Category Archives: Otto F. Ege

Manuscript Road Trip: An Otto Ege Treasure Trove in Maine

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

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

About two months ago, I received an email with the subject line “Beauvais Missal.” My interest piqued, I opened the message to find Maine bookseller Seth Thayer writing to report that he had found a leaf of the Missal “in a trunk in a client’s house in Maine.”

Indeed he had.

This leaf-in-a-box turned out to be the 100th identified folio of the Beauvais Missal. But there was much more.

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For several days, Seth continued to send images of additional leaves he found in the trunk, eleven in all. The client believed them to have been purchased in New York in the 1950s and stored in the trunk since the 1970s. They hadn’t seen the light of day in forty years.

Several of the leaves looked very familiar to me, and after some research I was able to identify nearly all of them as having passed through the hands of our old friend Otto F. Ege or his close associate Philip Duschnes.

Colby vThe Beauvais Missal

This Beauvais Missal leaf preserves liturgy for the Office of St. Lawrence (10 August) and is consecutive with a leaf belonging to a collector in Bath, Ohio. The leaf is unusual in that it provides complete choral pieces instead of the incipits found elsewhere in the manuscript, because of St. Lawrence’s status as an Apostle. For example, in this image of the verso, the versicle and offertory are given in full on multiple staves of music.

The Wilton Processional

Another exciting find: two leaves from a thirteenth-century processional made for the nuns of Wilton Abbey. The manuscript is the subject of important work being done by  University of Northern Iowa musicologist Alison Altstatt. Leaves of this processional were used by Ege as no. 8 in his “Fifty Original Leaves” portfolio; some images of those leaves can be found here, but to really learn about this important manuscript, spend some time with this video and watch for Prof. Altstatt’s forthcoming article, “Re-membering the Wilton Processional” in Notes: The Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, 72:4 (June 2016), 590-632.

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Leaf of the Wilton Processional

 

The Processional leaf above was housed in a red-fillet matte of the style typically used by New York dealer Philip Duschnes and his associate Otto Ege. The Processional leaf below was found in a custom frame and includes the label of the seller, Livingston Galleries in New York. This suggests that the two leaves may have been purchased from different sources at different times, begging the question as to whether the owner realized they were from the same manuscript and purchased one because he already owned the other.

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Another Leaf of the Wilton Processional

 

1946 Mirror

Damn Yankees                                   (remember, I live in Boston)

When Thayer removed the framed leaf from its glass, he found that it, too, was housed in the same style matte. But there was another surprise in the frame: a New York newspaper from June 5, 1946. This is actually a really important piece of evidence, as it helps to establish the date when the leaf was framed (soon after June 5, 1946), which in turn helps establish when the Wilton Processional was broken (before then). This pushes back by at least two years the possible date of Ege and Duschnes’ acquisition of this manuscript as recorded by Gwara (Otto Ege’s Manuscripts, p. 346). It is likely they acquired and broke up the manuscript before June of 1946 [n.b. Peter Kidd’s comment below].

There are several layers of provenance to be read in this particular leaf. First, its origin: part of a processional made for the nuns of Wilton Abbey in the thirteenth century. Then, the red fillet matte, into which it was secured before June 1946, probably by Philip Duschnes (given the New York provenance, as opposed to Ege in Ohio). Then, the frame, into which it was placed by Livingston Galleries in June 1946. Then, the trunk, in which it was stored in the 1970s.

Most of the other leaves can be definitively identified as having passed through the hands of Philip Duschnes and Otto Ege; again, given the New York connection, it is likely that these particular leaves were sold by Duschnes rather than Ege. In the montage below, clockwise from the upper left and with reference to Scott Gwara’s Otto Ege’s Manuscripts, these leaves are found in his handlist as numbers 115, 73 (two leaves), 65, 82, 99, and 100.

Montage

 

choirbooksThe final leaf (shown to the right), from a large choirbook, cannot be positively identified in Gwara’s handlist, but it may be lurking in there somewhere.

Thayer was committed to finding an institutional home for the leaves, where they could be used for study and teaching. He was successful; the entire group has just been acquired by Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

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A Happy Ending: Students and faculty from Colby College examining the new leaves

 

 

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Manuscript Road Trip: Reconstructing the Beauvais Missal

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

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

If you’ve been travelling with me on this virtual road trip around the United States, you have almost certainly come to know the dismembered beauty known as The Beauvais Missal. I’ve mentioned it many times and shown you several different leaves found in various collections. And I’ve ruminated about the possibility of digitally reassembling this masterpiece of thirteenth-century illumination. Well, it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing.

Cleveland Museum of Art, ACC. 1982.141 verso

Cleveland Museum of Art, Acc. 1982.141 verso

Working with the “Broken Books” project at St. Louis University, I have begun a digital reconstruction of the Beauvais Missal. The “Broken Books” project will result in the development of a platform for reconstructing broken books as well as the establishment of a metadata structure designed specifically for manuscript fragments and leaves. My Beauvais Missal project will serve as one of several case studies in the project’s early stages.

The Beauvais Missal (also known as the Hangest Missal) has been much studied, by scholars such as Barbara Shailor, Christopher de Hamel, Anthony Edwards, Alison Stones, and Peter Kidd, among others. You’d think there couldn’t possibly be anything more to discover about it. But for all the times it’s been mentioned in print or online (try Googling “Beauvais Missal”), there is still much to learn about its contents and history. I’m working on the former, and Peter Kidd has recently filled in some of the missing pieces of the latter, allowing us to reconstruct much of the manuscript’s pre-biblioclastic journey; see his recent blogposts here and here.

