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Gospel Book: MS McClean 23

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Gospel Book


Binder: Proctor, R. W. (Cambridge)




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii modern parchment flyleaves + 152 fols. (medieval foliation I-CXII in red Roman numerals) + ii modern parchment flyleaves, 236 x 166 mm (168 x 112 mm), 21 long lines, ruled in plummet; quire marks, trace of tab on fol. 148

BINDING: 1995, alum-tawed skin over wooden boards, by Robert Proctor, edges gilt, former nineteenth-century binding of dark purple morocco over pasteboards preserved with manuscript

SECUNDO FOLIO: genuit eleazar

SCRIPT: Early Gothic bookhand

fols. 1r-122r Gospels for the Temporal from Christmas Day to the twenty-fourth week after Pentecost
fols. 122r-128v Gospels for the Temporal for Advent
fols. 128v-147v Gospels for the Sanctoral from St Felix (14 Jan.) to St Thomas the Apostle (21 Dec.)
fols. 147v-149r Gospels for the Common of the Saints
fol. 149r Gospels for Ordinations of Deacons, Priests and Bishops
fol. 149r Gospel In ieiunio de natale pape
fol. 149r Gospel for Marriage Mass
fol. 149v Gospel for the Dedication of a Church
fol. 150r Gospel for the Dedication of an Oratory
fols. 150r-152v Gospels for Votive Masses

Three historiated initials on gold grounds, all extending vertically beyond the text block: fol. 1r Christmas Day, [I, 25 ll.] Three medallions enclosing Joseph talking to Mary, the Dream of Joseph, and two monsters wrestling, with two figures, probably apostles, standing between the medallions and holding a book and a scroll respectively, on gold, red and blue grounds with acanthus foliage as terminals; fol. 69r Easter Sunday, [I, 23 ll.] Two medallions enclosing busts of the Holy Women and the Holy Women at the Tomb, with foliage coils in between; fol. 82r Pentecost, [I, 23 ll.] Three medallions enclosing Christ holding book talking to apostles, Ascension, and Pentecost on blue and red grounds, with large acanthus motifs in between, their stems entwined around the frame of the initial, and with snake-like heads biting the frames of the medallions.

Initials with gold, pink or green stems on gold grounds, one (fol. 80r) extending vertically beyond the text block: fol. 6v Epiphany, [C, 3 ll.] Griffin on blue ground; fol. 80r Ascension Day, [I, 25 ll.] Winged hybrid with human head, two birds, a beast biting itself, set in medallions on blue and pink grounds with acanthus motifs on gold grounds separating them; fol. 135r Nativity of John Baptist, [I, 17 ll.] Birds and foliage with stems entwined around the frame of the initial in blue, pink and red on gold ground; alternated blue and red initials [3-11 ll.] with red or blue pen-flourished surround and very occasional infill (e.g. fols. 5v, 8v, 127v), and with small foliage extensions; alternate red and blue one-line initials; red and blue paraph marks; capitals highlighted in red.


History note: Largely erased sixteenth-century inscription, now illegible, but recorded by James, referring to the gift from a priest named John to a Collegiate Church of St Andrew in 1570: Pour seinte(?) collegiale .... St Andre de Chaud ... ex dono Joannis presbyter huius ecclesie prepositi die Veneris tercio Jullii anno domini millesimo quinguent. (sexagesimo with erasure marks) septuagesimo. Gorle (?) ... pbres (fol. 152v); Thomas Bateman (1821-1861), Middleton Hall, by Youlgrave, Derbyshire (armorial bookplate inside upper cover of former binding); to his son, William Bateman; his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 25-31 May 1893, lot 742; Frank McClean (1837-1904); his bequest, 1904.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Frank McClean

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


12th Century, second half
Circa 1150 CE - Circa 1200 CE


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production

Iron gall ink

Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Text Height 168 mm Width 112 mm
Page Height 236 mm Width 166 mm

Techniques used in production

Egg tempura

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: genuit eleazar.
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 23
Primary reference Number: 118796
Project ID: 808
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Gospel Book" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-23 05:24:11

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