Search Type: And Or
Maker:   Place:   Material/Technique:  

Object Number:   Date Start:   BC AD   Date End:   BC AD

Enable Artists names look-up      Enable related terms look-up 
  Show results from People DB   Show results from Collection DB




Vita Sancti Gregorii papae


John the Deacon; author
; production
; production


Frank McClean


illuminated manuscript


other; type of text


circa 1200


Germany, c.1200 and Italy, Venice, probably Murano, c.1450


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, iii modern parchment flyleaves + 151 fols. + iii modern parchment flyleaves, 257 x 182 mm (193-199 x 127 mm), 24 long lines, ruled in brown ink, quire marks

BINDING: 1903, blind- and gold-stamped brown leather over wooden boards, by Joseph William Zaehnsdorf (name and date gold-stamped signed inside upper cover) , probably re-using the oak boards from the previous binding (cf. Phillipps sale catalogue of 1899), rust stains from fastening devices of earlier binding on fol. 1

fol. 2r Versus in laude sanctissimi Gregorii pape
fols. 2v–151v John the Deacon, Vita S. Gregorii papae, with Prologue and capitula
fol. 151v List of Gregory’s works (fifteenth-century addition)

ORNAMENTATION: Gold initials [6-14 ll.] with white vine-scroll terminating in flowers and fruit on blue grounds, sometimes combined with red, green and gold, for Prologue (fol. 2v) and books (fols. 4v, 23v, 54v, 94v); red penwork initials [1-2 ll.]; capitals highlighted in red.

Place (legacy):

Germany, production, region
Italy, region
Venice, place
Murano, place


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1904; McClean, Frank


At the Camaldolese Abbey of San Michele in Murano, Venice, by c.1450, as revealed by two partially erased ownership inscriptions: Iste liber est monasterii S. Michaelis de Muriano ordinis Camaldulensis [et] diocesis Torcellane (fols. 1v and 151v); at San Michele in Murano at least until 1779 (listed in Mittarelli 1779, cols. 472-473, as [Gregorius], Vita scripta a Johanne Diacono, codex speciosissimus in folio sec. xiii num. 704, and dated to the thirteenth century); probably sold with the main part of the San Michele library after 1810; French owner or dealer (inscription ‘150 feuillets’ on fol. 1r); Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), his MS 4559 (number on fol. 1r); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 5-10 June 1899, lot 654; Frank McClean (1837–1904); his bequest, 1904.


McClean, Frank; previous owner
Phillipps, Thomas, Sir; previous owner
Camaldolese Abbey of San Michele; original owner


While the text and its penwork decoration point to Germany c.1200, the spaces left blank at the beginning of the Prologue and the four books were only filled in with gold and white vine-scroll initials in Venice c.1450. It was probably at that time that the list of Gregory’s works was added on fol. 151v.


secundo folio; fol. 3r; ac publicavit auctoritas


Illuminated Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum. 1966 - 1966
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.)
Catalogue number: 90

Splendours of Italian Illumination. 1989 - 1990
Organiser: Alexander, J. J. G.
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Catalogue number: 52


Wormald, Francis. Giles, Phyllis M.. 1966. Illuminated Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.):
cat. no. 90

James, Montague Rhodes, Dr. 1912. A descriptive catalogue of the McClean Collection of Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press
pp. 242-43, pl. LXX

Mittarelli, G. B.. Ceruti, Giacinto. 1779. Bibliotheca codicum manuscriptorum Monasterii s. Michaelis Venetiarum prope Murianum una cum appendice librorum impressorum seculi XV / opus posthumum Johannis-Benedicti Mittarelli etc., ed. by Giacinto Ceruti..Venice:
cols. 472 – 73, no. 704


Object Number: MS McClean 110
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 179016; input: 2010-12-15; modified: 2012-08-28)


Click image for a full size display