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    Sale 7590

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    4 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 11

    GENEALOGICAL CHRONICLE OF THE KINGS OF ENGLAND TO RICHARD II, in Latin, MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

    Price Realised  

    GENEALOGICAL CHRONICLE OF THE KINGS OF ENGLAND TO RICHARD II, in Latin, MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

    [?London, c.1377]
    1400 x 135mm. 3 membranes, written in brown ink in an anglicana hand, some initial letters with decorative pen strokes, 102 roundels (2 blank), of which 27 surmounted with crowns or caps, mounted at foot on a wooden baton (occasional marginal staining, affecting text in three places on first membrane).

    PROVENANCE:

    1. The text of the document suggests it was made shortly after the coronation of Richard II in 1377, with which it concludes.

    2. 19th-century annotation to verso 'Genealogies of the Kings of England, MS 1380'

    3. 20th-century pencil numbering, 'RT42'

    CONTENT:

    Genealogical Chronicle of the Kings of England, from Alfred the Great to Richard II, opening 'Iste Alfredus rex fuit Westsexie om[nium] an[te]cessor[um] emine[n]tissim[us] & p[ro]tomonarcha totius Anglie' and ending 'Iste Ricard[us] coronat[us] anno etatis sue undeci[m]o & gr[ati]e 1377, 17 k[a]l[endarum] Aug[us]ti'.

    This attractively straightforward royal genealogy eschews the mythical ancestry often found in such scrolls, which typically took the foundation of the royal line back to Brutus, and instead begins with Alfred the Great, the 'first monarch [protomonarcha] of all England', giving the date of his coronation in 871. A few sentences summarise the achievements of each reign (for example Athelstan 'founded many monasteries and forced the king of the Welsh and the king of the Scots to submit to him'; Edgar Pacificus 'built three thousand six hundred ships around England for the defence of the realm'), together with such essential details as age at accession, length of reign, marriages and offspring. A lengthy paragraph traces the ancestry of Matilda, consort of Henry I, to her great-grandfather, Edmund Ironside -- no doubt because this linked the Plantagenet line and the Saxon kings. The precision with which the date of Richard II's coronation is given (16 July 1377) and the absence of any further information about his reign would support a date for the scroll within a few years of this.


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