Merton College MS. 124
Former shelfmark: M. 2. 8
VINCENT OF BEAUVAIS; S. XIV in. (before 1330)
MSS 123-6 is a set, containing the third part of the huge encyclopedia (Speculum Maius) by Vincent of Beauvais (d. ?1264). Written professionally in Paris by two named scribes (one an Englishman) and splendidly decorated, it was bequeathed to the College by Roger de Martival (d. 1330), bishop of Salisbury and formerly University chancellor.
f. iii blank. A large rectangle has been cut from the middle for no apparent reason; above, canc., is ‘Edwared le kyng hath done this’, s. xvi. At the head of f. iiiv is ‘Secunda pars speculi historialis continet seriem doctrinalem’, in the same hand as in MS 124.
Pr. Douai 1624 / Graz 1964-5; Kaeppeli 3987.
Ruled with fine pencil in 2 cols of 50 lines. Running heads between lines ruled right across the page.
Written by Robert of Longjumeau, as MS 123. Correctors’ mark at the end of each quire.
Splendid 9- or 10-line historiated initials in colours and gold with partial vinet borders open each book. The major initials are as follows: f. 3 3-line initial N with curling foliage and 3-sided border, a hound chasing a hare across the lower limb; f. 3v G enclosing seated king with sword, judging two men pushed forward by a soldier, hound and hare as before; f. 79 V enclosing a vigorous siege scene; hound and hare as before; f. 114 I with curling foliage, a hound; a patch excised from the other end of the lower limb; f. 147 R enclosing a beheading of a young man before a seated king, a knight restraining a pleading father; hound and hare as before; f. 188vbeheading of three individuals before a seated king; hound and hare as before; f. 245 F enclosing a monk fondling a young ?girl in a tower, another appears before a seated king with sword; hound and hare as before. The initials to books X and XV have been excised.
Maltby 1980, brown goatskin; resewn on four bands. Fols. i-ii, 279-80 are modern paper blanks.
Provenance and Acquisition
Made in Paris, vol. 2 of the set with MSS 123, 125-6. On f. iiiv ‘Liber domus scolarium de Merton’ ex legato Magistri Rogeri de Martiuall’ quondam episcopi Sarum’, in the same hand as the inscription in MSS 56, 123, 125-6. UO47. 12. For Martival, see MS 123.
Beneath is ‘F. 8, 6’, canc., and ‘O. 2. 8. Art:’, s. xvii. Inside the front board is pencilled ‘M. 2. 8’ and ‘Merton College MS CXXIV’. ‘8’ is inked on the foredge.
For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Merton College Library.