London, British Library, Harley 49

L'estorie de Tristan (rubric to table of contents)

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General information

1 frontend papers
1 backend papers
Folio notes:Signatures of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and Elizabeth of York (?) on f. 155r.
LanguageLanguage object (47)
Approx. date?1400 to 1483
Date notes'2nd half of the 15th century' (BL catalogue). Signature of Richard, Duke of Gloucester suggests it was in his possession prior to accession to the English throne in 1483.
Place(s) of productionEngland
'England' (BL catalogue). Confirmed by orthography.
Table of contentsff. 149r-154v, the medieval table lists, in the same hand as the rest of the MS, all the chapter rubrics and divides them into seven sections, A-G.
First words of second recto folio[f. 2r] zardan son frer vient deuant luí quí fu tout esbaíez de ce que Sadoc tíent /
First words of last recto folio[f. 154r] Come lambeguez se conbatoít a palamedes xxvj
Incipit[f. 1r] Sadoc víent cel part (et) regardoít contremont (et) contreual (et) auoít g(ra)und / 
Explicit[f. 154v] lxxxxij. Come trist(an) se fist liez qua(n)t il ot yselt troue : //


Material:Material object (4)
Condition:Good material condition. Vellum of varying thickness and not free from blemishes (curved corners to ff. 4 and 6, for example, and large holes in margin of f. 73).



1-198 2010 216?

Quire structure:The final quire (comprising 5 of the 6 folios of the table of contents) could not be examined closely because the MS is tightly bound. The presence of a bifolium signature (iii) on f. 152, however, and the lack of one on f. 153 suggests it may be a trinion.
Quire marks:MSQuiremarkDisposition object (79)
Catchword disposition:MSCatchwordDisposition object (12)

Physical description

General illustration:
General decoration:Chapters are marked by decorated initials (height: 4 lines) in blue ink, with flourishes and foliate champ detailing both in red. Smaller initials (height: 2 lines) mark the beginning of paragraphs.
Evidence of readership:Passages are marked by crosses in the inside margins of ff. 4v (lower) and 5r (upper).
Foliations description:One modern series of foliation in pencil in the upper right corner of the recto.

Mise en page

Description 1
Page sampledf. 4r
LayoutMSLayout object (3)
Page dimensions255x188 (mm)
Justification202x129 (mm)
0mm between columns
RubricationAll paragraphs are rubricated (either in the space left at the end of the previous paragraph, e.g. ‘Come Sadoc aloit chacier’, f. 1r; or at the end of the first line of the paragraph itself, e.g. ‘Com / le philosophe dit al roi la senefiance de son songe’, f. 3v). Each paragraph is also numbered in the outer margin, and these agree with the table at the end of the MS. The text is divided into books A-G, with the relevant letter in red as a running head on recto sides.
Writing above top line?False
Sample page layout:


Level of Execution:Execution object (4)
ScriptScript object (9)
Folio rangeFrom 1r to 154v
Date?1400 to 1450
Scribe description:Single-compartment 'a', looped ascenders as well as 'f' and long 's' descending below the line indicate cursiva. Circumflex dots to 'i'. Few abbreviations other than rho-form ampersand and upward terminal loop for 'er'. Occasional and unsystematic use of Latin 'us' abbreviation.


DescriptionHarley 49 in the collection of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, antiquarian, diarist and friend of Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. His library was sold by his grandson on 4th October 1705 to Robert Harley for £450. D'Ewes lived, acc. DNB, 1602- 1650.
Date?1602 to 1650
PlacePlace object (8)
OwnershipPerson object (45)
DescriptionAt the foot of f. 155 the autograph of Elizabeth of York. Accepted as evidence of ownership by Watson 1966. Wright 1972, 144 however notes that 'Somezetschyr' (partly effaced) written directly above signature in the same hand casts doubt on this. Ward 1883, I, 358 reads 'sans r....yr' rather than 'Somezetschyr'. Lived 1466-1503. Sutton 1997, 221 suggests that Richard III gave it to Elizabeth, perhaps before his accession.
Date?1480 to 1485
PlacePlace object (124)
OwnershipPerson object (33)
DescriptionAutograph of George Turberville f. 148v, where it is spelt 'Turbervyle'. Underneath is the distich 'A Turbervyle a monster is that loveth not his frend / or stoops to foes, or doth forget good turns and so fend'. Turberville's dates given acc. DNB 1543/4 to or after 1597. Wright 1972, 332 gives '1540 to ? 1610'.
Date?1543 to 1597
PlacePlace object (124)
OwnershipPerson object (44)
Descriptionf. 155 'Iste liber constat Ricardo Duci Gloucestre', suggesting that Harley 49 was in the possession of RIchard III before his accession to the throne in 1483. Richard was born in 1452. Tudor-Graig 1973, 66, 'This book was for the Duke to read himself. It was not even new when he owned it, and it may not have been complete in his day'.
Date?1452 to 1483
PlacePlace object (124)
OwnershipPerson object (43)