English MS 98
Mirror of the Life of Christ, mid 15th century
Size: 300 x 200 mm. ii + 140 + ii folios.
A fine illuminated manuscript of Nicholas Love's Myrrour of the Blessed Lyf of Jesu Christ, a translation of Pseudo-Bonaventura's Meditationes Vitae Christi.
The Meditationes Vitae Christi, or Meditations on the Life of Christ, was believed to have been written by the 13th-century Franciscan John Bonaventura, but more recent scholarship has now attributed it to a little-known 14th-century Italian Franciscan, Johannes de Caulibus. A devotional life of Christ, intended to be used for meditation, the original work was immensely popular all over Europe and was translated into the vernacular of most European countries.
There are good 5-line initials in blue and pink with white penwork on a burnished gold ground with elaborate floral infill and elaborate foliate border extensions terminating in acanthus, ivy and holly leaves and bezants, at the beginning of the sections for Tuesday (f. 26r), Wednesday (f. 37v) and Thursday (f. 56r). Numerous 3-line gilded initials on blue and pink grounds with foliate extensions.
Blank spaces on ff. 137-8 were used to record births in the Roberts family of Willesden, Middlesex, and the Horde family of Ewell, Surrey, in the 16th century. The manuscript was owned by a Robert Knyvett in the 17th century, and Thomas William Evans in the 19th.
- Catalogue entry for English MS 98
- Conservation report