Saturday, 27 May 2023

Otto Ege's Terence: An Addendum

Last weekend I posted about Otto Ege's manuscript of Terence's Comedies. I reproduced at the top of the page an image of a leaf in a private collection in California that I was able to examine a few weeks ago, thanks to the very kind hospitality of the owner. After he read my post, he contacted me to tactfully draw my attention to the fact that I seemed to have made an oversight.

Sunday, 21 May 2023

Otto Ege's Terence


Private collection, California

Leaves from some of Otto Ege's manuscripts are very easily recognised. He did not sell many leaves of manuscripts written in Humanistic script, for example, and among these, his copy of Terence's Comedies is distinctive (an example is shown above).

Sunday, 23 April 2023

A Czech Antiphonal Leaf Dated 1576

On a visit to the Houghton Library in 2018 I went through a box of miscellaneous single leaves, containing all sorts of interesting items. One is a Czech Antiphonal leaf, of which a detail is shown above.

Saturday, 8 April 2023

A 13th-Century Peter Lombard now in Liverpool

This week's post is really just a series of observations, followed by a puzzle to which I hope a reader might be able to offer a solution.

Some months ago I went to Liverpool, and among the manuscripts I wanted to see was a very fine copy of Peter Lombard's Gloss on the Psalms, produced probably in Oxford in the early 13th century. It is well known, having been catalogued by George Warner when owned by Dyson Perrins, and having been included in Nigel Morgan's Survey of Early Gothic English Illumination [1].

It is an extremely handsome volume, with wide margins, as can be seen in the image above; here is a close-up of one of the historiated initial:


Saturday, 25 February 2023

The "De Roucy" Hours?: An Addendum

Last weekend I asked Ellie Jackson, Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library, for a copy of an article she published last year, and she kindly sent me a PDF: 

Eleanor Jackson, ‘Pursuing the Percys: The Original Owners of the Percy Psalter-Hours’, Journal of Medieval History, 48.4 (2022), 524–45

It concerns a late 13th-century Psalter-Hours that I examined nearly 25 years ago when it was in a private collection; it was acquired by the BL in 2019. By coincidence, one of the things it addresses is so relevant to the blog I wrote a few weeks ago about the heraldic arms in the so-called "de Roucy" Hours, that I thought it would be worth writing this brief addendum to that post. (If you have not already read it, I suggest you do so before continuing here).

Sunday, 19 February 2023

#ReceptioGate: Recent News

I hope to get back to my normal blogging about manuscripts soon, but I have been dealing with (a) some (hardcopy) publications deadlines and (b) some more legal threats from Prof. Rossi's lawyers in Rome and London.

So, for those of you not on Twitter, I will simply bring you up to date with the news that there have been three publications in the past couple of days.

On Friday, the fact-checking site based at the University of Leiden published two new reports. They are in Dutch, so I use Google Translate for the following extracts.

The first, under the headline "RECEPTIOgate: Book about the persecution of the Jews also contains cut and paste work without a source", demonstrates and meticulously documents extensive copying, without adequate citation or use of quotation-marks, from the published and unpublished work of others.

The second, with the title "Rose is a rose is a rose: the art of Carla Rossi", shows how Rossi, working under her alter ego (or heteronym as she prefers to call him), "Lev Matvej Loewenthal", has copied paintings by the Italian artist Silvia Molinari, and offered them for sale. It is well worth visiting this page to see the animations that demonstrate the near-identical details of some Molinari and Rossi paintings.

Finally, the German-language Swiss newspaper "Blick" (which according to Wikipedia is "the most read paid newspaper in Switzerland") has today published a brief report of the ReceptioGate affair:

Rossi has repeatedly tried to frame the scandal as the hateful ramblings of a single blogger (motivated either by envy for her greater accomplishments, or by involvement in the "illicit trafficking" in dismembered manuscripts, which she has heroically exposed) and has sent legal threats to at least five other people and organisations who have taken my side (none of which, so far, have been shown to have any merit). I am therefore grateful to the journalists -- especially Peter Burger, author of the Nieuwscheckers articles -- who have helped spread the story beyond the confines of Twitter.

[Update, 10pm, 19 Feb. 2023:]
Another article has been published, in the Tages-Anzeiger, but it is behind a paywall, requires registration, so for the time being you will need to register an account if you want to read it in full. (If you prefer not to register, I imagine it will be shared in full online fairly soon).
One of its main revelations for me is that it perhaps explains the timing of a series of messages I received on 17 January, stating that Rossi had killed herself. Similar messages were sent to the journalist who had given her a deadline the next day for responding to his questions. (Of course she had not killed herself, as we know because she has been changing the status of her UK-registered company, and sending legal threats, since then). 

Here again are the links to the other three articles:

Sunday, 22 January 2023

The "De Roucy" Hours?

In The Book of Hours of Louis De Roucy (RECEPTIO Academic Press, 2022), Prof. Rossi writes:

"What is noticeable in this manuscript, apart from the constant presence of owls in the borders, is the heraldic shield of its first owner. It appears with an unusual insistence, on average every ten pages, at least six times in the retrieved leaves, depicting a blue lion on a field of gold, Or a lion azure armed and langued gules (Fig. 8 et seq.)" (p. 22):

Figs. 8a-8f reproduce these six shields:

But in my blogpost here, I described the background as silver (argent) not gold (or), and note examples of French families that bore these arms:

I also provided a close-up detail of one example from the manuscript:

Saturday, 14 January 2023

The RECEPTIO-Rossi Affair, Part VIII: Independent Fact-Checkers

I am very aware that there are many people who are not on Twitter, and are therefore not up-to-date with the recent revelations in this ongoing saga. I have not posted anything new here since 29 December, partly because the minutiae may not interest most people, and partly because it would be too time-consuming to report everything that has happened. 

