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Compilation of Aristotle’s works

Maker(s) &

, production, Italy, North-Eastern Italy


illuminated manuscript


other; type of text


circa 1300
with later additions (A) and second half of the fifteenth century (B)


early 14th Century


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment and paper, i modern paper flyleaf + 56 parchment fols. (A, leaves excised after fols. 36 and 56) + 30 paper fols. (B) + i modern paper flyleaf, leaves lost after fols. 36 and 56

A 330 x 234 mm (215 x 150 mm), two columns of 52-53 lines on fols. 1r-36v, 37v-56v) and 43 long lines on fols. 37r-47v, ruled in brown ink and plummet, catchwords

B 335 x 234 mm (210 x 143 mm), two columns, 44 lines, ruled in hard point, catchwords

BINDING: Fifteenth century, wooden boards with leather back, chiseling and nail-holes for two clasps on upper cover, remains of early paper title label on lower cover (Testus aristotelis) and number 127 in red on lower cover, repaired by Robert Proctor, 1989.

SCRIPT: A: Gothic bookhand (textualis); B: Humanistic cursive

A: fols. 1r-8v Aristotle, Analytica posteriora (continued on fol. 56r)
fols. 9r-11r Porphyry, Isagoge to Aristotle, Categories
fols. 11v-15v Aristotle, Predicamenta in translation of Boethius
fols. 15v-18r Aristotle, Periermenias in translation of Boethius
fols. 18v-20v Gilbert of Poitiers, Liber de sex principibus
fols. 21r-36v Aristotle, Topica (versio communis, ends incomplete)
fols. 37r-53r Aristotle, Analytica priora, versio communis
fols. 56r-55r Aristotle, end of Analytica posteriora (continued from fol. 8v)
fol. 55v Aristotle De sophisticis elenchis (versio communis)

B: fols. 57r-86r Boethius, Commentary on Aristotle, Categories (ends incomplete)

A: Historiated initial with L-shaped border of painted staves and elongated acanthus, with roundels housing pseudo-Kufic script and foliate motifs: fol. 9r [C, 12 ll.] Author-portrait of Aristotle(?) in a hooded blue gown holding a red book, on a square blue ground.

Small framed miniature [9 ll.] accompanied by a similar L-shaped border (partially excised): fol. 1r Analytica posteriora, Author-portrait of Aristotle in academic dress.

Three small framed miniatures on rectangular blue grounds without borders: fol. 11v Predicamenta, Half-length portrait of the Virgin and Child [12 ll.]; fol. 15v Periermenias, Half-length author-portrait [10 ll.]; fol. 18v Liber de sex principibus, Half-length author-portrait [9 ll.].

Diagram in brown ink of the Tree of Porphyry (fol. 9v); small ink drawing of a head in upper margin of fol. 9r.

A: Graded pink initial [P, 10 ll.] on a square blue ground with painted acanthus motifs, accompanied by an L-shaped border of painted staves and elongated acanthus, and a corner roundel housing pseudo-Kufic script for the beginning of Topica (fol. 21r); four grey initials [4 ll.] on blue grounds with painted acanthus motifs, adjacent to the miniatures at the start of texts (fols. 1r, 11v, 15v, 18v); red and blue parted initial [D, 7 ll.] with elaborate pen flourishing using voided foliate motifs in red with blue finials, extending to form a short border, for the beginning of Sophisticis elenchis (fol. 55v); alternate blue and red initials [2-3 ll.] with red or turquoise pen flourishing; alternate blue and red paraph marks with subsequent letter highlighted in red; the opening lines of text adjacent to the ornamental initials have minor pen flourishing in brown ink; catchwords surrounded by similar pen flourishing.

Later addition: Space left blank for initial [10 ll.] at the beginning of Aristotle, Analytica priora (fol. 37r); spaces left blank for initials [2 ll.] in blue with red pen flourishing, executed on fol. 37r only.

B: Space left blank for initial [8 ll.] at the beginning of Boethius’ commentary on Aristotle’s Categories (fol. 57r); spaces left blank for initials [2 ll.] at lesser text divisions.


illumination; whole


parchment; support
paper; support
gold; medium
ink; medium


height, page (A), 330, mm
width, page (A), 234, mm
height, text (A), 215, mm
width, text (A), 150, mm
height, page (B), 335, mm
width, page (B), 234, mm
height, text (B), 210, mm
width, text (B), 143, mm


bought; 1898; Weaver, H. Baillie


Erased early ownership inscription (fol. 55v: Iste liber …); parts A and B brought together in Italy (notes in Italian on fol. 56v, 56 Carte pecorine, and fol. 86v, 30 carte bombag.e); Guglielmo Libri (1803-1869); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 28 March 1859, lot 75; bought by Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), his MS 16237, note by T. Fitzroy Fenwick dated 1891 on fol. 86v; H. Baillie Weaver; purchased for the Museum at his sale, Maggs Bros., London, 1898, no. 135.


Weaver, H. Baillie; previous owner
Phillipps, Thomas, Sir; previous owner
Libri, Guglielmo; previous owner


secundo folio; fol. 2r; hunc autem duobus
secundo folio; fol. 10r; ergo alie quedam


Wormald, F. and Giles, P. M.. 1982. A descriptive catalogue of the additional illuminated manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): p. 176-77

Lacombe, G.. 1955. Aristoteles Latinus. Pars Prior.Bruges:
p. 1248 (Aristoteles Latinus, no. 1906)

Morgan, Nigel. Panayotova, Stella. Reynolds, Suzanne. 2011. A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part Two. Vols. 1-2: Italy and the Iberian Peninsula.London: Harvey Miller Publishers
cat. no. 28


Object Number: MS 252
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 176702; input: 2010-06-09; modified: 2017-04-10)


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