To sum up:

  1. The manuscript was written for the use of Beauvais in the late thirteenth century and is said to have originally been the third of a three-volume set. The codex originally comprised 309 leaves. No one has ever identified the other volumes of the set.
  2. Given to the Beauvais Cathedral in 1356 by Robert de Hangest, a former canon, to ensure that his death would be commemorated every year. We only know this because the donation inscription was transcribed by later catalogues; the leaf preserving the inscription was lost when the manuscript was dismembered.
  3. The manuscript is recorded in the Beauvais Cathedral library as late as the seventeenth century. It is unclear when the Beauvais Cathedral library was dispersed, but, like many early French libraries, the collection was probably broken up soon after the French Revolution.
  4. Owned by Didier Petit de Meurville (1793-1873), of Lyon; his sale, 1843, lot 354;
  5. Owned by four generations of the Brölemann family: Henry-Auguste Brölemann (1775-1854) of Lyon; his son Emile-Thierry Brölemann (1800-1869); his son Arthur-Auguste Brölemann (1826-1904); his sister Albertine Brölemann (1831-1920); her daughter Blanche Bontoux (1859-1955), sold by her at Sotheby’s, 4 May 1926, lot 161, to;
  6. William Permain, as agent for;
  7. William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951);
  8. Sold from his collection in October 1942 through Gimbel’s NY, to;
  9. NY bookdealer Philip Duschnes (1897-1970), who cut it up and sold many of its leaves to;
  10. Otto F. Ege (1888-1951). Ege went to on give away or sell many leaves of the manuscript. Single leaves of the Beauvais Missal are best known as No. 15 in the “Fifty Original Leaves of Medieval Manuscripts” portfolios, of which forty were issued.
Harvard Univ., Houghton Library MS Type 956 2 verso (left) reunited with its originally consecutive leaf, sold at Christie's on 4 Sept. 2013, lot 262 1 (at right). Note the gold offset in the upper gutter of the Houghton leaf, matching the decoration in the upper left corner of the Christie's leaf.

Harvard Univ., Houghton Library MS Typ 956 2 verso (left) reunited with its originally consecutive leaf, sold at Christie’s on 4 Sept. 2013, lot 262 1 (at right). Note the gold offset in the upper right corner of the Houghton leaf, matching the decoration in the upper left corner of the Christie’s leaf.

I’ve made a lot of progress already, identifying the contents of more than 80 known leaves, pairing up consecutive leaves, reconstructing quire structure. There are no folio numbers, but the contents are in liturgical (calendrical) order. The trick is identifying the feastday if there are no rubrics. Liturgy, it turns out, is quite Google-able. In addition, the gold decoration sometimes leaves mirror-image offsets on formerly-consecutive leaves, where the leaves were pressed together during the centuries when the book lay closed (example above).

I’m not quite ready to share all of my observations about the manuscript, but one thing is clear from the work I’ve already done on the contents of each leaf: the Beauvais Missal was a summer volume, preserving Mass texts and chant for feasts falling between the week after Easter and the end of November. The manuscript also included a calendar, a section of special masses, and the Canon of the Mass (whose leaves have only fifteen lines of text as opposed to the twenty-one lines elsewhere in the manuscript; see the Cleveland Museum of Art leaf above).

The virtual reconstruction of this manuscript is of course only possible because of recent advances in the field of digital humanities, in particular database structure, image annotation, and the encoding and interoperability of both.

Priest praying over the Host (Oberlin College, Allen Memorial Art Gallery, Acc. 1993.16 recto, detail)

Priest praying over the Host (Oberlin College, Allen Memorial Art Gallery, Acc. 1993.16 recto, detail)

But it is the very materiality of medieval manuscripts that makes them so magical. As anyone who has touched a 1,000-year-old manuscript can attest, knowing that you are reading a page written, held, read, and passed on by generations of humans is an extraordinary experience. As manuscript scholars and digital humanists, we should never lose sight of the ultimate, essential reality: these are books, meant to be touched and read and handled (unless, of course, a curator or conservator decides otherwise). A digital surrogate can only take us so far.

Priest saying Mass (Cleveland Museum of Art, ACC. 1982.141 verso, detail)

Priest saying Mass (Cleveland Museum of Art, ACC. 1982.141 verso, detail)

A digital image can’t tell you how each side of the parchment feels, it can’t show you how to definitively distinguish the hair side from the flesh side, a distinction of critical importance for understanding the structure of a medieval manuscript. Sometimes images are cropped, because the photographer doesn’t know that the margins of the leaf may be just as important as the text; in the case of the Beauvais Missal, uncropped edges may include important physical clues about the binding structure, such as sewing holes or evidence of repairs. Effaced inscriptions or annotations often can’t be read in a standard image and need to be examined in situ, using multi-spectral imaging techniques if you’re lucky enough to have access to such equipment. These are just a few examples of the kind of evidence that only a physical examination can uncover. In order to completely understand the original structure and binding and sequence of the leaves in the Beauvais Missal, I need to study as many leaves as possible in person.

And so a few weeks ago I embarked on an actual – rather than a virtual – road trip, visiting twelve of the fifteen Beauvais Missal leaves currently residing in Ohio. It was a whirlwind tour as I visiting eleven collections in four days, but I didn’t need much time with each leaf. I put a thousand miles on my rental car, driving from Cleveland to Columbus to Toledo before getting back to my day job and heading for the Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America at the University of Notre Dame. All of that driving was well worth it. I saw several leaves I hadn’t known about, took high-resolution images of leaves for which I didn’t have good images already, saw old friends, and got to know collections that were new to me.

Ecclesia and Synagoga (Cleveland Museum of Art, ACC. 1982.141 verso, detail)

Ecclesia and Synagoga (Cleveland Museum of Art, ACC. 1982.141 verso, detail)

I saw the highlights of the manuscript on my first day. The 1926 Sotheby’s catalogue describes the Missal as having four historiated initials. Three are in north-east Ohio: two on a leaf at the Cleveland Museum of Art (above and at right) and one on a leaf at the Allen Art Gallery at Oberlin. The fourth, probably from the Te Igitur section of the Canon, is lost. It is no co-incidence that so many leaves of the manuscript, including both surviving historiated leaves, can today be found in Ohio, since that state was Otto Ege’s home turf.

