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Opera: MS McClean 115

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Object information

Current Location: In storage




Author: Lactantius
Scribe: Gobellini de Lins, Johannes




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i modern paper flyleaf lined with leather + 336 fols. + i modern paper flyleaf lined with leather, 337 x 223 mm (212 x 102 mm), 29 long lines, ruled in hard point, running headers, catchwords

BINDING: Nineteenth century, blind- and gold-stamped brown leather over wooden boards.

fol. 1v Lactantius, Dedication to Emperor Constantine I
fols. 2r-3v Summary of Lactantius’ career
fols. 3v-4r List of capitula to Bk I of Divinae institutiones
fols. 4v-283r Lactantius, Divinae institutiones
fols. 284r-311r Lactantius, De ira dei with prologue and list of capitula
fols. 311v-336v Lactantius, De opificio dei with dedication to Demetrianus and list of capitula

DECORATION: Historiated initial formed of gold interlace entwined in white vine-scroll on blue, green and red ground with triplets of white dots: fol. 4v Divinae institutiones, Bk I, [M, 10 ll.] Lactantius writing in his study, with full border of gold interlace and white vine-scroll on blue, green and red ground with triplets of white dots inhabited by putti, birds and animals, and containing a medallion with the year 1460 (top), a wreath with overpainted coat of arms (bottom), and three corner medallions enclosing the scenes of Gideon’s fleece (top left), Samson defeating the lion (bottom left) and Judith beheading Holofernes (bottom right).

ORNAMENTATION: Architectural frontispiece on purple shredded ground enclosing the Dedication to Emperor Constantine I (fol. 1v).

Gold initial [D, 7 ll.] with white vine-scroll infill on blue, green and red ground with triplets of white dots, extending into a full border with gold interlaced frame, putti, birds, animals, hybrids, spraywork extensions with gold balls and flowers, and a wreath enclosing the arms of Niccoló Forteguerri surmounted by a Cardinal’s hat (fol. 2r); gold initials [8-10 ll.] with identical infill and three-sided borders for remaining books of Divinae institutiones (fols. 46r, 83v, 127r, 168v, 203v, 248r), and the beginning of De ira dei (fol. 284v) and De opificio dei (fol. 312r); gold initials [3 ll.] with white vine-scroll infill and extensions on blue, green and red grounds with triplets of white dots, terminating in spraywork with gold balls, for prologues and capitula.


History note: Completed for Niccolò Forteguerri (1419-1473) on 7 June 1460 (colophon, fol. 336v); purchased from Ulrico Hoepi in Milan by Frank McClean (1837-1904); his bequest, 1904.

Place(s) associated

  • Rome

Acquisition and important dates

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

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Page Height 335 mm Width 220 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: apostolum dicentem
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 115
Primary reference Number: 93594
Project ID: 750
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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Opera" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-25 10:15:11

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{{cite web|url= |title=Opera |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-25 10:15:11|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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