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Patent of Nobility: MS Marlay 5

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Current Location: In storage


Patent of Nobility




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, 84 fols. (fol. 85 pasted to lower cover), 305 x 210 mm (240 x 130 mm), 34 long lines, ruled in purple ink

BINDING: Sixteenth-century, gold-tooled black calf over wooden boards, four pairs of dark red and yellow silk ties, edges gilt and gauffered, remains of a multi-coloured silk cord to which a seal was attached can be seen between fols. 9-10, 51-52 and 74-75, contemporary pink silk guard between fols. 2-3.

fols. 2v¬-78r Patent of Nobility granted by Philip II of Spain (1556-1598) to Pedro de Valenzuela of Baeza, Andalucia, dated 6 March 1591 in Granada
fols. 79r-81r Confirmatory documents added by the cabildo (municipal council) of Baeza, Andalucia, dated 8 March 1591 and 23 March 1591
fols. 81r-83r Documents relating to Pedro de Valenzuela added by the cabildo of Almeria, dated 5 December 1593.

DECORATION: Two full-page compartmented miniatures within full borders formed of an architectural frame on marble pediments, the side panels in gold with painted flowers and birds, curving to form an arch-topped upper compartment, the lower compartment created by a horizontal painted bar with text in gold capitals: fol. 2v Crucifixion with the Virgin and St John at the foot of the Cross in the upper compartment and, in the lower, armorial bearings of Valenzuela, argent a lion sable crowned or, armed and langued gules, surrounded by putti and foliate motifs, in the upper corners of the border portraits of the evangelists, St John on the left and St Matthew on the right, text across the central bar: DON PHILIPPE; fol. 3r St James the Moor-Slayer at the Battle of Clavijo in the upper compartment and, in the lower, shield of arms, quarterly (1) gules, a gryphon sergeant or on a mount vert within a single tressure and eight saltires or, (2) gules five towers or, (3) azure a bend or issuing at either end from a dragon’s mouth vert, a crescent argent in sinister chief, within a single tressure and eight saltires or, (4) or a tower with one turret argent, in base, two hooks or stirrups sable, with helmet crest and foliate surround, text across the central bar: POR LA GRATIA DE DIOS.

Historiated initial [R, 11 ll.] formed of painted foliage on a square ground and enclosing half-length portrait of Philip II wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece (fol. 3v).

fols. 2v-78v Painted foliate initials [9 ll.] on square coloured grounds with gold highlighting and foliate motifs; display capitals [2-5 ll.] in black ink with elaborate interlace and foliate forms for section headings; line-fillers; cadels.

fols. 79r-81r Red initials [10 ll.] within rectangular panels of interlace or scrolls surrounded by penwork foliate forms coloured in yellow wash, green and red; brown ink initials [7 ll.] with interlace tinted in yellow wash and painted foliate motifs in red and green.


History note: Pedro de Valenzuela of Baeza, Andalucia, 1591; Charles Brinsley Marlay (1831–1912); his bequest, 1912.

Place(s) associated

  • Granada ⪼ Spain ⪼ Spain

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley

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: De la nuestra cassacorte
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS Marlay 5
Primary reference Number: 176666
Project ID: 1338
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Patent of Nobility" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-19 19:22:17

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{{cite web|url= |title=Patent of Nobility |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-19 19:22:17|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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