Over the next few days, I visited Kenyon College, the Cleveland Public Library, a private collection in Oberlin, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Ohio State University, the University of Ohio, and the Toledo Museum of Art. I had to skip a few Ohio collections for want of time, so I chose not to visit collections whose leaves had already been photographed at high-resolution: Case Western Reserve University, Denison University, and the Cincinnati Public Library. My thanks to all of the librarians and curators who so generously shared their material with me.

Two Ohio collections with Ege material are particularly noteworthy: The Rowfant Club in Cleveland and the Lima Public Library. These collections could not be more different – an urban bibliophilic men’s club and a small public library in the middle of farm country – and yet both institutions were important to Ege.

Beauvais Missal leaf, Rowfant Club, Cleveland

Beauvais Missal leaf, Rowfant Club, Cleveland

In 1940, Ege was elected an honorary member of the Rowfant Club, and he probably donated their Beauvais Missal leaf at some point in the 1940s. The leaf at the Rowfant Club has been hiding in plain sight for decades, prominently displayed in a custom pivoting wall-mount in the doorway of the main meeting room (at left). The bookcases along the walls are filled with tall candlesticks, of great significance to the members. When a gentleman joins the Rowfant Club, he selects a candlestick to serve as his totem throughout his life at the club. It serves as his placecard at dinner and represents him in absentia. When he dies, the members gather to memorialize their departed friend, lighting and snuffing his candle before setting it upon a high shelf in perpetual remembrance.

Otto F. Ege's Rowfant Club candlestick, as reproduced in the Club's Candlestick Book.

Otto F. Ege’s Rowfant Club candlestick, as reproduced in the Club’s Candlestick Book.

Ege’s candlestick, of his own design, is shown at right.

Ege’s relationship with the Lima Public Library was of a fiscal nature. He worked out an arrangement with the Library whereby they would act as his local agent, selling medieval manuscript leaves on his behalf and keeping a portion of the proceeds to benefit their Staff Loan Fund. This arrangement lasted for several decades, to the benefit of all parties. During my morning in Lima, the librarian very kindly showed me several thick folders of correspondence between Ege and the Library stretching across decades. I was very excited to find this very early reference to the Beauvais Missal, a letter to the Lima librarian dated 1 October 1942 in which Ege writes, “You may have expected nine new items, the FINEST, Beauvais, France 1285 (will be sent shortly)…”

Lima Public Library, 1 Oct. 1942 correspondence between Otto F. Ege and librarian Mrs. Silver.

Lima Public Library, 1 Oct. 1942 correspondence between Otto F. Ege and the Lima librarian.

This letter (shown at left) was written several weeks BEFORE Duschnes bought and dismembered the manuscript, suggesting that he and Ege decided in advance to buy, and to break, the Beauvais Missal. And now, seventy-three years later, it’s time to put it back together.

[note: the following paragraph and the list below have been updated as of 15 July 2015]

So far, I’ve assembled images and metadata for 93 leaves (some now lost), representing twenty-two states and six countries. Several of the leaves in private hands were brought to my attention by Peter Kidd, to whom I am most grateful. I’m happy to share my handlist here – the largest list of Beauvais Missal leaves ever compiled:

Beauvais Missal Leaves in the United States

Beauvais Missal Leaves in the United States

United States

AZ           Phoenix                  Phoenix Public Library

CA           Los Angeles          [private collection]

CO          Boulder                  Univ. of Colorado

CT           Hartford                 Wadsworth Athenaeum

CT           New Haven            Yale University (2 leaves)

FL                                          [private collection] (2 leaves)

FL            St. Petersburg       Museum of Fine Arts

IN           Bloomington           Lilly Library, Indiana University

IN           Indianapolis            Indianapolis Museum of Art

KY           Louisville                The University of Louisville

MA         Amherst                 Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

MA         Boston                   Boston Public Library (2 leaves)

MA         Cambridge             Houghton Library, Harvard Univ. (2 leaves)

MA         Northampton         Smith College

MA         Northampton        Smith College Museum of Art

MA         Wellesley             Wellesley College (2 leaves)

MD         Bethesda             Private Collection

MI          East Lansing        Michigan State Univ.

MI          Kalamazoo          Western Michigan Univ.

MN        Minneapolis         Univ. of Minnesota

NC          Greensboro       UNC-Greensboro

NH          Hanover             Dartmouth College

NJ           New Brunswick  Rutgers University

NJ           Newark               Newark Public Library

NY          Albany                 State Library of New York

NY          Buffalo                 Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

NY          Hamilton              Colgate Univ., Picker Art Gallery

NY          New York            Metropolitan Museum of Art

NY          New York            Morgan Library

NY          Rochester           Rochester Institute of Technology

NY          Rochester           Sibley Music Library, Eastman School of Music (2 leaves)

NY          Stony Brook        SUNY Stony Brook

OH          Athens                 Ohio University

OH          Bath                     Private Collection

OH          Cincinnati            Cincinnati Public Library

OH          Cleveland            Case Western Reserve University

OH          Cleveland            Cleveland Museum of Art

OH          Cleveland            Cleveland Public Library (2 leaves)

OH          Cleveland            Rowfant Club

OH          Columbus            The Ohio State Univ.

