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Henry of Huntingdon's Historia Anglorum


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Produced in the early thirteenth century, this manuscript is an important textual witness to the Historia Anglorum, the History of the English People, by Henry, archdeacon of Huntingdon. The first version of Henry of Huntingdons text had a terminal date of 1129, though there were four more updates containing events through 1135, 1138, 1148, and 1154. Walters W.793 represents the fourth version, covering the events from Britains first leaders up to 1148, in which the number of books was increased from eight to ten and three letters by the author were added. The text contains several colored foliate initials, though it is especially notable for its line drawing of King Stephen (d. 1154), grandson of William the Conqueror, and his earls before the Battle of Lincoln on February 2, 1141 (fol. 105r). It is closely related to British Library, Arundel Ms. 48, which is believed to have been the model from which Walters W.793 was copied. Both copies may have been based on a prototype extant during the lifetime of Henry of Blois (d. 1171). Of the approximately three dozen surviving manuscript copies of the Historia Anglorum, only eight predate W.793. It and Arundel 48 are the only known illustrated exemplars.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
5/18/1980Examinationexamined for condition
11/19/1982Examinationexamined for loan
Exhibitions
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Royalty in Medieval Miniatures. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1992.
  • Manuscript Sleuthing: Discoveries of a Curator. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
  • Medieval Matters: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, and The Library of Mr. Harry A. Walton. Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar. 1997.
Provenance Thomas Dakcomb, 16th century [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; 2nd Earl Grosvenor and first Marquis of Westminster (probably Robert Grosvenor), by 1812 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Sotheby Sale, July 11, 1966, lot 227; Major John Roland Abbey, England [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sotheby's Sale, June 20, 1978, lot 2978; Walters Art Museum, 1978, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase with funds from the Dorothy Miner Memorial purchase fund, 1978

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Period
1st half 13th century (Gothic)
Medium
ink and pigments on medium-weight parchment bound between wooden boards covered with brown velvet decorated with brown morocco, embossed silver, embroidered silk, and pierced sheet-silver
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
W.793
Measurements
Folio H: 11 5/16 × W: 7 7/8 in. (28.8 × 20 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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