Monthly Archives: August 2014

Manuscript Road Trip: Knoxville, Nashville and a Knollys

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

A few weeks ago, we “drove” through Memphis, Tennessee, on our way to Mississippi. Today, we’ll head back into Tennessee to visit the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Vanderbilt University in Nashville before moving on to Kentucky.

working map

The University of Tennesee in Knoxville owns a breviary and several manuscript leaves, some of which are on deposit and technically belong to the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. I thank Prof. Heather Hirschfeld and Anne Bridges for these images:

books_of_hours_leaves_10

Book of Hours, Italy, s. XV (U. Tennessee, Knoxville, Special Collections)

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Gradual, Italy s. XV (U. Tennessee, Knoxville, Special Collections) (note: at 514 x 362 mm, this is quite a bit larger than the Book of Hours!)

U. Tennessee, Knoxville, Special Collections

Breviary, France, s. XV (U. Tennessee, Knoxville, Special Collections)

St. Margaret emerging from the Dragon, from a Book of Hours (France, s. XV 2/4) (Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery Acq. 1983.014)

St. Margaret emerging from the Dragon, from a Book of Hours (France, s. XV 2/4) (Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery Acq. 1983.014)

In Nashville, the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery owns two leaves, one of which is notable for its incomplete state. The foreground and tower in this miniature of St. Margaret emerging from the dragon have been drawn but left unfinished. This leaf begins the French verse life of St. Margaret, “Apres la saincte passion,” that we have encountered before. The miniature has been closely trimmed and adhered to some kind of backing.

As we head into Kentucky, we’ll drive past the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in New Haven. The abbey owns an impressive collection of Cistercian manuscripts, but as they are all on permanent deposit at the Cistercian Center at Western Michigan University, you will have to visit Kalamazoo to see them. A handlist is online here. This is a great example, by the way, of why Melissa Conway and I chose to publish our Directory of Collections in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings online instead of in print; the Directory entry for Gethsemani is now out-of-date but will be corrected when we post the next update in a few months.

At Berea College we find another Ege leaf set, “Original leaves from famous Bibles : nine centuries 1121-1935 A.D,” a set that includes three manuscript leaves: a leaf from an Armenian bible, dated 1221; a leaf from a small Bible of the mid-thirteenth century; and a leaf from a Parisian Bible of the early fourteenth century.

Lexington holds a trove of notable manuscripts and documents. The University of Kentucky owns fifteen early codices, all of which are currently undergoing digitization. Two are available online already: MS Lat KY VIII and MS Lat KY IX. My thanks to Gordon Hogg and Sarah Dorpinghaus for pointing them out to me.

U. Kentucky, MS Lat KY VIII f. 7

U. Kentucky, MS Lat KY VIII f. 7

KY VIII is a fascinating compilation of penitential texts, including a calendar for Ambrosian use, the prayer “Dulcissime domine ihesu” attributed to St. Augustine, the Penitential Psalms, and a confession rite that includes an exquisite and detailed penwork Tau cross (below), something I have not encountered before:

U. Kentucky MS Lat KY VIII f. 53v

U. Kentucky MS Lat KY VIII f. 53v

MS Lat KY IX combines a beautiful late fourteenth-century Book of Hours with a somewhat less elaborate one dating from about a century later. The early miniatures are really spectacular, with lively peasant scenes in the margins:

The Last Judgement (U. Kentucky MS Lat KY IX f. 27)

The Resurrection (U. Kentucky MS Lat KY IX f. 27)

Ascension (U. Kentucky MS Lat KY IX, f. 48)

Ascension (U. Kentucky MS Lat KY IX, f. 48)

The transitions between the earlier and later sections offer a dramatic juxtaposition of styles:

U. Kentucky, MS Lat KY IX ff. 54v-55

U. Kentucky, MS Lat KY IX ff. 54v-55

The University is also home to several hundred documents from medieval Spain, several of which were written in the twelfth century. The entire collection has been expertly catalogued and digitized, available online here. This is an extraordinary resource for the study of medieval Iberia.

Office of the Dead, f. 29 (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

Office of the Dead, f. 29 (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

Our last stop, also in Lexington, is Transylvania University, where we will find a beautiful codex written in the midlands of England around 1430 that contains a Psalter and the Office of the Dead (I thank Special Collections Librarian BJ Gooch for the images). The manuscript has an important and fascinating history, some of which I have just sorted out in the past few days.