OH          Granville              Denison University

OH          Kent                      Kent State University

OH          Kenyon                 Kenyon College

OH          Lima                     Lima Public Library

OH          Oberlin                 Allen Memorial Art Museum

OH          Oberlin                 Robert and Gina Lodge

OH          Toledo                  Toledo Museum of Art

PA          Bryn Athyn            Glencairn Museum (2 leaves)

RI            Providence           Rhode Island School of Design

SC           Columbia             Univ. of South Carolina

TN          Memphis               Rhodes College (2 leaves)

VA           Great Falls            Private Collection (formerly Charles Edwin Puckett, Bookseller)

VA          Roanoke               Hollins Univ. (2 leaves)

WA         Seattle                  Univ. of Washington

Canada

ONT       Toronto                Art Gallery of Ontario

ONT       Toronto                Ontario College of Art and Design

ONT       Toronto                Univ. of Toronto

SASK      Saskatchewan   Univ. of Saskatchewan

England

Christopher de Hamel

[Private collection outside of London] (sold Sotheby’s London 7/10/2012, lot 2a)

[Private collection in Yorkshire, RMGYMss]

[Private collection]

Japan

[Private collection]

Monaco

[Private collection] (three leaves, bought at: Christie’s 09/04/2013, lot 262, no. 3; PBA Galleries, Auction 540, lot 200; and Mackus Company)

Norway

Oslo       Schoyen MS 222 (2 leaves)

As many as thirty leaves are known but untraced, including:

Christie’s 01/30/1980, lot 212

Christie’s, 06/25/1997, lot 16

Christie’s 09/04/2013, lot 262, nos. 1 and 2 (ex-Vershbow, later Pirages)

Bauman Rare Books

Bruce Ferrini Rare Books, Akron, Ohio, Catalogue 1 (1987), nos. 48-49 (2 leaves)

Endowment for Biblical Research, Boston University

Mackus Company, bookseller (1 leaf)

Maggs, London, Bulletin 11 (1982), no. 43 

Quaritch, cat. 1270 (2000), nr. 79

Sotheby’s London, 11/26/1985, lot 61 (calendar leaf)

Sotheby’s London 12/5/1994, lot 4

Sotheby’s London 6/19/2001, lot 9

Also lost are Beauvais Missal leaves from twelve of Ege’s “50 Original Leaves” portfolios, numbered sets 1, 3, 4 (this set belongs to the Cleveland Institute of Art but is lacking its Beauvais Missal leaf), 7, 14, 18, 20, 21, 26, 31, 33, and 39.

I don’t have images of all of these untraced leaves, so it’s possible that some of these references are to the same leaf sold again. It’s been said that there is a leaf on the wall at the University Club in Chicago, but the staff of the Club assures me that even if there once was a leaf in their art collection, it is no longer there.

I hope to have a working online prototype of the digital surrogate by year’s end. I now appeal to my readers to help me find additional leaves. Here’s how to recognize them:

Typical Missal page (Case Western Reserve University, Ege MS 15 verso)

Typical Missal page (Case Western Reserve University, Ege MS 15 verso)

Typical Canon page (Cleveland Public Library MS Ege 15 verso)

Typical Canon page (Cleveland Public Library MS Ege 15 verso)

Typical Missal page with music (Michigan State Univ., Mapcase MSS 325, no. 2 recto)

Typical Missal page with music (Michigan State Univ., Mapcase MSS 325, no. 2 recto)

In addition to the stylistic elements, which are certainly distinctive (in particular the leafy, pointed extensions into the margins), you can identify leaves of the Beauvais Missal by their dimensions. The leaves are written in two columns of 15 or 21 lines (or ten staves of music) per page, and the dimensions are around 290 x 200 mm (if untrimmed) with a written space of 200 x 135 mm. I am certain there are more leaves out there. If you think (or know) you’ve got one, or know of any I’ve missed, please contact me at LFD@TheMedievalAcademy.org!

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Manuscript Road Trip: On to Virginia

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 pick up where we left off, I have an addition to my last blogpost. After reading about my time in Australia, Anthony Tedeschi, the Deputy Curator of Special Collections at the University of Melbourne (and the forward-thinker responsible for the Dunedin Flikr site), wrote to let me know that the University owns no less that FOUR BIFOLIA from the gorgeous Boucicault Master Hours of which a few leaves can also be found in New Zealand. Among their leaves are four miniatures: St. Mark, St. John, St. Luke, and the Annunciation. He very kindly sent me images of two of the leaves:

St. John at Patmos (Univ. of Melbourne, Special Collections, UniM Bail SpC/ RB 61AA/ 3)

St. John at Patmos

1408MS-Luke

St. Luke (Univ. of Melbourne, Special Collections, UniM Bail SpC/ RB 61AA/3)

Someone has GOT to digitally put that manuscript back together!

Now, on to West Virginia. As far as I know, the only medieval manuscripts in the state of West Virginia belong to the University of Charleston, given a set of Ege’s Original Leaves from Famous Bibles sometime between 1936 and 1942. As we have seen elsewhere, this set includes mostly leaves of printed Bibles, but begins with three manuscript pages: 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.

As we start to move up the East Coast, we’ll encounter a much higher density of holdings than we’ve seen in the past few months of our travels. By necessity, I’m not going to be able to mention every collection in every state; I’ll focus on less well-known collections or collections with significant online holdings, in keeping with my stated objectives. For a more detailed list of holdings in each state, you should refer to the Conway/Davis Directory of Collections in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings.

working map

There are at least ten collections in Virginia with pre-1600 manuscripts, holding between them nearly 600 codices and leaves. Hollins University in Roanoke reported six codices and twenty leaves, among which are two leaves of our old friend, the Beauvais Missal.

