“Money without health is worse by half”

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 45/52

Book of Hours for the Use of Noyon, Newark (DE), University of Delaware, Morris Library, MSS 95, item 31, unnumbered flyleaf i recto and fol. 83r (beginning of the Office of the Dead with miniature of the Raising of Lazarus)

A relatively recent arrival in the Philadelphia region, this late-fifteenth-century Book of Hours of the Use of Noyon contains an interesting series of provenance inscriptions that provide palpable insight into the manuscript’s multi-generational heirloom status in early modern France. As we shall see, one early owner’s poetic inscription, in particular, sheds light on a seemingly perennial human preoccupation: balancing health and financial well-being.

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Pennsylvania Dutch

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 44/52

https://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0038/MS_146/data/web/9363_0030_web.jpg   9363_0030_web
South Netherlands Book of Hours (The Hawley Hours), Lancaster, Franklin & Marshall College, Shadek-Fackenthal Library, Misc. Ms. 146, fol. 13r (with detail)

Part of the joy of the BiblioPhilly project is that it encompasses institutions of all kinds and sizes, from large and well-known repositories of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts like the Free Library of Philadelphia, right down to smaller institutions that have just a single such codex in their collections. This is case for Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The College’s Shadek-Fackenthal Library houses this North Netherlandish Book of Hours of circa 1470, which I assumed was effectively unknown in the scholarship on Dutch manuscript illumination, since it only came to the College in 1988 as a gift of Elaine Hawley (widow of the novelist Cameron Hawley) and is therefore absent from the Seymour de Ricci census of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and its Supplement.1 There is also no mention of the Franklin & Marshall book in the catalogue of the landmark exhibition of Dutch manuscripts held at the Morgan Library & Museum in 1990, which did however include many examples of the genre held in other North American libraries.2 The manuscript is also not present (as of yet) in the otherwise amazingly comprehensive Luxury Bound corpus of manuscripts illustrated in the Netherlands (1400-1550).

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Kendall of Colchester’s Quaker Connection

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 43/52

Bible from Northern France, Haverford College, Quaker & Special Collections, 1250 J2.16.10, fol. 1r

A thirteenth-century Parisian Bible, held until 2002 at the Monthly Meeting of Friends Library but now on permanent deposit at Haverford College, represents an unusually early arrival of a European manuscript in the Philadelphia region, and in the New World more generally.1 In the introduction to the Leaves of Gold: Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections exhibition catalogue, James Tanis briefly mentioned the manuscript’s early provenance in America and illustrated one of its historiated initials.2 This was the first time that any image of the manuscript had been reproduced. Now, of course, the volume has been entirely digitized as part of the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis project. In his essay, Tanis drew attention to an autograph inscription on the flyleaf written by John Pemberton, a leader of the local Friends community, which records his purchase of the book from John Kendall of Colchester, Great Britain, on 13 June 1787, for the sum of 1 Guinea. 

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Italian with a French Accent (Part II): Attributing the Illuminations of Lewis E 207

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 42/52

Prayer Book, Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 207, fol. 1r (miniature of the Presentation in the Temple); Gian Giacomo Trivulzio in Prayer before Saint Jerome, Trivulzio Hours, Madrid, Biblioteca Lazaro Galdiano, inv. 15454, fol. 16v (miniature of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio in Prayer before Saint Jerome)

Back in October, I posted about the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Lewis E 207, an unusual northern Italian prayer book that is prefaced by four abbreviated prayers from the Hours of the Virgin, each illustrated by a miniature executed in a naive but charming style and surrounded by illusionistic flower stems that seem to be threaded through the page. In conducting further research on this item for the Making the Renaissance Manuscript: Discoveries from Philadelphia Libraries exhibition, I contacted Professor Pier Luigi Mulas of the University of Pavia, an expert in Lombard illumination of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, who very helpfully suggested some interesting stylistic comparisons and the potential identity of the artist responsible for the images and the borders.

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Overlooked Texts, Overlooked Images (Part II): Mystery Engravings

Fifty-two discoveries from the BiblioPhilly project, No. 41/52
A guest post by National Gallery of Art Associate Curator of Old Master Prints, Brooks Rich

6552_0024_web   the_annunciation_1943.3.3635
Album of Engravings and Devotional Texts by Erasmus, Marco Girolamo Vida, and Prudentius, Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E 179, fol. 11r, Annunciation (detail); Albrecht Dürer, Annunciation from The Small Woodcut Passion, probably ca. 1509/1510, Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, Rosenwald Collection, 1943.3.3635

The first part of this blog post examined the interesting selection of texts, previously unidentified, that were included in the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Lewis E 207 prayer book. Today, our subject is the series of engravings found within that same book. From the very beginning of their production in the late fourteenth century, single-leaf prints were pasted into prayer books and other private volumes and sometimes even further painted and gilded as inexpensive substitutes for illuminated miniatures.1

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