A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Bywater adds. 1


(fols. 1r-141r)
Cicero, De oratore
Incipit: Cogitanti mihi sepenumero et memoria uetera repetenti perbeati fuisse .Q. frater illi uideri solent:
Explicit: disputationis animos nostros curamque laxemus
Final rubric: FINIS

Followed by a colophon (see under Provenance); the scribe also wrote marginal annotations, and a note on fol. v verso; fol. 141v is blank.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: sepenumero
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: v (two 19th-cent. parchment flyleaves, with a two-leaf letter on paper inserted between them; followed by an original parchment flyleaf) + 141 + ii (19th-century parchment flyleaves).
Dimensions (leaf): 270 × 175 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 173–4 × 102–3 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencil: i-v, 1–143.


I-IV10 (fols. 1–40), V8 (fols. 41–48), VI-XIV10 (fols. 49–138), XV6–3 (4th, 5th, 6th leaves canc.). Quires are arranged with a hair-side outermost. Alphabetical quire signatures in the lower gutter corner of the last verso of each quire except the last: 'A' - 'O', between two dots (the last two surrounded by four dots); small pencil quire numbers in arabic numerals, in the bottom gutter corner of the first recto of quires, are presumably by Lewis (see under Binding).


Ruled in blind for 27 lines of text per page; usually with the first half of the quire with the indentations on the recto, the second half on the verso; but sometimes with the indentations on the flesh-side of leaves in a quire; with pairs of vertical bounding lines, extending almost the full height of the page; the top two and bottom two horizontals extending almost the full width of the page; the ruling apparently executed with a ruling-board, since the horizontals do not cross the verticals.


Written in a fine humanistic script, attributable to Jacopo da Udine (see under Provenance).


Headings in reddish ink.

Each of the three books with a fine 7- or 8-line illuminated white vine-stem initial, the letter in gold, the vine-stems against a green and reddish ground, the whole on a blue field, with foliate extensions into the margins, each with a bird, the first two also with a butterfly:

  • Book I (fol. 1r): inhabited by a putto wielding a spear (Sotheby & Co., 1972, pl. facing p. 19).
  • Book II (fol. 44r): inhabited by a reclining (?) cherub.
  • Book III (fol. 103r): with no figure.
The decoration is now attributed to Bartolomeo di Antonio Varnucci (1410 (?) - 1479) (cf. references under MS. Buchanan c. 1) by A.C. de la Mare, who formerly attributed it to Battista di Biagio Sanguini (c. 1392–1451).


Sewn on five bands, and bound in gilt-tooled blue-green leather over rather thick pasteboards (?), by Charles Lewis between 1821 and 1827 (see under Provenance); a pattern of marks near the gutter of fol. v recto suggests that a previous sewing was on four bands.


Origin: Italian, Florence ; 1441

Provenance and Acquisition

Signed and dated by the scribe, identifiable as Jacopo da Udine (on whom see Alexander and de la Mare, 1969, p. xxvii n. 2), Florence, 30 April 1441: 'Iacob scripsit Florentiae... Pridie kl. Maias M.cccc.xli.', followed by a four-line poem (also found in MS. Canon. class. lat. 309; see Walther, 1963–69, no. 32412; Sotheby & Co., 1972, reproduction on p. 19).

Marginal notes in various humanistic hands.

Guido Lolli or Loglio of Reggio, 16th century (on whom see Girolamo Tiraboschi, Biblioteca Modense: o Notizia della Vita e delle Opere degli Scrittori Natii degli Stati del Serenissimo Signor Duca di Modena III (Modena, 1783), 95–100): signed 'Guido Lolgius', fol. v recto.

Giovanni and Giulio Saibante of Verona: this book does not bear the usual marks found in manuscripts from the Canonici collection, yet was sold by Celotti in the Canonici-Saibante sale at Sotheby's, 26 Feb. 1821 and two following days, lot 113; bought by Drury for £9.

Rev. Henry Drury (1778–1841), of Harrow, bound for him by Charles Lewis: his inscription on fol. i recto; sold by Evans, 1827, lot 1202; bought by Longman.

Samuel Butler, Bishop of Lichfield (1774–1839): an inserted letter is signed 'S. Lichfield' (fols. ii-iii).

Sir Henry Halford, Bart. (1766–1844): given c. 1838 by Butler to Halford, his doctor.

Bernard Quaritch?: inscribed with a 19th-century price-code: 'a/a/-' (this would represent £5 5s in Quaritch's 'King Alfred' pricecode).

Rt. Hon. Lord Cottesloe, 'by descent'; sold at Sotheby & Co., 10 July 1972, lot 27.

Miriam Tomkinson (d. 1986), 1973, with her bookplate.

Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1984.

Record Sources

Draft description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (1 image from 35mm slides)

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.