Guide To Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library


HM 60

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EPITRES D’OVIDE, trans. Octavien de Saint Gelais
France, s. XV/XVI
ff. 1-130v: [f. 1, Frontispiece:] Les XXI Epistres des Dames illustres traduicttes d’Ovide par le Reverend Pere en Dieu Monseigneur l’Evesque de Angoulesme [f. 1v, blank; f. 2, Argument:] Argumens sur les xxi Epistres d’Ovide contenuz en ce present Livre, La premiere est de Penelope a Ulysses, La guerre de Grece estant meue pour aller contre la Troye a cause du ravissement d’heleine…que quand la toille aschevee seroit elle se remarieroit. Or est-il que de nuict elle defaisoit tout ce qu’elle avoit faict et tissu de jour. Pour tout cela Lycophoros autheur ancien a mal senti de la chastete de Penelope contre l’opinion commune. [f. 3, Text:] Cy commence la premiere espitre d’ovide de pennelope a ulixes, Puys que tu es du Retour paresseux/ O ulixes de cueur trop angoisseux…Et a phaon a present t’en iras/ Lequel du tout en brief advertiras. Cy finist l’espitre de sapho a phaon. Ces espitres d’ovide ont este translatees de latin en francoys par Reverend pere en dieu Monseigneur d’Engouleme par luy. [followed by an erasure; f. 131r-v, ruled, but blank]
Several early editions; this manuscript lacks the dedication letter to Charles VIII occurring, for example, in the 1528 Paris edition. For other copies of this text, see P. Durrieu and J. J. Marquet de Vasselot, “Les manuscrits à miniatures des Héroïdes d’Ovide traduits par Saint-Gelais et un grand miniaturiste français du XVIe siècle,” L’Artiste 7 (1894) 331-47 and 433-53; R. H. Lucas, “Mediaeval French Translations of the Latin Classics to 1500,” Speculum 45 (1970) 225-53, esp. 244.
Parchment, ff. iii (paper) + ii (parchment) + 131 + ii (parchment) + iii (paper); 243 × 167 (180 × 80) mm. 12 2-48 56(text complete) 6-178 184(-4); catchwords written lightly in a small noting script in the inner margin of the second leaf verso of each quire (in quire 5, on first leaf). 36 lines of verse, ruled in pale red ink. Written in bâtarde; f. 2r-v, “argumens” in a later, more stylized bâtarde. Twenty-one miniatures, 24-line, within a patterned color and gold frame border, attributed to Robinet Testard1 but with faces and hands heavily repainted in the eighteenth century; the miniatures usually depict the writers, 3/4 length, dressed in handsome brocade robes, as they compose their letters, standing against simple architectural backgrounds; the miniatures are: f. 3, Penelope; f. 7, Phyllis; f. 11v, Briseis; f. 17, Phaedra, examining the point of her pen; f. 23v, Oenone, with a grassy lawn visible behind her; f. 30, Hypsipyle; f. 35v, Dido; f. 42, Hermione, holding her pen knife; f. 46, Deianira (has been suggested to represent Anne of Brittany); f. 52, Ariadne, seated, crying, at the edge of the water; f. 57, Canace, stabbing herself; f. 62, Medea; f. 69v, Laodamia; f. 75v, Hypermnestra in prison (little or no repainting); f. 80, Paris; f. 88v, Helen; f. 97, Leander, seated on the bank of the Bosphorus, removing his shoes; f. 105, Hero standing on a parapet; f. 112, Acontius (has been suggested to represent Louis XII); f. 118v, Cydippe, standing, her arms crossed; f. 123, Sappho. Opening initial, f. 3, 4-line in faceted painted gold on a square colored ground; other initials, 2-line, in painted gold on colored grounds: blue and red, or brick red, or black; rubrics in pale red. The frontispiece, f. 1, contains a blue medallion with a profile of Ovid, set in a gold architectural frame, with a cartouche bearing the inscription in red ink. On f. 2, 2 KL monograms on blue and red grounds cut from a book of hours have been pasted in (the top one upside down) to serve as the initials “L.” Bound, s. XVIII, in Dutch red morocco, gold tooled; gilt edges. Written in France at the turn of the fifteenth century. Belonged to Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736); his sale, Amsterdam, 6 September 1735 with the catalogue entry reprinted by F. L. Hoffmann, “Handschriften welche in Katalogen öffentlich verkaufter Bibliotheken verzeichnet sind,” Serapeum 19 (1858) 194-98, especially p. 197. Guglielmo Libri (1803-1869) sale, Sotheby’s, 25 July 1862, lot 429 to Edwin Henry Lawrence; his sale, Sotheby’s, 9 May 1892, lot 484 to Quaritch. Robert Hoe collection: Bierstadt (1895) pp. 16-18 with plates of ff. 112 and 123; Cat. (1909) pp. 153-55; his sale, Anderson, New York, 1911, pt. I, n. 2168 with a plate of f. 112 to G. D. Smith; sold in 1918 to Henry E. Huntington.
Secundo folio: [f. 4] Et que son sang
Bibliography: De Ricci, 47.
Notes
1 We thank Mme Nicole Reynaud for this attribution.

Abbreviations
Hoe: Bierstadt (1895)
O. A. Bierstadt, The Library of Robert Hoe: a Contribution to the History of Bibliophilism in America (New York 1895)
Hoe: Cat. (1909)
[C. Shipman], A Catalogue of Manuscripts Forming a Portion of the Library of Robert Hoe (New York 1909)
De Ricci
S. De Ricci, with the assistance of W. H. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York 1935-37; index 1940)

C. W. Dutschke with the assistance of R. H. Rouse et al., Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Huntington Library (San Marino, 1989). Copyright 1989.
Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California.
Electronic version encoded by Sharon K, Goetz, 2003.
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