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Manuscript Description
London, British Library MS Harley 3490
Title:Confessio Amantis
Contents:Gower, Confessio Amantis, ff8-215v; ff1-6v, Speculum Religiosorum by Edmund of Cantuar' (Canterbury?) in 30 chapters; table of chapters f1ra-rb, text f1rb-6vb, ends explicit.
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:1 newer paper flyleaf + parchment 1-215 + 1 newer paper flyleaf.
Pagination:Modern pencil upper outer corners recto foliating.
Signatures:Rare survival of signatures, eg partly cut off in extreme lower outer corner of f153, survives ff 176-179, 'y' plus numbers j through iiij.
Catchwords:Smaller than text, at lower edge of leaf and running into gutter, eg f111v, 119v.
Page Size:363 x 250
Frame:4 x vertical for the two columns; 2 x horizontal above and below text; ruled inside columns.
Writing Space:263 x 178 in two columns c. 80 each
Incipits and Explicits:'Confessor' and 'Amans' in bolder black ink used for explicits etc. but preceded by alternating red or blue paraphs.
Marginal Headings:Latin prose portions in black ink but red underlined.'Confessor' and 'Amans' in margins preceded by blue paraphs and underlined in red.
Running Titles:Running titles throughout on both recto and verso, 'L' for 'liber' on verso and a roman numeral on right for book number, all in blue with red penwork around.
Table of Contents:'Iohn Gower' in 16th? or 17th? c. hand top left margin of f8.
Borders:Bar border on left side in blue, green, pink, gold and these colours, and very fine sprays along top and bottom margins; ff 8,11 have coats of arms (different) worked into sprays in lower margins. On f8 a blue ground with three gold birds (eagles?) facing toward left, two above and one below. On f11 more complex decoration. On f33 a burnished coppery gold ground with blue lion rampant wearing a gold crown. On f54 a burnished coppery gold ground with bright red bar dividing horizontally, with 2 bright red crescents above and a green horn below, etc. Each one different except f161v repeats the arms of f8 and f196v repeats those on f11.
Illuminated Initials:ff8, 11, 33, 54, 71, 94v, 146, 161v, and 196v have 3- or 4-line illuminated initials: letter in blue or pink with white highlighting on a gold ground, foliage patterns inside in green, pink and blue.
Paragraph Marks:Alternating red and blue paraphs.
Flourished Initials:2-line blue lombard initials with red penwork forming square around and foliage pattern within letter.
Other Names (not owners):On f98r in upper margin in 15-16 c hand, bold, NOT scribe's 'O dames remorce'.
Miscellaneous Info:Corrections, lines erased, lines to insert added at bottom of page with letter to indicate where to insert. Note scribe usually puts a dark punctus at end of each line of text'as Cornhill does. All one hand, though very small and tight and neat at first and becoming slightly less small and neat within first 30 leaves. 17th c. hand adds bottom margin f215v: 'Chaucer by writinge purchas'd fame And Gower gatt a worthy name Sweet Surrey suck't pernassus springs And wiatt wrote of woundrous things'.
Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, King's Manor, York YO1 7EP