Merton College MS. 206
Former shelfmark: N. 2. 3
HUGH OF ST CHER &c; S. XIII med.
The companion volume to MS 207.
Fols. i-ii blank.
There are often breaks or dislocations at the ends of quires, with partially blank leaves; f. 159v completely blank. At the foot of 231v is pencilled ‘ecclesiasticum. matheum viii q.’ Beneath is a catchword, ‘Iungat’, which is the opening word of MS 207.
Pr. in his Opera, Venice 1703, I-III; Stegmüller, Bibl. 3632-76.
Unpr.; Stegmüller, Bibl. 7192, 1, 7708-9; Lambert 402; Sharpe, Handlist, p. 628.
Unpr.; Stegmüller, Bibl. 8914. Also in BAV, Reg. lat. 1637/2, BnF, lat. 10473, Brussels, Bibl. royale 1315 (s. xiv, from the Charterhouse of Cologne), fols. 62-73v, Klosterneuburg, Stiftsbibl. 1066, Prag, Univ. Bibl. 1919.
On f. 262, in an anglicana-secretary hand of s. xv, is ‘Oracio regis Manasse 2 paralipo. 33. Domine omnipotens Deus patrum nostrorum ...’.
Art. 1 is ruled in crayon with the gloss surrounding the text, which is on the same lines but in slightly larger script; all dimensions are ad hoc: the written space usually occupies most of the page (up to 96 lines); the area occupied by the text varies markedly, is sometimes irregularly shaped, and is sometimes in 2 cols, sometimes in a single very narrow one, the gloss in up to six cols. Arts 2-3 ruled with crayon in 3 cols of 59 lines, written space 275 × 180 mm.
Expert Italian gothic rotunda bookhands, one each for text and gloss in art. 1; arts 2-3 may be by the glossing hand.
Parisian: 44 exquisite decorated or historiated initials, mostly small, in colours and gold: f. 1 (prol.) F, the whole depth of the written space with marginal extension, with scenes in two registers: seated Dominican friar being ?tortured by a surgeon who appears to be applying a saw-knife to his mouth; seated friar writing; fols. 2v (Gen.; the opening initial gone with the orig. f. 3; a tiny piece of decoration remains), 21v (Exod.; horned Moses divides the waters before the Israelites), 38v (Levit.; offering of two beasts), 53v (Num.; horned Moses receives the Decalogue), 69 (Deut.; horned Moses places the tables in the ark), 84v, 85 (Ios.; nimbed Joshua with scroll), 92v (Iud.; nimbed prophet admonishes a soldier with kite-shaped shield), 100v (Ruth; Ruth and Boaz travelling), 102, 102v (I Reg.; massacre), 110v (II Reg.; execution), 117v (III Reg.; King David dying), 126 (IV Reg.; Ozias falls from a tower), 133, 133v (I Paral.; group of patriarchs), 140v (II Paral.; 2, the second with seated king bearing sword), 148 (Esdr.; 2, the second with king, architect and builders’ labourers), 151v (Nehem.; king and cupbearer), 155v (III Esdr.; man with bucket on pole), 160 (Tob.; 2, second with dying man, his soul escaping in the form of a blackbird), 163 (Judith; Judith kills Holophernes), 167 (Esth.; Esther pleads with the king; Haman is hanged), 171, 171v (Job; Job on the dunghill castigated by his wife), 190v (2), 191 (Psalms; David harping, a stork above), 198v (The Lord crowns David: Ps. 26), 202 (David and God converse: Ps. 39), 205v (a madman: Ps. 52), 209 (God delivers drowning king: Ps. 68), 213 (David playing bells: Ps. 80), 217 (singing priests: Ps. 95), 221 (God in Majesty: Ps. 109), 222, 226-7, 228, 229v, 232.
Red or blue initials flourished in the other colour, some with long marginal extensions; some in the Psalter are touched with gold; plain red or blue initials; running heads and chapter numbers in capitals of both colours; red or blue paraphs flourished in the other colour.
Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on five bands; formerly chained from the usual position. Fols. i, 262 were formerly pastedowns, probably in an earlier binding; both have the marks of iron bosses. Near the foot of the foredge of f. i is the mark of an iron chain-staple.
Provenance and Acquisition
Written in Italy, decorated in Paris. A handful of annotations in anglicana script suggest that it was in England by s. xv.
At the College by s. xv ex., when it was in an electio: on f. iiv ‘Li primus’, followed by a table of contents in the same hand. ‘3’ is inked on the foredge. Inside the front board is a sheet of paper with a table of contents and ‘F. 7, 2’ (canc.), s. xvii, and ‘P. 1. 3. Art:’, canc. and replaced with ‘N. 2. 3 (CCVI)’ in red; the College bookplate.
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