Aylsham, Blickling Hall, 6931

[Part 1]

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General information

Folios190
LanguageFrench - Northern localisation or influence
Approx. datec. 1250 to 1275
Date notesBased on the illustration, decoration and hand (two-compartment 'a' the upper compartment of which is open; straight 's' and round 's' occurring in final position). De Visser-van Terwisga has '13th century'. The manuscript is closely linked to three manuscripts of the 'Histoire ancienne' dated to 1250-1275 (cf. infra).
Place(s) of productionNorthern France
Based on decoration. The manuscript's imagery suggests that it is closely related to a group of three manuscripts (London, British Library, MS Additional 19669, The Hague, Koninklijke bibliotheek, MS 78 D 47 and Pommersfelden and Schloss Weissenstein - Schönbornsche Schlossbibliothek, MS 295) all dated to the third quarter of the thirteenth century and produced in the North of France (Oltrogge 1989, 18-19 has Lille; Avril prefers Soissons / Compiègne).
First words of second recto folio[f. 2ra] (et) uouloient preissent alor volente fors a un /
First words of last recto folio[f. 190ra] unenoblecite enz a regne q(ue) cil delacontree petram /
Incipit[f. 1ra] [Q] / Vant diex ot fait le ciel et laterre (et) les iaues dou / ces et salees (et) le souleil (et) la lune  et les estoiles (et) / ilot a chascun commande selonc son ordre . Cest a dire q(ue) li soulauz luissist le ior et enluminast / par sa grant clarte tout le monde et la lune (et) / les estoiles rendissent luminaire et clartea la / nuit qui estoit tenebreuse (et) noire . Il fist lesoi /
Explicit[f. 190va] furent si trestoutes les granz batailles ipaisiees / sicom eutropius raco(n)tequilne(n) estoit nule qui / gramment fust greuable partrestout le mon / dE // Explicit //

Material

Material:vellum
Watermark:na
Condition:Good quality vellum. The manuscript is worn especially the first and last folios. Some small holes, also in the writing space (e.g. f. 23; f. 26; f. 31; f. 43; f. 51; f. 54; f. 75; f. 92; f. 94; f. 139; f. 142; f. 157; f. 187) and stitches (f. 27; f. 150). Some stains (e.g. f. 34; f. 88; f. 97; f. 125; f. 164). Some instances of the edge of the skin coinciding with the edge of the folio (e.g. f. 61; f. 62; f. 69; f. 132; f. 139). Last folios (189-190) damaged by spilt fluid. ff. 7v-8r affected by humidity.

Structure

Collation:

1-238 246

Quire structure:Twenty-three quires of eight folios, followed by a quire of six folios. Given the location of the binding threads, this final quire was also conceived as a quaternion, but the final two folios - which were blank - have now been lost. The catchword on f. 119v (the only one that has not been cut) does not match the first words on f. 120ra. It does match however, those of f. 121ra. This suggests that f. 120 has been misplaced. Given that the displacement does not become obvious from the foliation in roman numerals, it must have occurred before these folio numbers were added. Most of the catchwords trimmed. Catchword present f. 119v, which suggest at least one irregular quire before. Evidence of quire mark possibly in the lower margin of f. 36r. Bifolium signatures ff. 161-163 in the lower right corner of the recto (i, ii, iii). This confirms the collation of the manuscript as established on the basis of the position of the binding threads.
Quire marks:bifolium signatures (roman numeral) in the lower right corner of the recto
Catchwords:
Catchword disposition:verso of the final leaf of the quire, lower right-hand corner

Physical description

General description:Trimmed at the bottom.
No. of illustrations:3
General illustration:The manuscript opens with a historiated initial (height: 13 lines) representing creation in seven time-frames. Each of these illustrations is painted against a gilt background in the form of a circle. The eye of the initial 'Q', itself scarlet, in which the scenes have been arranged, is blue. The initial is painted on a rectangular field of goldleaf, framed in a thin border, traced in black ink, the original fill of which is hard to determine. The tail of the initial extends into the border and forms a decorative frame. f. 4va: miniature (height: 12 lines) in four sections, each representing an episode from the story of Noah. The framing is bold. consisting of broad, blue bars, traced in black ink. Backgrounds are goldleaf. The characters, fairly tall and rigid, stand on the frame. The folds of their long dress are accentuated with black ink, but also some shadowing. Hairdo's are curly, complexions are pale. f. 24va: miniature (height: 13 lines) in four sections, each representing an episode from the story of Isaac and Esau.
General decoration:Major subdivisions have been marked with large puzzle initials (height: 7 lines), in red and blue, with flourishings in the same colours. f. 42v: Orient I f. 45r: Thebes f. 58r: Greeks and Amazons f. 60v: Troy f. 71r: Eneas f. 82v: Kings of Assyria f. 83v: Rome I [f. 93v: Orient II, not marked] [f. 105v: Alexandre, not marked] f. 109r: Conception of Alexander by Nectanabus, marked by initial (height: 8 lines). f. 127v: Rome II f. 130v: Punic Wars f. 140v: Hannibal revenges his father f. 152r: War against Macedonia f. 158r: War against Carthage The text is further structured by means of rubricated headings, with right justification. These are followed by pen-decorated initials (height: 2 lines), alternating between red and blue with flourishings in the contrasting colour. Guide letters have been added in the space provided for the initials for the benefit of the decorator. Dash of rubric highlights the beginning of clauses.
Evidence of readership:Annotation in French, 15th c. (e.g. f. 6rb 'de chain' ; '.iii. fils') f. 60r: annotation in the outer margin. ?figure? Some crosses in the margin (e.g. f. 90r; f. 101r; f. 124r; 150r; 155r; 157v; 170v; ).
Foliations description:Modern foliation in arabic numerals in the upper right corner of the recto (pencil). Older foliation (15th. c?) in roman numerals centered in the upper margin (regular ink).

Mise en page

Description 1Double horizontal throughlines at the top and bottom of the justification.
Page sampledf. 27r
LayoutNone
Page dimensions332x245 (mm)
Justification242x180 (mm)
Columns2
15mm between columns
Column ruling present in grey (Plummet )
Lines40
Line ruling present in grey (Plummet )
RubricationRed ink is used for rubricated headings, decorated initials and the highlighting of the first letters of clauses. Prickings for line-ruling visible in the outer margins (e.g. ff. 189-190).
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:

Hand(s)

Level of Execution:Libraria
ScriptNorthern textualis
Folio rangeFrom f. 1ra to f. 190va
Date?1250 to 1275
Scribe description:Northern textualis with two compartment 'a' with open upper compartment, clubbed ascenders, uncial 'd', tongued 'e', limb of 'h' slightly descends below the baseline, curving to the left, 'i'-longa in final position in numerals, diacritic on 'i' in minim groups, round 's' in final position (some occurences of final straight 's'), vertical stroke of 't' does not extend above the headstroke, no use of 'v', 3-like 'z'. Abbreviations include superscript vowels, nasal bar also used for 'que', and crossed tironian 'et'.
Notes