PROMPTUARIUM CLERICORUM. Manuscript on vellum, [England, c.1230-1250]
Lot 110
PROMPTUARIUM CLERICORUM. Manuscript on vellum, [England, c.1230-1250]
Sold for £32,450 (US$ 50,933) inc. premium

Lot Details
PROMPTUARIUM CLERICORUM. Manuscript on vellum, [England, c.1230-1250]
PROMPTUARIUM CLERICORUM
Manuscript, on vellum, 136 leaves and 3 flyleaves, in quires of 12 except the last two consisting of 4, four leaves excised from quire VI (apparently all blanks, no text missing), modern pencil foliation in upper right (135 leaves, double-counting fol. 94, text in Latin, one column of 23 lines to the page, justification 122-125 x 82-90mm., written in brown ink by one hand over various campaigns, in an English regular praegothica with elaborate versals, one four-line puzzle-initial with red penwork filling at the beginning of the text, alternating red and blue one-line initials thereafter, numerous two- to eight-line penwork initials in red and blue introducing new paragraphs, twentieth century calf over wooden boards, gilt lettered on spine "English illuminated manuscript//c. 1260", 142 x 110mm., [England, c.1230-1250]

Footnotes

  • AN ENGLISH MANUSCRIPT FROM THE FIRST HALF OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY, PROBABLY COMPILED FOR USE BY A PARISH PRIEST. English manuscripts of this date are rarely offered at auction.

    Contents:

    Fol. 1-68v: St. Jerome's Interpretation of Hebrew names with numerous sections, each running from A-Z, beginning "Incipiunt Interpretationes Hebreicorum nominorum".
    Fol. 69-136: Collection and Explanation of liturgical feastdays, explaining when, how and why they are to be celebrated, beginning "Locorum que orationi sunt dicata, alia sunt sacra..." and "dierum alii festivi, sive solempnes alii profestorum pro festi sunt qui nulla ..."; explicit on fol. 136 "Si capud ebdomade mensis sit prima dierum/Ystorie doceas ceptis insistere clerum/Si secus est, resonent eadem psallentis in ore/Principio mensis prima fera propiore".
    The lack of any formulaic ending of the text suggests that the manuscript remained unfinished.

    While the first section of the manuscript contains a popular text by St Jerome explaining the origins and meanings of Hebrew names and places in the Bible, the second text gathers together a number of tracts on various liturgical feastdays. For example, on fol. 71 the feast of Phillipp and James is mentioned, while fol. 126 concerns Pentecost and which particluar lessons are to accompany the mass being celebrated. The manuscript was presumably compiled for use by a priest in charge of organising the feastdays of the liturgical year in his parish or convent. Not only is the style of the script unmistakably English, but an English word is found near the end, where the meaning of the "Yades stelle" is explained as coming from "yeros q.e. ymber" and "ymbres... lengua anglica possunt dici scrures" (possibly referring to sciures or showers).

    Provenance:

    1. Erased ownership entry on fol. 136v, written in brown ink in a nineteenth century hand.
    2. Sir Henry Francis Edward Freeland (1870-1946), Major General of the British Army, known collector, with his bookplate.
    3. Purchased from Quaritch, October 1899, with their printed description tipped-in.
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