ST AMBROSE. Hexameron, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern Netherlands], 1488
327 x 218mm. 56 leaves: 1-78, modern pencilled foliation, horizontal catchwords in lower right corner on last versos (cropped except for ff.24v, 48v), traces of contemporary signature marks in lower right corner on rectos in first half of each quire, two columns of 39-40 lines written in black or dark brown ink in a single Dutch gothic bookhand within four verticals ruled in blind and 41 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 228 x 151mm, chapter headings in red, two-line initials alternately of red and blue, faint plummet markings 'r' and 'b' in margins to indicate color, text capitals touched red, five calligraphic initials (5-7 lines) divided red and blue and filled with pen-work in red, green, purple and yellow, with pen-flourished borders in purple or red extending the height of the column, one large initial (8 lines) in light blue on a gold ground, enclosing a red, pink and green floral ornament, accompanied by a delicate border of scrolling black pen-work with gold dots and red, pink and green flowers running the height of the column, a few contemporary corrections in margins (faint dampstain to around 15 leaves, trace of index tab to margin of f.1). Red pigskin signed by Katharine Adams, gilt-lettered spine, vellum doublures and flyleaves (minor wear).
1. Copied in the northern Netherlands by Brother Petrus Arnoldi, who completed the work on 30 April 1488: colophon, f.55v. The same scribe also copied and signed a manuscript of Jerome, Super evangelium Missus est angelus Gabriel, completed on 1 June 1493 (Brussels, BR, Ms IV.1163; Manuscrits datés conservés en Belgique, v, 653).
2. Wilfred Merton, Richmond, Surrey, Ms 20: partially erased 20th-century inscription on front flyleaf; bound for him in 1914 by Katharine Adams, and described in her records for that year
3. Pencilled number '237' in a circle, pencilled note 'List 1.A.10', pencilled shelfmark 'I.h.9' on back flyleaf
Hexameron (CPL 123; PL xiv, 123-274) ff.1-55v. This commentary on the Old Testament narrative of Creation was one of the most influential works by St Ambrose of Milan (c.340-397), one of the four Doctors of the Latin Church.