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Medieval and early modern manuscript collection

  • CA MRUASC C0003
  • Collection
  • [11--?]-[19--?], predominant [12--]-[15--]

Collection consists of manuscripts (books, leaves, and documents written by hand), mostly from medieval and early modern Europe. Most items were produced in Western and Southern Europe (France, England, Flanders, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Spain), although a few are from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Many leaves are illuminated and feature decorative initials, borders, line fillers, etc. Most are in Latin, although a few are in medieval vernacular or other languages.

The collection is arranged in series by manuscript type: Books of hours, liturgical books (contains leaves from psalters, breviaries, antiphonals, and graduals), charters, Bibles, and canon law.

French psalter-hours leaf

Item is an illuminated leaf from a miniature psalter-hour from France. A psalter-hours is a personal prayer book that was the precursor to Books of Hours. The leaf features initials and line fillers in red, blue, and burnished gold.

Manuscript fragments

File contains three fragments of manuscript leaves (possibly works of canon law) recovered from later bindings. Fragments 1 and 2 appear to be from the same manuscript, and possibly the same leaf. The fragments feature glossing in a number of medieval and modern hands, rubrication, and illuminated initials, paraphs, and marginal decorations, one in the form of a a mythical creature.

Liturgical books

Series consists of leaves from liturgical books (also known as service books), which were used by the clergy in the celebration of Christian public religious worship. Types of liturgical books in the series include breviaries, antiphonals, psalters, and gradual processionals.

Bible leaf from William de Brailes' workshop

Item is a leaf from an English pocket bible containing verses 22:12-24:39 of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Leaf features illuminated initials and marginalia including a partial English translation of verse 24:1 ("Wisedome shall prayse herselfe and be honored in god and rejoyse in the middes of his people :". The leaf was produced in Oxford in the workshop of the prominent manuscript illuminator William de Brailes.

A partial transcription of the leaf reads: Beginning nequissimi enim...: "For the wicked life of a wicked fool is worse than death... keep fidelity with a friend in his poverty, that in his prosperity also thou mayst rejoice... wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honored in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people and shall open her mouth in the churches of the most high, and shall glorify herself in the sight of his power... he said to me: let thy dwelling be in Jacob, and thy inheritance in Israel, and take root in my elect. From the beginning and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him..."

English pocket Bible leaf

Item is a leaf from an English pocket bible, possibly from East Anglia, containing verses 10:30-12:41 of the Book of Mark. Leaf features illuminated initials and marginalia.

A partial transcription of the leaf reads: "Et sorores, et matres, et agros..." : "and sisters , and mothers, and children... the Son of man also is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many... Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord... My house shall be called the house of prayer to all nations. But you have made it a den of thieves... Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's... And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like to it; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself..."

French pocket Bible leaf

Item is an illuminated leaf from a French pocket Bible, likely from Paris. The leaf features text from the Book of Obadiah in minute Gothic miniscule script in two columns. The recto features an elongated whimsical creature (possibly a griffon?) between the two columns of text, and the verso contains a 6-line historiated initial depicting the prophet Obadiah seated and holding a scroll.

English psalter leaves

File contains two leaves from an illuminated psalter that feature illuminated initials and line fillers in red, blue, and burnished gold. The leaves also feature three-quarter borders on both sides depicting long tendrils terminating in trefoils and containing marginal illustrations of humans/hybrid creatures and a bird. A psalter is a book containing the Book of Psalms and often other devotional texts such as a liturgical calendar, Litany of Saints, and Office of the Dead.

Liber Sextus Decretalium leaf

Item is a large leaf from an Italian copy of Liber Sextus Decretalium (the Sixth Book of Decretals), a collection of papal decrees concerning canon law (decretals) that was compiled by Pope Boniface VIII as a supplement to the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX. The leaf features glossing, manicules, and paraphs and headings in red and blue.

English psalter leaf

Item is a leaf from an illuminated psalter featuring initials, line fillers, and leafy borders in red, blue, and burnished gold. The borders are inhabited by a pointing figure (recto), and a downward facing human-animal hybrid with a tall hat (verso).

Unfinished French psalter leaf

Item is a leaf from a French psalter with text from Psalm 24. The leaf features guide letters where the illuminator was supposed to paint illuminated initials, but these were never added. A psalter is a book containing the Book of Psalms and often other devotional texts such as a liturgical calendar, Litany of Saints, and Office of the Dead.

Charters

Series consists of English and French charters, legal records that documented the transfer of property or rights from one person or group to another. Charters include marriage settlements/contracts, property leases/declarations of sale, a will, a deed, an obligation, and a papal bull.

Books of hours

Series consists of leaves and a bifolium from books of hours, Christian devotional texts for the private use of laypeople (non-clergy) which were very popular in the late medieval period.

[Breviary?] calendar leaf

Item is a leaf, likely from a breviary, featuring a calendar of church feasts from July to December. A breviary is a liturgical book used by the clergy to celebrate the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), and contains readings, hymns, psalms, and prayers.

French breviary leaf

Item is a leaf from an illuminated breviary from Northern France. Verso features a zoomorphic initial featuring a dragon, and several other illuminated initials and line fillers in red, blue, and burnished gold. A breviary is a liturgical book used by the clergy to celebrate the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), and contains readings, hymns, psalms, and prayers.

[Breviary?] leaf

Item is a leaf, likely from a breviary, featuring illuminated initials in painted gold on brown, blue, or red grounds. A breviary is a liturgical book used by the clergy to celebrate the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), and contains readings, hymns, psalms, and prayers.

