was right. We can now confirm this: de Ricci records that Ege got the book from E[rnest] Dawson in 1932, and it can be identified in Dawson's Catalogue 83, March 1932, as an unnumbered item on the back cover:

This description provides a few extra details not mentioned by de Ricci, including the fact that, in addition to 45 historiated initials, there were another 45 "gold borders and large gold initials"; these were presumably leaves with prologues to the biblical books.

In Dawson's Catalogue 101, January 1935, there are a number of medieval manuscripts listed with uncharacteristically short descriptions.


One of these is a 15th-century Italian copy of Terence's Comedies with 103 leaves:

This is Gwara HL78, and de Ricci Census no. 65:


Another is a large 15th-century Flemish Antiphonary with 207 leaves:

This is the so-called Limburg Antiphonary, Gwara HL82 and no. 68 in de Ricci's Census:


On the connection between Dawson's and Ege it is worth noting that the former were apparently a distributor of the latter's first portfolio, Series A of Original Leaves from Famous Bibles, Nine Centuries, 1121–1935 A.D., issued in October 1936, and available from Dawson's by the beginning of December of the same year:

Dawson's Catalogue 115, "Christmas 1936";
this copy received by the New York Public Library
on or before 1 December 1936

Sets of Series A were also offered in Catalogue 119, for March 1937:

And a slightly reduced set (with only 35 instead of 37 leaves) in Catalogue 120, for May 1937:
and again in Catalogue 123, for Christmas 1937:

For the record, these are the other Ege manuscripts in de Ricci's Census which he records as having been acquired from Dawson's:

  • 6. Bible; Genesis to Ruth only.
    Dated 1507; 160 ff.; 43×30cm.
    Written in Germany. One large and 8 smaller miniatures.
    Obtained from Dawson's in 1932.
    Gwara, HL145
  • 17. Psalter and Hours.
    14th cent.; 320 ff.; 12×8cm.
    Written in Germany. 12 historiated initials and 24 calendar miniatures.
    Obtained from Dawson's Catalogue 13, April 1933, no. 4.
    Gwara, HL288
  • 18. Breviary.
    15th cent.; 444 ff.; 15×9cm.
    Written in Italy, Use of Rome. 3 large and 19 small historiated initials.
    Obtained from Dawson's Catalogue 13, April 1933, no. 12.
    Gwara, HL289
  • 20. Noted Missal.
    c.1400; c.80 ff.; 41×28cm.
    Written in England. 4 illuminated initials with borders.
    Obtained from Dawson's in 1932.
    Gwara, HL111
  • 33. Canon of the Mass.
    c.1550; 1 sheet folded like a triptych; each leaf 22×17cm.
    Written in Italy. 1 miniature, 3 historiated and 5 illuminated initials.
    Obtained from Dawson's in 1932.
    Gwara, HL298

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