January/February, f. 1 (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

January/February, f. 1 (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

The first leaf, a calendar page for January and February, shows the typical signs of iconoclastic “editing” done during the Reformation. On January 6, the entry for the Octave of St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, has been scraped away, as has the designation “Papae” (Pope) after the name of St. Marcellus on January 16. Both of these excisions are typical of “edits” to English calendars made in the sixteenth century when the adoption of Church of England rites required that old liturgical books be brought into agreement with Reformation tenets. In addition to the general rejection of the papacy, this included the revocation of the sainthood of Thomas Becket as decreed by King Henry VIII in 1538.

An early owner added the death-anniversary of a Thomas Knollys to the calendar on February 8. This is the Thomas Knollys who served as Lord Mayor of London in 1399 and 1410 and who died on February 8, 1435. I have found a Psalter associated with the Knollys family mentioned in the will of John Welles, recorded in London on 7 June 1442: “Item lego Thome Knolles civi et grocero London’ meum psalterium in Latinis discriptum” (“I leave my Latin Psalter to Thomas Knolles, citizen and grocer of London”) (there is a translation of the will online here, but if you prefer the original Latin you’ll find it in The Register of Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, vol. II (Oxford, 1938), p. 616). The Lord Mayor had died by 1442, and the Thomas mentioned in the will is Thomas Knollys the Younger, executor of the will and the Mayor’s son. This,  then, appears to be the very Psalter that was bequeathed to him by Welles. When he owned the book, Thomas would have added the anniversary of his father’s death to the Calendar.

Flyleaf inscription (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

Flyleaf inscription (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

An inscription on the first flyleaf, probably from the eighteenth century or so (detail above), misidentifies the Knollys in the calendar as a family member who died in 1407, that is, Sir Robert Knollys, who died in August, not February. It also claims that the manuscript was written in Winchester in 1425, although there is no other evidence for that specific attribution.

Burial, f. 28v (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

Burial, f. 28v (Special Collections, Transylvania University Library, s.n.)

The coat of arms at the bottom of f. 28v, a full-page Burial illustration that precedes the Office of the Dead, impales a version of the Knollys arms (azure, a cross recercellee and voided, or) with the Baron family arms. [n.b. see Peter Kidd’s comments below for a link to another manuscript with these arms, which seem to have been impaled upon the marriage of Thomas’ daughter Joan Knollys to William Baron]

The manuscript has a fairly well-established provenance leading from England to Kentucky. An early owner named Richard Gregory added his signature to the lower margin of the first leaf. The manuscript was later owned by an unidentified member of the Dupont family, who gave it to Reverend William Bumstead. Joseph Clark Graves purchased the manuscript from Bumstead and donated it to Transylvania University in 1959.

But this manuscript’s story doesn’t end with its Kentucky home. In 2005, the manuscript was stolen along with three other Special Collections books by four students who assaulted the librarian with a stun gun after posing as representatives of a book collector. They were apprehended and the books recovered after they brought them to Christie’s Auction House in New York, again posing as representatives of a collector, to be appraised. All four were convicted and served time in Federal prison.

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Manuscript Road Trip: Carolina on my Mind

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

Thanks to the sleuthing and expertise of University of South Carolina English professor Scott Gwara, every manuscript in the state of South Carolina has been catalogued and imaged, and all of the resulting metadata has been gathered into a very useful and comprehensive website titled Pages from the Past. In addition to publishing A Census of Medieval Manuscripts in South Carolina Collections, Gwara has also worked to bring scholars together at the University for an annual seminar on the history of book, making South Carolina an important center of manuscript studies in the United States. I urge you to explore the website; you will find leaves from manuscripts that should be familiar to you by now (such as the Llangattock Breviary and the Beauvais Missal), but you will also encounter manuscripts that will certainly be new to you.

After you’ve spent some time exploring manuscripts in South Carolina, join me in North Carolina where we’ll visit UNC and Duke University.

working mapSome of the most picturesque campuses in the United States are in North Carolina. Let’s start at UNC-Chapel Hill, where medieval manuscripts can be found in the Rare Book Collection and in the Ackland Art Museum. My thanks to Claudia Funke (Curator of Rare Books at UNC-Chapel Hill) and Daphne Bissette for arranging for me to have access to images of several of the University’s manuscripts.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 92, f. 1r

UNC Chapel Hill, MS 92, f. 1r

The Wilson Special Collections Library is home to several hundred manuscripts, many of which were included in the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada and its Supplement (Census II:1907-1909 and Supplement pp. 415-420). I’ve picked a few highlights, starting with this late fifteenth-century Aristotle from Italy (perhaps Florence). The “white-vine” border on the first page is typical of manuscript illumination in Italy during this period.