English book of hours leaf from Syon Abbey

Item is a leaf from an English book of hours containing verses 22:5-23:4 of the Book of Psalms. The leaf was produced at Syon Abbey, a wealthy monastery of the Bridgettine Order that was located east of London on the north bank of the River Thames in the parish of Isleworth. The leaf features illuminated initials of burnished gold and a floral border on the recto. Surviving English books of hours are rare, as many were destroyed during the English Reformation.

A partial transcription of the leaf reads: Beginning with "In conspectus meo..." : "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Beginning with the illuminated letter D of "Domini est terra..." : "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof: the world, and all they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas; and hath prepared it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend into the mountains of the Lord: or who shall stand in his holy place? The innocent in hands, and the clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbour..."

Flemish book of hours bifolium

Item is a continuous bifolium from a book of hours produced in Flanders. The text follows the Use of Sarum (Salisbury), an English variant of the Roman rite for public worship, indicating that it was produced for the English market. The two leaves constituting the bifolium contain the latter part of a Litany of Saints, and feature illuminated initials and burnished gold lettering. A partial transcription of the leaves reads:
Beginning with the illuminated letter "U" ut oculos...: "That it may please thee to look upon us with eyes of mercy... Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord... Lord have mercy upon us. Christ have mercy upon us..."
Beginning with the illuminated letter "D" deus...: "O God, Whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, receive our petition; that we and all thy servants who are bound by the chain of sin may, by the compassion of thy goodness mercifully be absolved..."
Beginning with the illuminated letter "I" in...: "Show with clemency O Lord they unspeakable mercy unto us: that thou both acquit us of our sins and deliver us from the pains, which for them we deserve..."

German noted breviary fragment

Item is a fragment of a leaf from a German noted (containing music) breviary, likely recovered from a binding. The recto features musical notation in Hufnagelschrift ("horseshoe nail script") neumes on 4-line staves, with lyrics relating to Easter. A breviary is a liturgical book used by the clergy to celebrate the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), and contains readings, hymns, psalms, and prayers.

French book of hours leaves

File contains three leaves from an illuminated book of hours from Northern France, possibly Paris. The leaves are decorated with elaborate panel borders, some inhabited by fantastical creatures, as well as illuminated initials and line fillers.

French breviary leaf

Item is a leaf from a French breviary containing verses 1:20 to 2:12 of the Book of Genesis, including the Creation of Man. The leaf features illuminated initials with floral designs and rinceaux in bright colours and burnished gold.

A partial transcription of the leaf reads:
Beginning with the illuminated letter D of "Dixit etiam..." : "God also said: Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth... and God created the great whales... and the evening and the morning were the first day..."
Beginning with the illuminated letter D of "Dixit quoque..." : "And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creatures in its kind..."
Beginning with the illuminated letter E of "Et vidit deaus..." : "And God saw that it was good. And he said : let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts and the whole earth..."
Beginning with the illuminated letter E of "Et creavit..." : "And God created man to his own image... increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule..."
Beginning with the illuminated letter D of "Dixitque..." : "And God said: behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon earth... and the evening and morning were the sixth day... and on the seventh day God ended his work... he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it... and the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul..."

A breviary is a liturgical book used by the clergy to celebrate the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), and contains readings, hymns, psalms, and prayers.

Early print collection

  • CA MRUASC C0001
  • Collection
  • 1480-1598, 1892

Collection illustrates the early development of movable type printing in Europe. Collection consists of printed books including a book of hours and a collection of Chaucer's works, as well as leaves from Bibles, hagiographies, liturgical texts, and works of history, literature, canon law, and botany.

Biblia Latina bifolium

Item is a continuous bifolium from a Biblia Latina printed in Venice by Franciscus Renner of Heilbronn. The bifolium contains chapters 30-35 of the Book of Ecclesiastics and features hand-painted majuscules and glossing in red and black ink.

Decretals of Gregory IX leaf

Item is a leaf from the second volume of Decretales Pape Gregorii... mit der Glosse des Bernardus Parmensis, printed by Peter Drach in Speyer, Germany in 1486. The Decretals of Pope Gregory IX were an important collection of medieval canon law, and in this edition were accompanied by commentary by the noted Italian canonist Bernard of Botone, also known as Bernard of Parma. The leaf contains general encyclicals (papal letters on doctrine) in the center of the page surrounded by related decretals (papal decrees relating to canon law).

Leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle

Recto of leaf (folio CCLXVIII) features a large woodcut illustration of a city in Hungary, and the verso features a large illuminated initial and paraphs in red and blue.

Nuremberg Chronicle leaves

File contains two leaves from the Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles), commonly know as the Nuremberg Chronicle, an illustrated biblical and world history published by Hartmann Schedel. The book was printed in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger and illustrated with woodcuts by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff. The Liber Chronicarum is notable for being one of the first printed books to successfully integrate illustrations with text.

Leaf from the Nuremberg Chronicle

Leaf (folio CVIIII) features woodcuts of martyrs (Policarpus, Praxedes, Felicitas, Ptolemy, and Aulus Gellius) and heretics (Montanus and Apelles) on the recto, and popes from 174 to 222 (Anicetus, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephyrinus, and Calixtus) on the verso.

Book of hours leaf

Item is a leaf from a printed book of hours from Paris featuring illuminated and gilded initials and borders.

Missal leaf

Item is a leaf (folio XXXVII) from a missal, possibly printed by the Leipzing printer Konrad Kachelofen or his son-in-law Melchior Lotter. Leaf features a historiated initial and text in black and red. A missal is a liturgical text that contains instructions and texts required for celebrating Mass.

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