BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
GENERAL COLLECTION OF RARE BOOKS AND
Marston MS 35 Ferrara, ca. 1460-75
Biondo Flavio, Italia Illustrata
ff. 1r-149r [Dedication:] Sanctissimo .Domino. Nostro. Domino
Nicolao. Q. Summo Pontifici Blondus Flavius Forliviensis. Cum
multi historiam beatissime pater uariis extollant celebrentque
sententiis...[text, f. 2r:] Blondi Flavii Forliviensis Italie
Illustrate liber incipit felicissime. Italiam describere exorsi
prouinciarum orbis primariam a laudibus suis incipere debuimus...
Superius Fortorii amnis fonti Monsfalco castellum est proximum.
f. 149v blank
Biondo Flavio, Italia Illustrata with the dedicatory preface
to Pope Nicolas V (d. 1455); edited by Biondo's son Gaspare for
the editio princeps (Rome, Johannes Philippus de Lignamine, 1474;
GKW, v. 4, no. 4421). Marston MS 35 is a copy of the early
B-version of the text; it contains the dedication, a number of
additions later expunged, and some additions contained in the
revised E-version of the text. See J. A. White, "Towards a
Critical Edition of Biondo Flavio's 'Italia Illustrata': A Survey
and an Evaluation of the MSS," Umanesimo a Roma nel Quattrocento,
ed. P. Brezzi and M. De Panizza Lorch (Citta di Castello, 1984)
pp. 267-93 (Marston MS 35: pp. 283-84).
Parchment, ff. ii (paper) + 149 + ii (paper), 310 x 225
(180 x 130) mm. Single vertical bounding lines, full length.
Additional rulings in upper margin for running titles and in outer
margin for rubrics. Ruled in pale brown ink. Prickings in upper
and lower margins.
I-XIV 10, XV 10 (-10). Horizontal catchwords in lower margin
between inner bounding lines and gutter, verso (Derolez 12.4).
Vertical catchwords on inner vertical bounding line (f. 110v and
Written in fine humanistic bookhand, below top line, by a single
scribe who also wrote the running titles (epigraphic majuscules) and
marginalia, in red.
Elaborately illuminated title page with historiated initial,
10-line, mauve with silver filigree against gold ground, edged in
black, with a portrait of the author, seated and holding a book,
against a hilly landscape and blue sky. Partial border of white
vine-stem ornament against a predominantly gold ground with blue,
green, and red patches with white and pale yellow dots in inner and
upper margins, terminating in dense penwork scrolls with gold dots.
In outer and lower margin, border of stylized flowers and foliage in
red, purple, green, and blue, surrounded by dense penwork scrolls
punctuated by gold dots (cf. Oxford, Bod. Lib. MS Canon. Pal.
Lat. 164; Paecht and Alexander, v. 2, no. 431, pl. XLII). The style
of the penwork decoration is similar to that of Evangelista da Reggio,
active in Ferrara from 1477-94 (see Abbey Manuscripts, pp. 137-39,
pls. LXI, b; LXII; LXIII). In center of lower margin, wreathed
medallion with unidentified arms (or a two-headed eagle displayed,
crowned [?], armed and membered gules; an inescutcheon gules, a fess
argent), supported by two purple winged putti outlined in blue and
wearing red necklaces. 14 illuminated initials, 9- to 6-line, gold,
on blue, green, and red ground with white vine-stem ornament, sometimes
extending into the margins. Headings, running titles, and marginalia
Binding: England, s. xviii. Red goatskin gold-tooled, with the
crest of Charles Chauncy on the sides (see provenance below). Gilt
edges. Rebacked. The fine quality of the endleaves and leather,
and the tool used on the edges of the boards and the turn-ins are
similar to those in Marston MS 102 and Beinecke MS 497, both probably
bound by Richard Wier, active in London and France in the 1770s;
Written in Ferrara ca. 1460-75 by the "Scribe of the Maffei Vergil"
(Chicago, Newberry Library, 95.5); according to A. C. de la Mare the
scribe was also responsible for Vienna, Oesterreichische
Nationalbibliothek Cod. 35, signed Ferrara 1468; Cambridge, Mass.,
Harvard University, Houghton Library Typ 425, signed Ferrara 1463;
Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Ross. 439, signed
Ferrara 1462; Brussels, Bibl. Roy. IV. 185, dated 1471. Probably
produced at the court of the d'Este. Belonged to Dr. Charles Chauncy
(1709-77; bookplate; crest on binding) who bequeathed his collection
to his brother Nathaniel (d. 1790); sale (Leigh and Sotheby, 15 April
1790, no. 3150). Acquired by Michael Wodhull, Esq., of Thenford,
Northamptonshire (1740-1816); his inscriptions on f. ii recto and
rear flyleaf with dates "May 1st 1790" and "Aug. 14th 1793." After
Wodhull's death the manuscript remained in his family until it was
sold by J. E. Severne (Sotheby's, 12 Jan. 1886, no. 420, to
Quaritch). Bought by Thomas Brooke, F. S. A., of Armitage Bridge,
Huddersfield (1830-1908; bookplate); sale of Sir John Arthur Brooke
of Fenay Hall, Huddersfield (Sotheby's, 25 May 1921, no. 124). Inside
front cover: white square label, with grey decorative circle, within
which is written "A./ II. /31." in ink. Purchased from L. C. Witten
in 1956 by Thomas E. Marston (bookplate).
secundo folio: hominibus
Bibliography: Faye and Bond, p. 68, no. 35.
Exhibition Catalogue: W. Cahn and J. Marrow, eds.,
"Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at Yale: A Selection,"
Yale University Library Gazette 52 (1978), pp. 230-31, no. 55.
Barbara A. Shailor