Beauvais Missal, Feast of John the Baptist (Hollins University, Spec. Coll., MS 5, no. 2v)

Beauvais Missal, Feast of John the Baptist (Hollins University, Spec. Coll., MS 5, no. 2v)

Now is as good a time as any to let you know that I have begun work in earnest on a digital reconstruction of this stunning manuscript. I’ve collected digital images of seventy-five leaves so far and am working on content metadata and codicological  reconstructions. Stay tuned…

Randolph College in Lynchburg reported holdings of seven codices and fifteen leaves. A few images are online here and here, the result of undergraduate coursework. These sites are great examples of how coursework on primary sources can be presented in a digital format, accomplishing the worthy goals of digitization, cataloguing, and access in addition to the obvious benefit to students of exposure to primary materials and web development.

The Nativity, Book of Hours (Rouen, ca. 1480) (Chrysler Museum 2014.236, Given by the Irene Leache Memorial Foundation, to honor the memory of Alice Rice Jaffé, 1992)

The Nativity, Book of Hours (Rouen, ca. 1480) (Chrysler Museum 2014.236, Given by the Irene Leache Memorial Foundation, to honor the memory of Alice Rice Jaffé, 1992)

This very fine Book of Hours from late fifteenth-century Rouen belongs to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, given to the collection in 2014 after having been deposited on a long-term loan by the Irene Leache Memorial Foundation. This manuscript was formerly attributed to the “Master of the Geneva Latini” but, according to Jim Marrow (private correspondence), seems to be related as well to the style of Robert Boyvin, also of Rouen. This Book of Hours gets around; it was sold at Sotheby’s in 1924 and 1970, then by Tenner in 1971, Sotheby’s again in 1989, and finally by Maggs Brothers in 1990 before being acquired and deposited at the Museum in 1992. Hopefully it has found a longterm home at last.

Until recently, one of the finest private manuscript collections in the country was found in Covington, Virginia, in the hands of Harry Walton, Jr. The collection was recorded in the Supplement (pp. 517-24) but has since been dispersed. Les Enluminures has sold several Walton manuscripts in recent years, and some have appeared at Sotheby’s (a list of some of these sales and, if known, the current location of several Walton manuscripts, can be found in the Conway/Davis Directory, p. 132). Walton manuscripts are readily identifiable by a purple shelfmark stamp, a letter followed by a number; there are a few images of the Walton stamp here.

photomain2cOur last stop of the day is one of my favorite places, the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. I have taken two courses at RBS over the years (one was so long ago the school was still based at Columbia). If you haven’t had the opportunity to spend an intensive and delightful week there studying rare books and manuscripts with top-notch faculty and motivated colleagues, I highly recommend it! Most people don’t realize that RBS has an excellent teaching collection of several hundred manuscript fragments and printed leaves, a spectacular and unique assemblage of membra disiecta spanning the globe and covering more than one thousand years. Among the manuscripts are these very early and very interesting specimens that caught my eye (my thanks to RBS’ Barbara Heritage and Theresa Goodman for sending me the handlist and images; images provided courtesy of Rare Book School at the University of Virginia):

MS 054a

RBS MS 54 (France, ca. 875)

RBS MS 526 (France?, s. X)

RBS MS 526 (Italy?, s. X)

MS 480

RBS MS 480 (S. Germany/Austria, ca. 1130)

MS 483

RBS MS 483, Antiphonal (S. Germany/Austria, ca. 1130)

MS 498

RBS MS 498 (Bede, Commentary on the Song of Songs, Italy, s. XII inc)

MS 527

RBS MS 527 (France?, s. XI med)

Next time, we’ll cross the Potomac and explore the nation’s capital.

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Manuscript Road Trip: Australian Edition

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

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

I know it’s been a month since I last posted, but I have a good excuse. I’ve been in Australia for several weeks, visiting my daughter (who is studying abroad there this term) and exploring antipodal medieval manuscripts online and in person. I was invited to deliver a lecture at The Medieval and Early Modern Centre at the University of Sydney, and this post is based on that lecture.

Collections of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in Australia and New Zealand were primarily developed by bequest, given by British collectors. As such, most of the manuscripts have a direct British provenance and didn’t come through the hands of dealers we have come to know in our explorations of North American collections (such as Duschnes, Ege, Ferrini, Rosenthal and Kraus, among others). Even so, while exploring online collections in Australia and New Zealand, I was able to identify later acquisitions of single leaves that have connections to single leaves in North America. Welcome to the Manuscript Road Trip: Australian Edition.

Sydney Harbor at sunset (photo by me)

Sydney Harbor at sunset (photo by me)

Australia and New Zealand are fortunate in that detailed surveys have been undertaken of the national corpus of medieval manuscripts by such esteemed experts as Christopher de Hamel, K. V. Sinclair, Margaret Manion, Vera Vines, and Alexandra Barratt, among others. There are dozens of pre-1600 European manuscripts in antipodal collections, many of which have been imaged and made available online.

Spanish Forger cutting, University of Sydney, Special Collections, s.n. (Voelkle Catalogue L134)

Spanish Forger cutting, University of Sydney, Special Collections, s.n. (Voelkle Catalogue L134)

Digitization projects are underway at the University of Sydney, where images have been posted online from several manuscripts and a handlist can be found here. A Parisian Book of Hours (RB Add. Ms.58) is noteworthy, as is the University’s Spanish Forger cutting (at left). The spectacular manuscript collection at the State Library of Victoria has been digitized as well, and many Australian collections have added records, if not images, to the national Trove database (try searching for keyword “manuscript,” with date limits of 1000 – 1600, limited to Australian collections).

