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Manuscript Description
USA, New York, NY, Pierpont Morgan Library & Museum MS M 126
Title:Confessio Amantis
Contents:Gower, Confessio Amantis, Version A, ff1ra-204va
Language:English and Latin
Date Range:1450-1475
Scribal Hands:
Examples of the hand. Click on the link above for full details and images of individual letter forms.

Dialect:County; Gowerian/colourless
No of Folios:213 leaves; 7 unnumbered paper flyleaves at front of varying age, 212v is blank and dirty, 213 an older paper flyleaf and 2 further old, 4 further new paper flyleaves at back.
Pagination:Modern pencil, two sets of numbering in arabic numerals, first probably 19th c. with 'fol' preceding each, second from f143 onwards probably 20th c. under it without crossing through: original had numbered two leaves '140' and wrote a heavy '1' over the '0' on first, changed a '1' to a '2' on the second and started writing out in full under at '143' which was old '142'.
Signatures:Signatures survive in usual place, eg ff144-147 of new numbering are Tj through Tiiij: upper case letter plus romans.
Catchwords:By scribe in lower margin last leaf verso of each quire, almost running up to right frame line under second column, in black ink and without embellishment.
Page Size:437 x 320
Frame:4 x vertical enclosing columns + 4 x horizontal enclosing top and bottom lines, ruled within columns, fine red-purple ink, pricking survives top, bottom and outer edges of leaves.
Writing Space:304 x 203 in 2 columns 93 + 19 + 91
Incipits and Explicits:See colophon under 'Other names'.
Index:Elaborate alphabetical index at end, ff207r-212rb, with headings to help user find the story or advice he was looking for, eg 'A kyng that putte .iij. questions to a knyght to assoyle them vpon peyne of his liff Cao xxxii'.
Marginal Headings:Rubric headings by scribe, with one-line blue initials.
Borders:On f1r a full border with red roses of Lancaster; gold initials on blue and red gounds with white highlighting, sprays of green, pink, red, blue, and gold foliage and flowers in demarcated rectangular blocks in left margins and extending above line of text or below line of text in these margins.
Miniatures:79 miniatures with people or scenes illustrating the text; a further 12 miniatures illustrating signs of the zodiac, and 15 small miniatures illustrating the stars; some miniatures have been cut out but then restored to the volume.
Flourished Initials:Alternating one-line blue with red flourishing or gold with marine blue highlighting at changes of speakers; extensive decoration to very high ascenders in top line of each column including strapwork and scrolls entwined on the stalks, eg f103va 'Viue le roy' ascending on the scroll and on f104rb 'Aue maria gratia' ascending the scroll.
Other Names (not owners):Colophon on f204r: 'Explicit iste liber qui transeat obsecro liber / Vt sine linore vigeat lectoris in ore / Qui dedet in scannis celi det ut ista Johannis / Perpetuis Annis stet pagina grata britannis / Derbie comiti recolunt quem laude periti / Vade liber purus sub eo requiesce futurus', Gower's dedication to Henry IV before 1399; continues the usual Latin ending to the poem after this until f204va with 'Dei gracias' in large rubric lettering at end. 'Unknown original owner; on f78r: Grace? Seyton made thys (15th-16th century); in 1693 owned by Sir Richard Mauleverer (d. 1713) of Allerton Mauleverer, York (inscription on first leaf); ca. 1700 in the library of Peter le Neve (1661-1729); then to his executor, Thomas Martin (1697-1771) who married Frances, le Neve's widow ca. 1732; purchased by Thomas Worth, chemist, ca. 1771; purchased by Briggs Fountaine of Narford, Norfolk before 1777 (signature on last leaf); Fountaine Collection (Catalogue 1777, no. 37); Fountaine sale (London, Sotheby's, July 12, 1902, no. 378) to Quaritch; purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) from Quaritch in 1903. Thomas Worth cut out 9 of the miniatures and sold them to Sir John Fenn (1739-1794); Arthur Frere; his sale (London, Sotheby's, Dec. 14, 1926, no. 379) to Maggs; purchased by J.P. Morgan (1867-1943) from Maggs in 1927 and restored to M.126 (on ff26v, 54v, 65r, 122r, 141r, 143v, 165v, 169r, and 171A). Four other miniatures were excised at an unknown time and restored (on ff146r, 172r, 173r, and 187v).' On-line Corsair description of the MS,,8&SEQ=20100830110038&Search%5FArg=confessio%20amantis&Search%5FCode=GKEY%5E&CNT=20&PID=ixc4BBQTvgXmpUQgY0d4H6CtJF&SID=3
Further Information:PML catalogue, on line as noted below.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP