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St Paul, Epistles with gloss

Maker(s) &

, production, Lombardy, Morimondo, Cistercian Abbey of Morimondo, .


Frank McClean


illuminated manuscript


other; type of text


circa 1150


mid 12th century


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i modern paper flyleaf + 236 fols. + i modern paper flyleaf, 272 x 176-180 mm (172 x 55 mm, extending to 150 mm on pages with glosses in both margins), one column, 44 lines (written on every third ruled line to accommodate interlinear glosses), ruled in plummet with ruling for glosses in inner and outer margins as required, running headers, catchwords

BINDING: Eighteenth century, blind-tooled brown leather over wooden boards

CONTENTS: fols. 1r-236r St Paul, Epistles with interlinear and marginal glosses

DECORATION: Historiated initial [P, 12 ll.] in liquid gold with inset sections of red and blue foliate motifs on unpainted grounds, on a ground of solid blue, with bowl of letter housing half-length portrait of St Paul, nimbed, holding a scroll, stave of letter extending the height of the written space (fol. 1r).

ORNAMENTATION: Twelve initials in yellow with inset sections of red and blue foliate motifs on grounds of solid blue and green, often extending the height of the written space, with white vine-scroll touched with red in the bowl of the letter, for major text divisions: fols. 45v, 88v, 117v (with bird on whine scroll), 132r, 146v, 157r, 166v, 175v (bird finials to letter stem), 180r (bird finials to letter stem), 191r, 198v, 203r; yellow and red initial [M] on ground of solid blue and unpainted foliate interlace with pale washes of red or yellow (fol. 205r); red initials [1-2 ll.], some using foliate forms and occasional minor red pen flourishing, for minor text divisions; brown ink one-line initials with red paraph marks for lesser text divisions; the text following major initials is written in red and blue display capitals (fols. 1r, 205r) or in brown display capitals highlighted with yellow; gloss sections are marked by brown ink paraph marks, decorated with increasingly elaborate geometric motifs.


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1904; McClean, Frank


Written and illuminated at the Cistercian Abbey of Morimondo (no. 37 in the twelfth-century library inventory; Leclercq 1961, 179); still in Morimondo in the fifteenth-century when an ownership inscription was added on fol. 236v: Liber sancte Marie de morimondo ordinis cisterc. Mediolanensis dioces. No Lvii Lvi (erased and replaced with XXXVI in darker ink; Ferrari 1980, 264; similar ex-libris in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Canon. Pat. Lat. 214; Pächt and Alexander 1970, no. 50); possibly part of the collection of Francesco Giovio (1796-1873) (Ferrari 1993, 286 and 299); U. Hoepli, Milan, catalogue no. 83 (1883), no. 46 (cutting from catalogue pasted inside upper cover); bought from him by Frank McClean (1837-1904) in 1892 (James 1912a, 52); his bequest, 1904.


McClean, Frank; previous owner
Hoepli, U.; previous owner
Giovio, Francesco; previous owner
Cistercian Abbey of Morimondo; original owner


The Cistercian abbey of Morimondo in the diocese of Milan was founded in 1134 (its parent house was Morimond in Lorraine), and from the start, it seems to have had an important scriptorium, whose scribes and illuminators worked in a style strongly indebted to their French, Cistercian origins (Natale 1958, 253-259; Ferrari 1980, 242). The dispersal of the Mormindo library has been admirably traced by Ferrari (1993, 286-290). A group of twelve illuminated manuscripts securely localisable to Morimondo are preserved in the Seminario Maggiore of Como (Leclercq 1951; Leclercq 1956b; Ferrari 1980, nos. 25-36), but the illumination in this manuscript is particularly close to a twelfth-century Lectionary from Morimondo not known to Ferrari (Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale, MS IV 266; Brussels 1990, no. 55). An inventory of the library was taken in the late twelfth century (now Cambridge, Mass., Harvard College Library, Houghton Library, fMS Typ 223, olim Philip Hofer 5), and Fitzwilliam McClean 29 can be identified with one of the two copies of the glossed Pauline Epistles listed there (Leclerq 1961, 179, no. 37: Epistole pauli duo volumina glosata). A contemporary glossing hand used red ink to signal the feasts on which certain sections of the text should be read, and the text in its entirety is divided into lectiones by marginal notes in brown ink, in the same hand as the title at the top of fol. 1r: Incipit Epistola sancti Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos. These are possibly thirteenth-century additions. Several other manuscripts which Frank McClean purchased from Hoepli’s 1883 catalogue were produced at Morimondo: Fitzwilliam Museum, MSS McClean 8, McClean 58, McClean 113, McClean 116 and McClean 117 (Ferrari 1980, nos. 15, 17, 18, 19-20; Ferrari 1993, 299; cat. 10, 15, 12, 13, 14). All will feature in a digital reconstruction of the medieval library being undertaken by Ernesto S. Mainoldi (Bibliotheca Morimundi, Fondazione Franceschini, Florence 2004 onwards).


secundo folio; seruio in spiritu meo


Illuminated Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum: An Exhibition to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Death of the Founder, Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion. 1966 - 1966
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Catalogue number: 18

Splendours of Italian Illumination: Romanesque - Gothic - Renaissance. 1989 - 1990
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Notes: unpublished handlist of an exhibition held in the Adeane gallery, October 1989 - February 1990
Catalogue number: 1



Object Number: MS McClean 29
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 177344; input: 2010-07-16; modified: 2014-01-10)


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