As my readers will have noticed, I am always on the lookout for single leaves that can be traced back to Otto Ege. Lo and behold, there is indeed a previously unrecorded “Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries” set at the State Library of Queensland in Brisbane. This particular portfolio is comprised of printed and manuscript leaves: the handwritten pages come from a thirteenth-century Bible, a fourteenth-century Aristotle, and a fifteenth-century copy of Livy’s History of Rome. These are not the most visually impressive group. Ege didn’t select them any art historical “wow” factor. He used them here as examples of the development of lettering, as calligraphic specimens of Gothic bookhand, Gothic cursive, and Humanistic bookhand:

Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries, Leaf 1 (Bible) (State Library of Brisbane, RB 686.23 19-- )

Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries, Leaf 1 (Bible) (State Library of Brisbane, RB 686.23 19– )

Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries, Leaf 2 (Aristotle) (State Library of Brisbane, RB 686.23 19-- )

Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries, Leaf 2 (Aristotle) (State Library of Brisbane, RB 686.23 19– )

Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries, Leaf 3 (Livy) (State Library of Brisbane, RB 686.23 19-- )

Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries, Leaf 3 (Livy) (State Library of Brisbane, RB 686.23 19– )

Based on my survey of Sinclair’s catalogue of Australian collections and additional information kindly sent to me by U. Sydney Professor Nick Sparks, I count well over 100 single leaves in Australia. A few have been imaged and are online, for example, these University of Tasmania leaves from two different Books of Hours. At the University of Sydney, there are several dozen single leaves, all of which are worthy of study and some of which may be connected to known leaves elsewhere. In 1967, Sinclair identified four leaves in private Sydney collections as having come from the same fifteenth-century French Breviary: a bifolium in collection of Sir Edward Ford (Sinclair no. 67), and one each in the collections of J. M Ward (Sinclair no. 83) and R. I. Jack (Sinclair no. 85). Sinclair’s descriptions of single leaves are extremely useful because they provide not only the date and place of origin but also the dimensions and the number of lines per page, objective data that can help identify leaves that came from the same parent manuscript. The data for the four breviary leaves is consistent with a manuscript dismantled by Otto Ege in the 1940s and now used as leaf 24 in his “Fifty Original Leaves” set. I haven’t confirmed this identification yet, but I am ever hopeful. Once collections begin digitizing their leaves, more such connections will surely be found. I am certain there are more leaves of this gorgeous fourteenth-century English antiphonal out there somewhere:

 

Antiphonal (fragment), England, early 14th century  (Geelong Church of England Grammar School, Corio, Victoria)

Antiphonal (leaf), England, early 14th century (Geelong Church of England Grammar School, Corio, Victoria) (Manion and Vines no. 42, pl. 25)

Now let’s head down to New Zealand and see what we can find there.

DSC_0004

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, 1480 BIBL

Munich, CLM 29260

Munich, CLM 29260

As in Australia, the medieval manuscripts in New Zealand have been expertly catalogued, by native New Zealander Christopher de Hamel and by Alexandra Barratt, among others. A forthcoming study by Alexandra Barratt of leaves in Auckland will focus on important fragments still being used as binding scrap. At left is one such example, hiding in the gutter of an early printed book, an incunable. These narrow strips of recycled parchment are called binding stays, and they serve to protect paper from tearing as the gatherings are sewn together. These hidden treasures are difficult to photograph, and difficult to work with, but the payoff for that effort can be enormous. Barratt has confirmed that these ninth-century binding stays come from the same manuscript as the fragment above, from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. You can read more about the project at http://medievalbookbindings.com/.

Dunedin Public Library, Reed Ms Frag. 13

Dunedin Public Library, Reed Ms Frag. 13

In the 1989 catalogue, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New Zealand Collections, de Hamel draws several connections between leaves in New Zealand and known leaves elsewhere. One such is Dunedin Public Library Reed Fragment 13 (right), a leaf of a lovely English Bible sometimes known as the Bohun Bible, of which several dozen other leaves are known in collections in Europe, England and the U.S. including Houghton MS Typ 966 at Harvard University, right around the corner from my office.

Dunedin Public Library, MS Frag. 17

Dunedin Public Library, Reed MS Frag. 17

Also of note are the stunners collectively known as Dunedin Frag. 17, three leaves from a well-known Book of Hours attributed to the Boucicaut Master. Here’s a leaf from the same manuscript that I illustrated in my blog just a few weeks ago, from the University of North Carolina.

De Hamel also identifies two leaves in the Dunedin Public Library as having come from manuscripts known to have been dismembered by Otto Ege (more on this below). While looking through the New Zealand catalogue, however, the description of Dunedin Frag. 42 caught my eye: it is a lectionary from twelfth-century Italy of 22 lines per page that sounds a lot like the Ege lectionary we have met before. The dimensions are spot on as well. But without images, there’s no way to be absolutely sure.

Fortunately, the Dunedin library has recently imaged all of their codices and leaves and put them on a Flickr site accompanied by de Hamel’s metadata. Flickr is an easy and popular platform for presenting digitized manuscripts, in part because it allows for comments and crowdsourced cataloguing, a strategy that has been very successful for small collections in the U.S that don’t have the storage space or software to post the images on their own servers. Calling up the online image of Reed Fragment 42 confirms that it is indeed a leaf of Ege’s lectionary, “Fifty Original Leaves” (FOL) no. 3.

Dunedin Public Library Reed MS Frag. 42

Dunedin Public Library Reed MS Frag. 42

Now that the Dunedin fragments have been digitized and posted online, I can also confirm de Hamel’s identification of Reed Fragment 7 and Reed Fragment 51 as having come from the same manuscript as Ege leaves FOL 9 and FOL 2. The core collection was donated to the Dunedin Public Library in 1948 by Alfred Hamish Reed (1875 – 1975) along with a sizable bequest that has allowed the library to make more recent purchases, including Frag. 42 (purchased from Maggs Brothers in 1982) and Frag. 51 (purchased from Quaritch in 1985). Fragment 7 was purchased during Reed’s lifetime from W. A. Stewart in Morrinsville, Pennsylvania, in June 1952.