But it seems worth writing a new post now, because of an article published online yesterday by Peter Burger, of the Dutch fact-checking website 'News Checkers' , based at Leiden University ( It is in Dutch, but Google Translate and Deepl both do a very good job of translating it into English (and, I assume, other languages).

I recommend that you read the whole article, but the "headline" revelation is that a 40-page article about Michelangelo's poetry, published in 2017 by Rossi in an online Journal of which she was "Editor in Chief", and re-distributed by her as her own work on her university website, her page, and her Researchgate page, is very largely copied from an article published in 2004 by Matteo Residori, an Italian scholar writing in French, now of the Sorbonne Nouvelle University.

According to the Dutch analysis, 77% of Rossi's 2017 text came from Residori's 2004 publication, and another 6% from a French scholar's work, published in 2007.

In response to this revelation, Rossi published on her page an image, supposedly showing an earlier version of the Michelangelo article, in which due credit is given to Residori (in red) and her own name does not appear:

[Source (archived copy)]

Needless to say, she does not cite her source for this image. Even if it does come from an earlier version of her original online publication, this does not change the fact that Residori's work is not acknowledged in this way in any of the other archived versions of the online publication, which all look like this:


Residori's name also does not appear in the versions of the article uploaded by Rossi to her various personal and institutional websites:

Despite the concrete evidence that she has distributed this article on at least four different websites, without citing the original author in any of them, Rossi writes on her page:
"Qualques [sic] imbéciles, dans sa chasse aux sorcières lancée par Peter Kidd et poursuivie par des crétins sur Twitter, a cru trouver un plagiat dans cet article, auquel manque l'en-tête paru dans le magazine."
She may think that Twitter is populated only by "imbéciles" and "crétins", but it is worth emphasising that I had no part in the most recent revelations, which were entirely the result of investigations by an independent and highly-respected fact-checking organisation.

[EDIT 15 January 2023: Matteo Residori is Italian, not French as I had written in the original version of this blogpost; I have now corrected this]

Thursday, 5 January 2023

The RECEPTIO-Rossi Affair, Part I: The Staff [re-posting, with edits]

[6 Jan. 2023: Google deleted the previous version of this page, so I have removed the parts that were presumably the source of a complaint, and tried to tidy it up in other ways. The old version is archived online elsewhere]

lot happened yesterday [Christmas Day], mainly on Twitter, but also on Hacker News, on, and some in private emails (there are more revelations in store if I can get permission to share some private info!).

I know that there are many people who have good reasons not to be on Twitter, especially under its current (mis-)management, so this blog is an attempt to summarise recent revelations.

I am not a very sophisticated user of Twitter (I don't follow many people, and my feed is usually very low-volume), so it is very possible that I have failed to see some relevant tweets among the hundreds posted in the past 24 hours or so. Often several people made the same observations independently, and I am not sure who made them first. So: apologies in advance if I seem not to give your contribution the attention it deserves.

As mentioned above, there is a lot of material to cover, so I think I'll break it into several blogposts; this one covering the staff listed on the RECEPTIO website.

It was a private DM that really got the ball rolling for me. I was sent a private message to the effect that at least three of the supposed members of staff of RECEPTIO are represented by stock photos.

I had tried finding some of these staff members online (with very limited results, for reasons that later became apparent) but had not yet tried a reverse image search to find where their supposed portrait photos came from. 

The first to be revealed as a stock photo was "Noemi De Santis":
My favourite example is the Legal Advisor, attorney "Paolo Enrico Bernasconi":
His image can be found on a number of sites:
of which this is my favourite:
But it turns out that he can also help you out with your drug arrest if you are in Texas or New Mexico!:

The same situation applies to several more of RECEPTIO's supposed staff, including "Emma Fleury" and "Hannah Amì":

Within hours of these observations being made on Twitter, the images of these people started disappearing from the RECEPTIO website:

A comparison between two archived versions of the RECEPTIO website reveals *extensive* changes on the Operational Staff page this year: 11 people have been removed, and of those that remain several have had their names or titles changed! 

Of the people who [at the original time of writing] have not yet been removed from the website, three share a common surname, and Prof. Rossi uses the same surname in legal contexts, as shown by online records. Prof. Rossi's husband later sent me an email confirming that she is his wife, and the other two women whose names and pictures appeared on the RECEPTIO website are their daughters.

The website of the Swiss National Science Foundation lists Carla Rossi's grants, which total of 547,145 Swiss francs (not including any money she was paid for her part in a 3-year project that was granted another 653,176 Swiss francs).

She received a grant of 20,000 Swiss francs (about £18,000 or $21,000) for a one- month project to work on the reconstruction of the manuscript which was the subject of my blogpost:
I cannot comment on the quality of the other projects, but certainly this grant resulted in an extremely poor piece of very "deriviative" work.

Maybe I'll come back and add more to this post later. I want to end by emphasising that there are certainly some innocent people who have been persuaded to get involved with RECEPTIO, at least one of whom I know to be a genuine scholar, and who knew nothing of what is now being uncovered, so please do not assume that everyone involved with RECEPTIO has the same moral compass as its Director.