Ricardus Franciscus Writes for William Worcester
Nall, Catherine, The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History
Cambridge University Library, MS Additional 7870 (hereafter CUL Add. 7870) is a parchment manuscript, comprising three booklets each written by a different scribe, which dates from the mid-fifteenth century. (1) The manuscript contains three texts on the four cardinal virtues in French: an anonymous French translation of John of Wales's Breviloquium de virtutibus antiquorum principum et philosophorum (fols. 1-22v), also known as the Livre des quatre vertus; Jean Courtecuisse's French translation with commentary of Des quatre vertus cardinaulx ascribed to Seneca (fols. 24r-67v); and an unidentified French text comparing the cultivation of the virtues to the cultivation of a garden (fols. 68r-71r). (2) The three hands identified in the manuscript are all influenced by French batarde secretary scripts; however, the decoration of this manuscript is entirely English in appearance, which suggests that the manuscript was produced in England either by French scribes or by English scribes imitating fashionable French script. (3)
CUL Add. 7870 was owned by William Worcester, antiquary and secretary to the famous veteran of the French wars Sir John Fastolf. Worcester's ownership of the volume is attested by his extensive marginal annotations and the colophon he added on folio 22v to the end of the first text, the Breviloquium de virtutibus, stating that he ("Guillem Worcestre dit Botener") was busy correcting the text in July 1450. (4) Worcester's employer, Sir John Fastolf, also owned a copy of the Breviloquium de virtutibus. Fastolf's copy is in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 570 (hereafter Laud Misc. 570), on fols. 1-23. (5) Worcester's ownership of the Breviloquium de virtutibus implies, then, that he was having less expensive copies of texts owned by his master produced for himself. Moreover, comparison of CUL Add. 7870 and Laud Misc. 570 suggests that Worcester and Fastolf also employed the same scribe to write for them. The second text in Worcester's manuscript, CUL Add. 7870, Des quatre vertus cardinaulx (fols. 24r-67v), was …
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Publication information: Article title: Ricardus Franciscus Writes for William Worcester. Contributors: Nall, Catherine - Author. Journal title: The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History. Volume: 11. Publication date: Annual 2008. Page number: 207+. © 2009 Pace University Dba: Pace University Press. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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