Also worth noting is that the Dunedin Reed Frag. 33 (below left) is from the same manuscript as one of the leaves at the University of Tasmania (below right). That’s quite a co-incidence. The original manuscript – a mid-fifteenth-century Book of Hours – belonged to a San Francisco collector named John Francis Neylan, who died in 1960. It was sold at Sotheby’s on 18 June 1962 (lot 121) to a London outfit called The Folio Society that was famous for dismembering books to sell as individual leaves or leaf-collections. The Dunedin library purchased their leaf from The Folio Society in 1963; it is unclear when or how the University of Tasmania acquired theirs. And in fact, there may be yet another leaf from this manuscript in Australia, at least there used to be one, at the University of New South Wales; Sinclair’s catalogue describes their MS 2 as a Book of Hours with identical dimensions to these and the same number of lines (Sinclair no. 18). Unfortunately, like many of the University of New South Wales manuscripts described by Sinclair, this leaf is now lost, so I cannot as yet confirm this identification.

Dunedin Public Library, Reed Frag. 33

Dunedin Public Library, Reed Frag. 33

Univ. of Tasmania, s.n.

Univ. of Tasmania, s.n.

I leave you with an image that has nothing to do with manuscripts but everything to do with Australia: “Self-portrait with wallaby.”

wallabySee you in West Virginia!

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Manuscript Road Trip: The Gulf Coast

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

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

I apologize for my prolonged absence! I’ve been in the UK (saw some of you at Leeds), but I’m back home now, ready to pick up where I left off. I was going to head up to Birmingham, Alabama this week, but my itinerary will actually take us through the Florida panhandle and down the West coast of the Sunshine State instead. We’ll get to Alabama in a few weeks.

working map

The University of Florida in Gainesville has two interesting codices, leaves from both of which can be seen on this site, the results of a independent study in paleography and codicology at U. Florida. The first manuscript is a heavily-annotated thirteenth-century Bible from Italy (shown at right).

University of Florida, Special Collections, 225.52 B5822n

University of Florida, Special Collections, 225.52 B5822n

The second manuscript (below), a late fifteenth-century Cicero, is also Italian.

University of Florida, Special Collections, 871 C7i.X

University of Florida, Special Collections, 871 C7i.X

The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania was not the only collection to benefit from the generosity of patron and collector Lawrence J. Schoenberg during his lifetime. Before his death last May, Larry lived with his wife Barbara Brizdle on the Gulf Coast of Florida, near Sarasota.  Several years ago, they donated ten leaves and a codex to Sarasota’s New College, including a very nice S. German/Austrian Romanesque gradual leaf (formerly LJS 117). I worked for Larry in the 1990s, before he donated these manuscripts to the College, so I actually catalogued and studied them some twenty years ago.

New College, formerly LJS 106 ("Copyright New College of Florida. This image may not be used for commercial purposes or altered in any way.")

New College, formerly LJS 106 (“Copyright New College of Florida. This image may not be used for commercial purposes or altered in any way.”)

The College very kindly sent me the image at right, formerly LJS 106, a leaf from a late fifteenth-century Book of Hours (I recognize my handwriting in the lower margin, where I wrote the Schoenberg shelfmark in pencil).

In nearby St. Petersburg, the Museum of Fine Arts has several fine leaves. See anything familiar?

Antiphonal, Italy, s. XV (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, Gift of Lothar and Mildred Uhl, Acq. 2007.12.4 recto)

Antiphonal, Italy, s. XV (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, Gift of Lothar and Mildred Uhl, Acq. 2007.12.4 recto)

David at Prayer (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, Gift of Lothar and Mildred Uhl, Acq. 2002.20 recto)

David at Prayer, opening of the Penitential Psalms (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, Gift of Lothar and Mildred Uhl, Acq. 2002.20 recto)

Museum of Fine Arts, 1979-11-1 recto

Beauvais Missal (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, Gift of David S. Hendrick III, Acq. 1979-11-1 recto)

 

Book of Hours (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, Gift of David S. Hendrick III, acq. 1979-11-1-5)

Book of Hours (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, Gift of David S. Hendrick III, acq. 1979-11-5)

Several features of the leaf at right, from a ca. 1430 French Book of Hours, immediately struck me as familiar: the red fillet border, the unusual form of the [g], and the pointed-oval leaves in the margin. A search through my computer for leaves from Books of Hours with 16 lines per page led me to a leaf I catalogued for Smith College earlier this year, MS 42.5.

Smith College, Northampton, Mass., MS 42-5 recto

Smith College, Northampton, Mass., MS 42-5 recto

Like the Beauvais Missal, these leaves come from a manuscript dismembered by Otto Ege, although they were not used in any of his portfolio collections. A third leaf from this manuscript is in Providence, RI, at the Rhode Island School of Design (MS 43.444) [n.b. the leaves at Smith and RISD had previously been identified as part of Ege’s FOL 46, but they are in fact from a different manuscript (see S. Gwara, Otto Ege’s Manuscripts, Handlist 46)]. The Museum’s Beauvais Missal leaf and this Book of Hours leaf were given by David S. Hendrick III in 1979 along with three others; some of these may turn out to have an Ege provenance as well. For example, I haven’t seen an image of manuscript 1979-11-2, a ca. 1470 Aquinas, but I suspect it might have come from Ege’s FOL 40 (see Gwara, Handlist 40).

Screen shot 2014-06-25 at 12.23.23 PMAs we head east across the Florida peninsula, we’ll pass “The Happiest place on Earth.” There are no manuscripts that I know of in Disneyworld, but if you do go to Orlando to visit Disney or The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and you want to see some medieval manuscripts, make time for the faith-based theme park, The Holy Land Experience. This is where you will find a very impressive collection of early biblical manuscripts known as The Scriptorium, formerly the Van Kempen Collection. Some images are online here, although they are not very high resolution. Manuscript VK 783 is a 4th century Coptic manuscript known as Mississippi Coptic Codex II, and is the companion to Papyrus Bodmer XXII in Geneva; both have been studied here. The collection also contains very fine examples of Carolingian, Romanesque and Gothic manuscripts. You can download a nice image of their Wyclif Bible here.

