Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. D.2.16 (2719) Gospels; added quires with Exeter documents

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Matthew T. Hussey


340. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. D.2.16 (2719)

Gospels; added quires with Exeter documents

[Ker 291; Gneuss 530]

HISTORY: A complete copy, ca. 900, of the Vulgate Gospels (Fischer 1988- 91: sigla Bm) with much of the Hieronymian prefatory material, liturgical tables and references, as well as evangelist portraits; appended are l lc OE lists of Leofric's donations to Exeter and relics given to the Exeter monastery by King JEthelstan (r. 924/25-939). Along with readings for feasts of St. Winwaloe, patron of the monastery at Landevennec, Brittany, Auct. D.2.16 also has many features shared with a roughly contemporary gospel manuscript known to have come from Landevennec (New York, Public Library MA 115, "The Harkness Gospels"). Thus, Auct. D.2.16 was likely written at Landevennec before that community migrated to Montreuil-sur-Mer in 924 to escape Norse incursions (Nicholson 1913: 13; Conner 1993: 6 and 171). Two illuminated leaves were supplied which are stylistically Flemish, and may have been done in a Flemish center, perhaps Liege, though a Flemish artist working in England in the first half of the l lc is not out of the question (Schilling 1948). [Note: See Madan and Craster 1922: no. 2719, 2.1.511-12 and Morey, Rand, and Kraeling 1931: 1.1-64, plus plates for discussion and facsimile; 1931: 2. 225-86 for connections to Auct. D.2.16; see also Alexander 1992: 77-82.] Leofric may have acquired the manuscript during his education on the Continent and he may have brought it to England in 1042, perhaps even commissioning the two replacement illuminations (Schilling 1948: 317; Drage 1978: 382; Alexander 1992: 82), but it may have come to England well before that, as did the very similar New York "Harkness Gospels;' which was in southwest England by the mid-1 0c, as were other Breton manuscripts (Huglo 1963: 70-71). Huglo suggests that JEthelstan acquired Auct. D.2.16 in his collecting of relics and manuscripts (Huglo 1985: 245- 52; cf. Alexander 1984: 89; Conner 2000: 133 and 151 n.58). Two quires were added at Exeter during or soon after Leofric's abbacy (1050-72), one detailing his donations to Exeter and the other listing 104 340. the relics donated by Æthelstan (Conner 1993: 171-87). In the late llc, the manuscript served as a model and exemplar, presumably at Exeter, for parts of the small gospel book, Paris, BN lat. 14782 (Alexander 1966 and 1992: 77-82). Auct. D.2.16 is not identifiable with any entries in the 1327 Exeter inventory, but it is described in the 1506 inventory, at which time it had been bound in an ornamental gold and silver binding (Oliver 1861: 323). This binding was subsequently lost, possibly during the Reformation (Drage 1978: 382). The manuscript was among those gifted by the Exeter Dean and Chapter to the Bodleian Library in 1602; it was subsequently rebound more than once, most recently in 1948. An old shelfmark 'Bod. 82 8' on f. lr.

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