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Sermones super Cantica canticorum: MS McClean 119

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Current Location: In storage


Sermones super Cantica canticorum


Author: Bernard of Clairvaux




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, iii modern parchment flyleaves + 185 fols. (foliated i-ii and 1-183, fols. i-ii and 181-182 added in the thirteenth century, fol. 183 originally a flyleaf, some contemporary repairs) + iii modern parchment flyleaves, 273 x 172-179 mm (201-215 x 124-134 mm), two columns, 30-34 lines, ruled in plummet, crayon and hard point, written above top line (apart from fols. 180-182), alphabetical quire marks, running headers, catchwords, modern repairs to fols. i–ii and 1–2.

BINDING: twentieth century, quarter bound red goat and parchment over wooden boards, by W.H. Smith (signed WHS inside lower cover).

fols. i recto – ii verso Capitula for Sermons 1-64 (thirteenth- or fourteenth-century addition)
fols. 1r–2r Ambrose, Explanatio psalmorum xii (excerpt, unfinished, fol. 1r–1v erased)
fols. 2r – 179v Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones super Cantica canticorum (Sermons 1-64)
fols. 179v and 183r Theological tract, Dum caro menti (thireenth-century addition)
fols. 180r–182v Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermo 65 (thirteenth-century addition)

ORNAMENTATION: Two zoomorphic initials [4 ll.] in light brown ink and red for Sermons 5 and 14 (fols. 10v, 41v); red initials [2-9 ll.] with yellow wash, blank partitions, and penwork in red and brown ink (probably added later), occasionally with foliate and geometric motifs or bird-heads (fols. 7r, 37r), for most of Sermons 1-23; red, orange, yellow, blue, pink and green initials [2-17 ll.] with geometric and foliate motifs, some set on square grounds, occasionally with penwork in red and brown ink (probably added later), for most of Sermons 24-64; red initial [2 ll.] with pen flourishing (thirteenth-century addition) for Sermon 65 (fol. 180r); red penwork one-line initials for Capitula; display script in red or blue ink, occasionally highlighted in yellow and red, for text following some initials, and the closing formulas of Sermons; sketch of initial (fol. 65v).


History note: Made at the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria di Chiaravalle della Colomba in the diocese of Piacenza (ex libris in a near contemporary hand on fol. 179v: Liber sancte marie de columba); Francesco Giovio (1796-1873); U. Hoepli, Milan, catalogue 83 (1883), no. 15; probably bought from him in Milan by Frank McClean (1837-1904); his bequest, 1904.

Acquisition and important dates

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


12th Century, second half#
Circa 1150 CE - Circa 1199 CE

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 compassione in correctione
  • Location: Fol. ii recto
  • Type: Secundo folio
  • Text: [re]fulgeret. Unum canticum
  • Location: Fol. 2r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 119
Primary reference Number: 177353
Project ID: 618
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Sermones super Cantica canticorum" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-14 21:41:11

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