Next up, a ca. 1475 Book of Hours said to have been produced in Bruges, with fifteen full-page miniatures and numerous richly illuminated borders as well as coats of arms that identify it as having been made for François de la Tour and his wife Hélène de Bussy. Known as The Hanes Hours, it was given to the University by the widow of Frederick Hanes in 1946:

UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 10, f. 29v

The Annunciation (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 10, f. 29v)

MS10_fol50v_Nativity

The Nativity (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 10, f. 50v)

Annunciation to the Shepherds (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 10, f. 54v)

Annunciation to the Shepherds (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 10, f. 54v)

The Annunciation miniature is particularly endearing, with a simplicity of execution that simultaneously incorporates rich iconographic detail: Mary, in her usual blue gown, sits at prayer, reading from a Book of Hours much like the very book in which she is depicted. The white lilies in the vase behind her represent her physical and spiritual purity. The Angel kneels before her, holding a scroll on which are written the words he speaks, “Ave, gratia plena, dominus tecum” (Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with you). The face of God can be seen in the upper left corner of the starry sky, and the Holy Spirit, as a small dove, descends in the center of the scene.

The Nativity scene also depicts the standard iconographic elements, with some details (the radiant Child, Joseph’s candle) indirectly inspired by the vision of the Nativity recorded by the fourteenth-century mystic St. Bridget of Sweden: “…[Mary]’s son, from whom radiated such an ineffable light and splendour, that the sun was not comparable to it, nor did the candle that St. Joseph had put there, give any light at all, the divine light totally annihilating the material light of the candle…. I saw the glorious infant lying on the ground naked and shining.” (see Hendrik Cornell. The Iconography of the Nativity of Christ. Uppsala Universitets Årsskrift. Uppsala, Sweden, 1924, pp. 11-13).

The angel who reveals the Good News to the startled men in this Annunciation to the Shepherds also holds a scroll. The text, “Gloria in excelsis deo,” is written upside-down, legible only to the angel as he reads it aloud.

Psalter, Use of St-Denis (Paris, s. XIII 1/2) (UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 96v)

Psalter, Use of St-Denis (Paris, s. XIII 1/2) (UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 96v)

Next up is this gorgeous thirteenth-century Psalter. The calendar of Saints in this manuscript identifies is as having been made for the use of the monks of St-Denis in Paris. The historiated initials preserve an uncommon, though not unknown, illustrative cycle that includes The Annointing of King David (Psalm 26), The Judgement of King Solomon (Psalm 38), Jonah and the Whale (Psalm 68), and the Nativity (Psalm 97).

Annointing of King David (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 27r)

Annointing of King David (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 27r)

UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 40v

The Judgement of Solomon (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 40v)

UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 66r

Jonah and the Whale (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 66r)

Psalter, Use of St-Denis (Paris, s. XIII 1/2) (UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 96v)

The Nativity (UNC Chapel Hill, MS 11, f. 96v)

 

UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 98, f. 1r

UNC Chapel Hill, MS 98, f. 1r

This theological miscellany from Spain is notable for the zoomorphic initials on the first page (spelling the first word, “Historia”) and the colophon on the last. Initially, I interpreted the inscription as recording that the manuscript was written in the year 1211, referencing a conflict that year between Alphonse VIII of Castile and the King of Navarre. It wasn’t at all clear to me what event was being referenced, however, since by 1211 Alphonse and Sancho, King of Navarre, were teaming up and undertaking the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula. Mark Mersiowsky has since pointed out (in a comment below) that the phrase “in era 1211” is a Spanish dating system that in fact translates to the year 1173.

