MS. Bywater 10
North(?) Italy, Siena(?) 1429–35
tr. Andrea Biglia of Milan , with autograph additions and corrections
Verses and rubrics
Ruled in drypoint, on the hairside, with 23 lines per page, the top two and bottom two lines extending the full width of the page, between pairs of vertical bounding lines extending the full height of the page. 22 lines of text per page.
Written in a fine humanistic bookhand, with fish-hook shaped tall 's'
Headings in very pale red, apparently by the main scribe.
One five-line initial on a gold ground punched with circlet and lozenge tools, with a foliate border incorporating a crude putto and another figure; two exotic birds – one holding a brown squirrel(?) in its beak; two red squirrels(?); and a large butterfly (fol. 2r); one four-line initial, similar but simpler than that on fol. 2r, with a highly-burnished ground, and an exotic bird biting the end of the foliate extension (fol. 19r); and one three-line initial, a simpler version of that on fol. 19r (fol. 41v).
One four-line white vine-stem initial in unusual colours: the initial yellow, on a 'quarterd' ground of blue, green, yellow, and red, with white dots (fol. 1r).
Sewn on three split/double leather thongs, and bound in 18th(?)-century Italian floral-pattern printed paper over pasteboards; the brown marbled paper spine with a paper label inscribed '48. | Andree Mediolanens[is] | In lib. Aristot. | De anima integ: | Pergamena'.
Provenance and Acquisition
Andrea Biglia, of Milan (d. 1435) (?) (on whom see Sabbadini, 'Andrea Biglia'): said to be the original (and only?) MS. of this work, which he composed at the monastery of Lecceto, near Siena, while he was living and teaching in Siena (i.e. between 1429 and his death there in 1435).
Inscribed 'g 54 L [or f ??] 135' (fol. 1r).
Perhaps in the Augustinian convent of San Marco, Milan , by 1745, if this is the MS. seen there by Argelati but his description does not match the present MS. in every respect; a two-line Italian 18th(?)-century inscription at the end of the text has been erased.
Unidentified collection, 18th/19th century: inscribed 'Andra Bil. in lib. de a(n)i(m)a' (fol. i recto).
Inscribed, 18th/19th century: 'Schiepati 179' (fol. 1r).
Unidentified 19th-century Italian collection: inscribed '48.' in the top right corner of fol. i recto (cf. spine label).
Guglielmo Libri (1803–69) , sold at Sotheby's, 28 March 1859 and seven following days, lot 78, bought by Thomas for £6 15s.; 'Libri 78' inscribed in pencil, and erased, in the upper gutter margin of the upper pastedown.
Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872) , his MS. 16240, inscribed 'Phillipps MS | 16240' (fol. i recto) and in pencil on the upper pastedown '16240 Ph'; his sale at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 10 June 1896 and six following days, lot 24, bought by Quaritch for £3 15s.
Quaritch, Rough List no. 164 (October 1896), item 16, at £5 5s, with a cutting from this catalogue pasted to the upper pastedown, and '16' inscribed in pencil and erased, in the top left corner; '806' and the price '£5–5-0' written in pencil and erased in the centre.
Ingram Bywater ; his Elenchus number inscribed in pencil on the upper pastedown: 'By. | 360';
Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1915; originally given the shelfmark 'Byw.B.2.4' (inscribed in pencil on the upper pastedown and fol. i recto, and given the Summary catalogue no. 40042, both now obsolete.
Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)
Last Substantive Revision
2017-07-01: First online publication.