Several other Florida collections are worth noting, although they have no digital presence as yet: Florida State Universiy in Tallahassee, St. Leo Abbey in St. Leo, and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota.

Now we’ll turn northward and start making our way up the Atlantic coast.

 

 

 

 

 

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Manuscript Road Trip: Graceland and Ole Miss

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

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

On the way to New Orleans from Arkansas, I wanted to make a virtual stop at the University of Mississippi. But if this were an actual road trip, we’d drive through Memphis, Tennessee to get to Ole Miss. So as long as we’re “driving” through, we’ll make two stops in Memphis: the Memphis Brooks Art Museum and Rhodes College (we’ll check out other Tennessee collections in a few weeks). As far as I know, there aren’t any medieval manuscripts at Graceland, so we’ll just drive by the gates and pay our respects to Elvis en route.

Graceland

Graceland

working mapThe Memphis Brooks Museum of Art reports holdings of twelve manuscript leaves, although only one seems to be reproduced on their website. The image is low-resolution but is clear enough to identify it as a leaf from a Book of Hours, ca. 1440, preserving the opening of the Office of the Dead. With thanks to Marilyn Massler, the Museum’s Associate Registrar, I am able to share two images with you that she kindly sent to me:  Acq. 56.27 (the Book of Hours linked above) and Acq. 56.30 (a calendar leaf from a Book of Hours).

French; Latin text LEAF FROM A BOOK OF HOURS, SERVICE FOR THE DEAD, ca. 1450 Ink and gilt Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis TN; Brooks Memorial Art Gallery Purchase 56.27

French; Latin text
LEAF FROM A BOOK OF HOURS, SERVICE FOR THE DEAD, ca. 1450
Ink and gilt
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis TN; Brooks Memorial Art Gallery Purchase 56.27

 

French; Latin text LEAF FROM A BOOK OF HOURS, OCTOBER CALENDER, ca. 1450 Ink and gilt Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Brooks Memorial Art Gallery Purchase, 56.30

French; Latin text
LEAF FROM A BOOK OF HOURS, OCTOBER CALENDER, ca. 1450
Ink and gilt
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN; Brooks Memorial Art Gallery Purchase, 56.30

In Otto Ege’s Manuscripts, Scott Gwara identifies some of the Museum’s leaves as having an Ege provenance: see Gwara, Handlist 21, 31 (this is MBMA 56.27), 46 (this is 56.30), 69 and 74.

At Rhodes College, the Hanson Collection of Leaves from Books and Manuscripts has been completely digitized (but not catalogued) here. These are all Ege leaves, mostly from two portfolios (Hanson Collection 1 is from Original Leaves from Famous Bibles: Nine centuries, 1121-1935 A.D.  and Hanson Collection 2 is Original Leaves from Famous Books: Eight Centuries, 1240 A.D. – 1923 A.D.).

Livy, History of Rome, explicit with colophon and date (Rhodes College, Ege Famous Books, Leaf 3v)

Livy, History of Rome, explicit with colophon and date (Rhodes College, Ege Famous Books, Leaf 3v)

Remarkably, the Rhodes leaf from a well-known Ege copy of Livy’s History of Rome (not the Livy in the Fifty Original Leaves portfolio, however) happens to be the final leaf of the manuscript and includes a colophon recording the manuscript’s date of completion, 21 September 1456 (Gwara, Handlist 52). Ege’s description of the manuscript gives the date as 1436, a misreading of the colophon. Once Ege had dismembered the manuscript and scattered its leaves, that mis-information continued to be attached to the leaves via the letterpress label Ege adhered to each matte; leaves from this manuscript are therefore usually catalogued with the incorrect date (for example, here, here, and here). Let this be a cautionary tale: metadata, even bad metadata, is sticky and can hang around unquestioned for decades. Ege Livy label

 

Rhodes College, Hanson Collection 3, no. 25

Rhodes College, Hanson Collection 3, no. 25

Among the miscellaneous Ege leaves in Hanson Collection 3 are two leaves of our old friend the Beauvais Missal (No. 6 and No. 7) and a leaf from a Book of Hours in Dutch (at right).

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 7, f. 4

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 7, f. 4

The are ten leaves in the Priscian Fragment Collection in the Archives and Special Collections department at Ole Miss (a.k.a. the University of Mississippi, in Oxford). These have also been digitized and can be found here. Among these are four bifolia from a very nice thirteenth-century manuscript of Donatus’ grammar handbook (below) and a leaf of an early-fifteenth-century Book of Hours with really exquisite and ornate rinceaux in the margins (below).

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 10v

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 10v

It should not surprise you to find several Ege leaves in this collection as well: no. 5 is FOL 39 (Gwara Handlist 39, the other Livy), and no. 6 is FOL 1 (Gwara Handlist 1, a glossed twelfth-century Bible). The highlights for me, though, and almost certainly the oldest bits of parchment in the state, are three tenth-century fragments from three different manuscripts of  Priscian’s Grammar:

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 2

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 2

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 1

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 1

Ole Miss Priscian 3

Univ. of Mississippi, Archives and Special Collections, Priscian Collection, no. 3

These three fragments, the founding pieces of the Priscian Collection, were once owned by Ernst Joseph Alexander Seyfert (1745-1832), a scholar who studied the history of grammar education, a topic in which Priscian and Donatus figure quite prominently.

Road trips are about the journey, not the destination, and are by definition prone to detours and side trips. Next week, I promise we’ll reach New Orleans!

 

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