A richly-decorated mid fifteenth-century manuscript of John Lydgate's Siege of Troy, containing numerous illuminations, with floriated borders, a half-page miniature at the beginning of each of the five books, and 64 other paintings.
Contents: John Lydgate, Siege of Troy, ed. H. Bergen, Lydgate's Troy book, A.D. 1412-20, 4 vols (1906-35): see Bibliography below. This copy is collated by Bergen as Cr. and is described in vol. 4, pp. 29-36. Index of Middle English verse, no. 2516/18. Bergen notes a special textual resemblance to Bodleian Library, Douce 230, which also contains the verses 'Pees makith plente...' (Index of Middle English verse, no. 2742: printed by Bergen, vol. 4, p. 26). f. 174 is blank except for the arms of the Carent family on the recto.
Script: Gothic bastard secretary with anglicana influence (a), by two hands. The second hand begins at f. 113r, col. b, line 27, at the words 'And of my herte' (Bergen edition, vol. 4, line 189): in this and the next 69 lines (lines 189-257) the new scribe uses the punctus elevatus as a mark of punctuation within the line, instead of //. Written space: 305 x 200 mm. 2 columns, 44 lines at first, 43 from f. 89 (beginning of quire 11) and 45 from f. 113 (beginning of quire 14).
Secundo folio: To bathe.
Decoration: There are five pictures in the text space before the prologue and books 2-5 (ff. 1r, 28v, 78v, 112r, 151v: continuous borders on these pages), and more or less large pictures in 64 margins. Among the miniatures are a painting of Lydgate presenting his work to Henry V on f. 1r; a detailed painting of the 'Wheel of Fortune' on f. 28v; the funeral of Hector on f. 109v; and the arms of the Carent family on a red ground hatched in gold, with floral ornament and a frame, on f. 173r (this leaf, if original, is not likely to be in its original position). The principal initials, other than those on the five pages listed above, occur at irregular intervals and not always at an obvious point: book 1, lines 1, 429, 623, 723, 1015, 1197, 1345, 1513, 2373, 2723, 3201, 3431, 3589, 3721, 3907, 4069; book 2, lines 203, 479, 1067, 1323, 1697, 1903, 2063, 2305, 3319, 3755, 4097, 4255, 4509, 5067, 5391, 8015; book 3, lines 821, 2365, 2667, 3323, 3755, 4077, 4889, 5423; book 4, lines 343, 545, 1223, 1701, 2029, 2401, 2525, 3107, 3271, 3363, 4281, 4637, 6023, 6731; book 5, lines 217, 697, 1011, 1207, 1665, 1839, 2111, 2315, 2623, 2937. The decoration in the margins of these 64 pages is continuous, consisting partly of a picture which takes up the lower margin and often some part of the side margins and partly of border work like that on the five pages where the borders are continuous. The pictures are listed and described by Bergen, vol. 4, pp. 32-6. J.J.G. Alexander notes (p. 169) that the artist is close in style to William Abell, an important mid-fifteenth century English illuminator.
Description derived from N.R. Ker, Medieval manuscripts in British libraries, vol. III, Lampeter-Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. 398-9. By permission of Oxford University Press.