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Canzoniere: MS McClean 173

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Object information

Current Location: In storage




Author: Petrarch




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + iv original parchment flyleaves (foliated 1a-4a in modern pencil) + 78 fols. (original ink foliation in Roman numerals for fols. 1-73) + ii original parchment flyleaves (foliated 82-83 in modern pencil), 280 x 190 mm (175 x 160 mm), 44 lines ruled in brown ink in index (fols. 1a recto - 3a recto), 28 verse lines ruled in brown ink or hardpoint (fols. 1-72), catchwords.

BINDING: Late nineteenth century, gold-tooled purple morocco over wooden boards, by Joseph W. Zaehnsdorf (1853–1930)

fols. 1a recto - 3a recto First line index to the Rime
fols. 1r-73r Petrarch, Canzoniere, divided between Canzoniere 261 and 264, with Canzioniere 262 and 263 (that is Sonetti 225 and 226) added at the end

DECORATION: Two historiated initials with full inhabited borders of acanthus foliage and gold discs in red, blue and green, scrolling to create roundels containing portrait busts: fol. 1r [V, 5 ll.] Half-length author portrait, with individual male and female figures in the upper border, and the same male and female figures (some in Dominican garb) embracing in roundels in the lower margin, after having been struck by an arrow shot by the god of Love who is accompanied by a bearded grotesque and winged dragon in the outer margin; fol. 51r Canzone 37 [I, 7 ll.], Petrarch at his desk, with individual male and female figures in the upper border roundels, while in the outer margin a skeletal figure of Death accompanied by a dragon and grotesques points a spear at grouped figures in the lower border.

ORNAMENTATION: Blue penwork initials [3 ll.] with red pen flourishing for each sonneto and canzone; alternate red and blue paraph marks for stanza divisions within canzoni.


History note: Ownership inscription LIBER […] Ludovichus with letters in a fifteenth-century hand (fol. 83r); owned in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries by members of the Peregrino family (note in a fifteenth century hand, fol. 73r: Antonius peregrinus scripsit. Sum pius eneas libicis ereptis ab ondis Italiam querens. Amen laus deo sit semper; fols. 81v and 82r, fragments of sonnets Sconsolato arbosello and Non valle copied in an italic hand and signed Ego Io. Ant. Peregrinus scripsit); no. 110 in a Milan bookseller’s catalogue.

Acquisition and important dates

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


15th Century, Early#
Production date: circa AD 1400

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Quandol pianeta che distingue lore
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 173
Primary reference Number: 176628
Project ID: 485
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 4 July 2023 Last processed: Thursday 7 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) "Canzoniere" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-22 00:11:12

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{{cite web|url= |title=Canzoniere |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-22 00:11:12|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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