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Boccaccio's
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Boccaccio's "De Casibus Virorum Illustrium"


Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This manuscript contains Jean (also known as Johannes) Lamelin's abridged French translation of Giovanni Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium (On the Fates of Famous Men). The contents, including the colophon, are very closely related to the autograph work of 1431 by Lamelin (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, 3880), which is the only other known copy of this text, and it is likely that the Walters manuscript was directly copied from Lamelin's original work. The original date of 1431 has been copied in this manuscript's colophon, which long led to the assumption that the Walters manuscript was produced at that time. However, four fanciful inhabited initials are an element unique to this copy, and they help localize and date the manuscript. The style of the drawings is related to that of the Wavrin Master, an artist active in Lille in the third quarter of the fifteenth century, suggesting Lille as a place of production, and the fashionable clothing worn by the figures can be dated to 1465-1475. Watermarks in the paper likewise date the book to ca. 1470.
Exhibitions
  • Medieval Writing and Calligraphy. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1993-1994.
Provenance Monastic ownership, by 1556 [1]. Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Barrois, Lille, France, by 1849 [2]; purchased by Bertram, fourth earl of Ashburnham, 1849; Ashburnham Sale, Sotheby's, London, June 10 1901, no. 65 [3]; purchased by Julius D. Ichenhauser, London, 1901. Purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, early 20th century [4]; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] Inscription in top margin of fol. 3r reads: Ffrater Johannes de muer monachus sancti Andree me habet 1556 [2] His manuscript number, 501, on spine, and also in pencil on front pastedown, along with inscription "Cor Sub (?) Sept 1849/old worm holes" [3] Notation on front pastedown [4] Likely purchased directly from Ichenhauser
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters before 1931

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Creators
Period
ca. 1470
Medium
ink and pigments on paper bound between card covered with dark blue paper
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.314
Measurements
Folio H: 11 × W: 8 1/4 in. (27.9 × 20.9 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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