UNC, Chapel Hill, MS 98, f. 271r

UNC Chapel Hill, MS 98, f. 271r (detail)

UNC Chapel Hill, MS 526, f. 1v

UNC Chapel Hill, MS 526, f. 1v

Before we head over the Ackland Art Museum, I want to share with you what is almost certainly the earliest western manuscript in North Carolina. The Bible fragment above dates from the first half of the ninth century and was produced in the scriptorium at Tours, where the letter-forms we still use today were first developed. This fragment and another just like it were found pasted inside the cover of an incunable binding by a sharp-eyed UNC cataloguer and were carefully removed from the binding by University conservators in 1985. Note to curators: check your early bindings! You never know what treasures may be hiding in plain sight.

The Ackland Art Museum at UNC Chapel Hill has several manuscript fragments, discoverable on their website by searching “manuscript.” Here are a few that caught my eye:

Christ with Saints within the letter [R] (Ackland Art Museum Acq. 65.6.1)

Christ with Saints within the letter [R] (France, s. XIII) (Ackland Art Museum Acq. 65.6.1)

 Below, two leaves from an early fifteenth-century Book of Hours from northern France: King David at prayer in the wilderness (the beginning of the Seven Penitential Psalms) and the Coronation of the Virgin (illustrating Compline of the Hours of the Virgin).

Ackland 69.7.1

Ackland Art Museum, Acq. 69.7.1

Ackland 69.7.2

Ackland Art Museum, Acq. 69.7.2

Moving on to the Greensboro campus of the University of North Carolina, we find a boxed set of Ege’s “Fifty Original leaves,” all of which have been digitized here. Ege originally put together forty numbered portfolios with this particular collection of leaves; the Greensboro set is number 38.

Duke University, Durham, NC

Duke University, Durham, NC

Duke University owns several dozen medieval manuscripts (Census II:1910-1911 and 2342), including those once owned by Chicago collector Berthold Louis Ullman (Census I:667-668 and Supplement pp. 421-425). Most have not been catalogued and are not available online. The Greek manuscripts in the collection, however, are catalogued here. The Nasher Collection, Duke’s art gallery, owns a beautiful late fifteenth-century Book of Hours that has been attributed to the great artist Jean Bourdichon, or at least to his workshop. Another image is here. The gallery also owns several leaves from Books of Hours, including a sumptuous miniature of The Last Judgement from a manuscript attributed to a group of illuminators known as the Masters of the Gold Scrolls (named for their swirling gold-on-scarlet backgrounds).

We visited western Tennessee a few months ago. Next time, we’ll cross the Appalachian Mountains to visit the eastern half of the state before heading into Kentucky.

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Manuscript Road Trip: Sweet Home Alabama (and Georgia too)

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

Before we leave Florida for Georgia and Alabama, I want to call your attention to a very exciting and important discovery made by Peter Kidd and discussed in his recent blogpost. He has discovered that the last person to own the Beauvais Missal before it was cut up and sold piecemeal was none other than William Randolph Hearst.

Tampa, Museum of Fine Arts, 1979-11-1 recto

The Beauvais Missal: Tampa, Museum of Fine Arts, 1979-11-1 recto

This information fills in an important gap in our previous knowledge about the manuscript’s history between its late-medieval use at the Cathedral of St-Pierre in Beauvais and the twentieth-century distribution of its leaves by Otto F. Ege. According to Kidd’s  research, Hearst purchased the manuscript in 1926 and sold it through Gimbel Brothers in November 1942. Since leaves of the Missal were offered by New York dealer and Ege-collaborator Philip Duschnes that same month, it seems likely, as has been posited, that it was Duschnes who bought the manuscript and wielded the knife. He would have then sold remnants of the fragmented manuscript to Ege, who went on to distribute leaves of the missal through his usual channels. Duschnes originally sold leaves of the missal for as little as $25 each. They now go for as much as $9,000, a number that will certainly rise in the wake of this nearly-discovered provenance.

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We’ll start today with two collections in Birmingham, Alabama. Samford University owns a copy of the Otto Ege leaf set “Original Leaves from Famous Books: eight centuries, 1240 A.D. – 1923 A.D.”. This set includes several manuscript leaves, still in their Ege mattes (my thanks to Samford’s Rachel Cohen for the images). The Aristotle manuscript below is a well-known component of the “Original Leaves from Famous Books” sets. Ege cites it as having been copied in 1365, presumably because the manuscript, when whole, included a colophon giving the date of completion. Unfortunately, because he divided the manuscript and sold it off page by page, we have to take his word for it.

Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, manuscript on paper (Germany, 1365)

Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, manuscript on paper (Germany, 1365) (Samford University)

The University also owns a few Ege leaves purchased in the early 1950s from the Lima Public Library in Ohio, such as this Italian leaf from a small Book of Hours.

Samford University, Manuscript L13

Samford University, Manuscript L13

The very first collection listed in the 1963 Supplement to the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada is the Medical Library at the University of Alabama. The Library still owns these medical and scientific manuscripts, all of which have been digitized here.

GSU

Most of the medieval manuscripts in Georgia are concentrated in the Atlanta area. We’ll start at Georgia State University, which owns a single leaf of a 13th-century Parisian Bible (at left) notable for its strict adherence to the Gothic aesthetic: justified margins on all sides and closely-spaced letters. The lack of decoration, with new chapters starting midline and distinguished only by marginal chapter numbers, adds to the overall impression of density.

Emory University, also in Atlanta, has medieval material in several different collections. This Finding Aid in Woodruff Library’s MARBL catalogue includes several pre-1600 manuscript leaves, although none appear to have been digitized as of yet. The Pitts Theology Library owns a collection of thirteen leaves (shelfmark RG020-2), all of which have been imaged here (caveat lector: these 26 images represent thirteen leaves, since each side of each leaf has its own record; you’ll have to refer to the short-titles to determine which two images should be paired). This leaf, from a late fifteenth-century Dutch Book of Hours, is particularly fine:

Book of Hours (Netherlands, s. XV) (Emory University, Pitts Theological Library)

Book of Hours (Netherlands, s. XVex) (Emory University, Pitts Theology Library)

It is always worth looking at every image of every leaf in collection such as this, since you never know when you’re going to bump into an old friend. Remember the St. Alexius Hours? Emory’s leaf of this beautiful manuscript is culled from the Hours of the Holy Spirit (recto at left, verso at right):

Emory Alexius r Emory Alexius v

Also at Emory, the Michael C. Carlos Museum owns several manuscript leaves, including this gorgeous early thirteenth-century French Bible leaf that includes a very fine initial [I] for “In principio” (the first words of the book of Genesis) illustrated, as is common practice, with the days of Creation (shown here in detail):

Screen shot 2014-08-04 at 1.00.52 PM

This initial adds to the typical iconography a vaster sweep of human history, including not just the days of Creation but also the Creation and Fall of Man as well as the Crucifixion, representing Man’s redemption.

The Museum also owns a leaf from a Humanistic Italian manuscript of Aristotle’s Economica, preserving a lovely example of the white-vine style of illumination typical of the time and place (detail at right).

Screen shot 2014-08-04 at 1.10.16 PM

Just north of Atlanta, we will find a very nice teaching collection of thirty manuscript leaves at Kennesaw State University. The selections below are notable for preserving  different styles of high-quality decorative penwork: the fluid French flourishes in manuscript 4 (a thirteenth-century French Bible) and the more typically Italian, highly-detailed work in manuscript 12 (a fifteenth-century Italian Book of Hours) (my thanks to Adam Doskey for the images):

Bible (France, s. XIII)(Kennesaw University, Manuscript 4v)

Bible (France, s. XIII) (Kennesaw State University, Manuscript 4v)

Book of Hours (Italy, s. XV) (Kennesaw University, Manuscript 12r)

Book of Hours (Italy, s. XV) (Kennesaw State  University, Manuscript 12r)

Kennesaw’s Manuscript 13 caught my eye as well. This leaf is a page from a calendar, with November on the recto and December on the verso. The segment cut from the lower margin may have been blank, cut away for use as scrap. This calendar almost certainly preceded a liturgical book such as a breviary; the contents suggest it was produced by monks  for monastic use rather than in a professional workshop for the use of a wealthy patron (hence a breviary, not a Book of Hours). At the beginning and end of each month are found verses that together form a popular poem known as “Prima dies Iani timor est” (Walther, Initia Carminum, no. 14561). These verses warn the reader of Egyptian Days, Dog Days, and other inauspicious days of each month. The verse on this leaf begins “Quinta novembris obest”; apparently the 5th of November is one to watch out for.

Calendar for November (Italy, s. XV) (Kennesaw University, MS 13r)

Calendar for November (Italy, s. XV) (Kennesaw University, MS 13r)

kennesaw_ms13v

 From Atlanta, we’ll head due east on I-20. See you in South Carolina!

 

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