Merton College MS. 25
Former shelfmark: B. 3. 3
JEROME ON ISAIAH; 1497-1503
ff. i, ii-iiiv blank. ff. ii-iiiv are ruled as the rest of the book, perhaps for a table.
CPL 584; CCSL 73, 1; Lambert 207. Chapter-numbers are written in the margins and near the top outer corner of each recto, perhaps by Fitzjames.
Ruled with fine pencil in 2 cols of 49-52 lines.
Several Continental archaizing bookhands, some found in MSS 23 and 24; the first hand of MS 23 writes the lemmata on ff. 77-101v. At the foot of f. 161 is ‘Nota quaternum istum’.
On f. 1 is a full border and initial in Flemish style, by the same artist as that in MS 23. The border includes Fitzjames kneeling in prayer, and at the foot his arms impaling those of Rochester (he was bishop 1497-1503). The initial encloses Jerome as cardinal, seated at a desk, patting his lion. The remaining decoration is English: books open with 6-10-line initials in colours and brilliant gold, on square grounds with foliage and partial floral borders. That on f. 20 has the arms of Rochester, those on ff. 39 and 53v those of Fitzjames. Chapters open with 5-7-line champe initials. Commentary on verses open with blue initials flourished with red; red running titles, lemmata and highlighting.
Original, cushion-bevelled wooden boards with slightly projecting foredges, covered with tawed skin, originally pink; an overcover of the same sewn on, trimmed at the foot. The stubs only of two leather straps from recesses in the front board to brass catches at the rear, of which one remains. Sewn on five bands raised and outlined with string. To the rear board is nailed a label 180 × 60 mm., under horn, with Fitzjames’ arms in colour and ‘Beatus Hieronimus super Esaiam prophetam ex dono domini Ric’ Fitziames nuper Cicestrensis episcopi et Custodis istius Collegii’, in an elegant English bookhand influenced by humanistica. Near the foot of the front foredge, and near the head of the rear foredge, are marks of post-medieval brass chain-staples.
Provenance and Acquisition
Companion volume to MS 23. On f. iv, in the usual rough secretary hand, ‘Beatus Hieronimus super Esaiam prophetam ex dono domini Ricardi Fitz James nuper Cicestrensis episcopi et custodis istius collegii cuius anima propicietur Deus Amen’. The same or a very similar hand is responsible for the marginal chapter-numbers. At the head of f. 145 is ‘Walterus de Morton’. On the front pastedown: ‘Hieronymus super Esaiam’ and ‘lib. 18.’, s. xvii; ‘N. 2. 13. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced with modern ‘B. 3. 3. (XXV)’, in red; the College bookplate.
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