|ABELARDE ET HELOISE; EPISTOLAE, ABELARD'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND THE LETTERS BETWEEN ABELARD AND HELOISE|
MS in Latin on vellum, France, ca. 1350, 74 ff. (-ca. 50), 23x15 cm, single column, (15x10 cm), 25 lines in a very neat compressed Gothic book script of medium grade and quality, headings in red, 2-line initials in red or blue with penwork infilling and marginal flourishing in purple or red, many medieval notes and marks including pointing fingers, grotesque faces, etc.
Binding: France?, ca. 1991-1995, blind-stamped off-white leather, sewn on 5 cords.
Context: Only 12 MSS of this text are known. 7 MSS are in Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. lat.2923 (13th c.), 2544, 2545, 13057, 13826, (17th c.) and ms.n.a.lat. 1873 and 20001 (a fragment); 1 in Reims: Bibliothèque Municipale, ms.872; 1 in Troyes: Bibliothèque Municipale, ms.802; Douai: Bibliothèque Municipale, ms.797; and Oxford: Bodleian MS.Add.C.271 (a fragment). 1 letter translated into Italian is MS 1192.
Provenance: 1. Henri Leclerc cat. 30(1910):8621; 2. Robert de Billy, French diplomat (1910-1953); 3. Grandson of Robert de Billy (1953-1995); 4. Sotheby's 5.12.1995:33.
Commentary: The tale of Abélard and Héloise is one of the supreme and most romantic love stories of all time. It stands with the eternal legends of Hero and Leande, Dido and Aeneas, and Romeo and Juliet, as the universal image of absolute, but forbidden love. The principal difference it that the story of Abélard and Héloise is absolutely true, and is documented through the texts written by the lovers themselves, and preserved in the present MS. Abélard's autobiography and the heart-rending letter which Héloise wrote to him after reading it, still have the power to move us after more than 850 years.
Peter Abélard (1079-1142) was one of the greatest philosophers and writers of the 12th c. Héloise (ca. 1100-1164) was the first female academic in Europe.
Published: C. Jeudy: "Un nouveau manuscrit de la Correspondence d'Abélard et Héloise", Latomus, Revue d'Etudes Latines, L, 1991, pp. 872-81. C. Jeudy: "La correspondance d'Abelard et Heloise a propos d'un manuscrit nouveau". Mélanges offerts à Georges Lubin. Autour de George Sand. Centre d'Etude des Correspondances des XIXe et XXe siècles. Université de Brest. ca. 1991, pp. 133-143.
|FRANCESCO PETRARCA: EPISTOLAE SENILES, BOOKS IX-XVII|
MS in Latin on vellum, Padua(?), Italy, late 14th c., 100 ff. (-10), 34x24 cm, 2 columns (23x15 cm), 40 lines in a Bolognese rotunda Gothic book script of medium quality, 1-line blue initials throughout, 3-line blue initials flourished in red introducing sub-sections, 8 illuminated 7-line initials in full colours and gold with marginal leafy sprays and spangles by a Paduan artist.
Binding: England, ca. 1800, mottled sheep, sewn on 4 cords.
Provenance: 1. J.J. Middleton, England (mid 19th c.); 2. Sotheby's 13.11.1933:14; 3. P.M. Barnard, Tunbridge Wells (1933-34); 4. Eric Fitzhardinge, Kurrajong Heights, New South Wales, Australia (1934-1994); 5. Quaritch Cat. 1200 (1994):44.
Commentary: The present volume was written within or very close to Petrarch's lifetime. The letters of old age was one of Petrarch's last projects. The present MS contains 66 letters including the two most famous letters to Boccaccio. Very few MSS of the text have survived.
Published: Speculum, XL, April 1965, pp. 323-25: K.V. Sinclair, A new fragment of Petrarch's Epistolae seniles.
|FRANCESCO PETRARCA: TRIONFI|
MS in Italian on vellum, Firenze, Italy, ca. 1450, 53 ff. (complete), 20x13 cm, single column, (14x8 cm), 21 lines in a cursive humanistic book script by the scribe of "the remarkable Venice Silius", Marc. Lat.XII.68 (possibly Mariotto Nori), headings in red, 13 3-line illuminated initials in burnished gold on pink or blue and green ground with delicate tracery in yellow and white, a very large, 6-line historiated initial enclosing a standing figure of Cupid, surrounded by white-vine decorations infilled in blue, pink and green extending around the whole page, including a butterfly and 4 birds, vignettes of a running white hound, two faces of cherubs, a running hare, a girl (presumably Laura), 3 putti supporting a coat-of-arms in a gold cartouche, by Ser Ricciardo di Nanni.
