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Civis Bononiae, Collection on chess and other board games: MS 372

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Civis Bononiae, Collection on chess and other board games




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, v modern paper flyleaves (foliated 1-e) + ii contemporary parchment flyleaves (foliated i-ii) + 242 fols., 120 v 90 mm (90 x 56 mm), varying numbers of lines ruled in hard point and surrounding the diagrams, quire marks (fols. 1-217)

BINDING: Nineteenth century, limp vellum

fols. a-e Description and history of the recent provenance of the manuscript by Tassilo, Baron von Heydebrand und der Lasa
fol. ii recto Recipes for invisible ink (in Italian) and a charm using the names of the Magi (in Latin) written in a cipher
fol. 1v Introduction in verse (ed. van der Linde 1881, 183; Murray 1913, 646)
fols. 2r-153v Diagrams of chess problems (diagrams on fols. 147v-148v and 149v-150r filled in by a later hand, diagrams on fols. 149r and 150v-153v left blank)
fols. 154r-193v Diagrams of tables problems, inc. Ista sunt partita tabularum
fols. 194r-225v Diagrams of merels problems, inc. Ista sunt partita morellorum
fols. 226r-233v Diagrams for the ‘Ship’ puzzle

ORNAMENTATION: Diagrams in blue, yellow, black and red for problems of chess (fols. 2r-153v), tables (fols. 154r-193v), merels (fols. 194r-225v), and the ‘Ship’ puzzle (fols. 226r-233v).

Orange initial [U, 14 ll.] with white abstract ornament on blue ground, foliate and geometric infill on dark red ground, and full foliage border incorporating a hybrid pointing at initial (fol. 1v); foliate initials [3-5 ll.] in pink, orange and blue, extending into partial foliage borders (fols. 2r, 154r, 194r, the last initial supported by a hybrid blowing a trumpet); alternate blue and red penwork initials [2 ll.] with red pen flourishing for start of text to each diagrams in the section on chess (fols. 2r-153v); blue penwork initials [3 ll.] with red pen-flourished infill and extensions for start of text to each diagram in the next two sections (fols. 154r-225v).


History note: In the collection of Dr G. Rossi in Rome in the nineteenth century according to Tassilo, Baron von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-1899), who purchased the manuscript from J. Baer in Frankfurt in 1890 (his notes and description of the manuscript on fols. a-e, his armorial bookplate, with his signature, the year 1890 and the number of the manuscript in his collection, no. 3041, inside upper cover); offered at his sale in Munich, Karl & Faber Antiquariat, on 7 May 1935, lot 470 and, having failed to reach the reserve, brought to London on behalf of his executors by Ernst Philip Goldschmidt, 45 Old Bond Street (his Catalogue 100, no. 29); offered by Goldschmidt to Sydney Cockerell on 16 May 1935 (Fitzwilliam Museum Archive, 70/4/372/103) and purchased by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum on 30 May 1935.

Place(s) associated

  • Bologna ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1935) by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


14th Century, Early
Production date: circa AD 1300

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: Albi habent
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 372
Primary reference Number: 178358
Project ID: 3525
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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