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

MS. Holkham misc. 49

Summary Catalogue no.: Not in SC (late accession): no detailed description available


Boccaccio, Decameron
Language(s): Italian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (modern parchment) + 169 + i (modern parchment).
Dimensions (leaf): 360 × 265 mm.
Dimensions (ruled): 233 × 160 mm.
Foliation: Modern pencil, i, 1–170.


50 written lines per page, below top line; in 2 columns


Fine round Italian bookhand.


One miniature, at the bottom of which a coat of arms has been cropped (fol. 5r, lower margin), with a four-sided border containing the motto and imprese of the patron; nine historiated initials (fols. 20v, 46r, 64v, 80v, 96v, 105r, 118v, 137v, 148r); numerous initials in gold and colours; lesser initials (one- to three-line) alternately in blue with red penwork, or red with purple penwork.


Sewn on six cords and bound in wood boards covered with fine purple velvet; the upper cover stamped in gilt with the Coke crest, the spine blank; the joints repaired; in a fitted telescopic leather case also stamped in gilt on the upper cover with the Coke crest, the spine lettered in gilt 'BOCCACCIO | IL DECAMERON | M. S.', and '531' at the bottom.


Origin: Italian, Ferrara ; 1467 (or slightly earlier)

Provenance and Acquisition

Identifiable as the MS. illuminated for Teofilo Calcagnini (1441–88) of Ferrara, courtier of Borso d'Este, for which Taddeo Crivelli (fl. 1452–76) was paid in 1467.

A three-line inscription at the end of the text has been erased.

The Franciscan monastery of Santo Spirito in Reggio Emilia, with their ex libris inscriptions (17th cent.): 'Di. S. Spirito di Reggio' (fols. 1r, 89r).

Probably acquired by Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester in Italy between 1714 and 1717; signed by 'Thos. Willm. Coke (1754–1842); formerly Norfolk, Holkham Hall, MS. 531.

Acquired by the Bodleian in 1981

Record Sources

Draft description by Peter Kidd, late 1990s


To ensure its availability to future readers, access to this item is restricted, and readers are asked to work from reproductions and published descriptions as far as possible. To apply to see the original, please send a message to specialcollections.enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, outlining the subject of your research, the importance of this item to that research, and the resources you have already consulted.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian (37 images from 35mm slides)


    A. G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.435–1600 in Oxford Libraries (Oxford, 1984), no. 524.5

Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.