Binding: Firenze, Italy, ca. 1450, panelled, blind-tooled dark goatskin over wooden boards, sewn on 3 bands, 2 brass catches.
Context: The same scribe is responsible for at least 4 other Florentine MSS, including a Vergil produced for William Gray by Vespasiano (Oxford Balliol 140), another Vergil with a famous miniature by Gugllielmo Giraldi (Vat.Urb.lat.350), and possibly a fifth MS, Boccaccio La Fiammetta for the Marquis of Santillana (Madrid B.N.Res.53). Prof. A. de la Mare is tempted to identify the scribe as the Florentine Mariotto Nori.
Provenance: 1. Florentine count (ca. 1450); 2. Kenneth Knight (-1982); 3. Christie's 8.12.1982:133; 4. H. Schiller, Paris (-1991); 5. Sotheby's 18.6.1991:86; 6. Fabio del Core and his descendants, Lugano (1991-1996) 7. Christie's 3.4.1996:5.
Commentary: The artist Ser Ricciardo di Nanni worked for the Medici from 1456 to 1459. Deaccession December 2010.
|GIOVANNO BOCCACCIO: DES CAS NOBLES HOMMES ET FEMMES. TRANSLATED BY LAURENT DE PREMIERFAIT|
MS in French on paper, Paris, ca. 1475, 508 ff. (-6), 37x26 cm, 2 columns, (27x19 cm), 41-42 lines in a distinguished lettre bâtarde, headings in red, 2-line illuminated initials in burnished gold on red and blue grounds with white tracery, 3-to 4-line initials in red and blue with coloured flowers on burnished gold grounds, 5 very large (average 11,5x18,5 cm,) miniatures in arched compartments, with full borders of flowers, fruit and gold ivyleaves on hairline stems, by a workshop associated with Maître François.
Binding: France, 16th c., pigskin over wooden boards, sewn on 5 double cords, rolltooled, stamped with roundels of Hus, Luther, Erasmus and Melanchton and others.
Provenance: 1. Gyrard Laurens, France (ca. 1475); 2. Louis Malet, Lord of Graville, Admiral of France (d. 1516, until 1518); 3. Anne de Graville, poetress (from 1518); 4. Claude d'Urfe, l'Abbatie, le Forez (17th-18th c.); 5. Duc de la Vallière, Paris (from 1776); 6. Montjoye; 7. Sotheby's 13.7.1977:44; 8. Sotheby's 6.12.1988:46; 9. Sam Fogg, Cat. 12(1989):22. Deaccession October 2010.
Commentary: The text is Premierfait's 2nd version completed in 1409, dedicated to Jehan Duc du Berry. About 60 illuminated copies survive. This text belongs to group "A" in Carla Bozzolo's stemma of textual variants.
Exhibited: The text is Premierfait's 2nd version completed in 1409, dedicated to Jehan Duc du Berry. About 60 illuminated copies survive. This text belongs to group "A" in Carla Bozzolo's stemma of textual variants.
|GEOFFREY CHAUCER: CANTERBURY TALES: MAN OF LAW'S TALE, AND SQUIRE'S TALE|
MS in Middle English on paper, England, 1532-1541, 2 ff., 29x20 cm, 2 columns, (22x16 cm), 47-49 lines in Tudor secretary script.
Binding: Barking, Essex, 1997, green quarter morocco, sewn on 5 cords, by Aquarius. Context: The only other known Chaucer MSS in private hands are in Takamiya's collection, Japan, and 2 ff. in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire.
Provenance: 1. Private collection, U.S.A. (1996); 2. Jeremy Griffiths, Oxford.
Commentary: Copied partly from the 1532 Thynne Edition. The variations from the printed edition attest to an active textual tradition of Chaucer's Canterbury tales into the 16th c., in which the printed editions are simply fixed points in the development of the text.
A dozen of the ca. 20 readings in which the present MS differs from Thynne, are themselves unique readings not found in any other surviving MS, thus preserving readings from lost MSS.