Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of Exeter College

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of Exeter College

Article excerpt

Andrew G. Watson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of Exeter College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 178 pp. ISBN 019920092-7. L60.00

Andrew Watson's new catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Exeter College, Oxford, replaces the Exeter entries in H. 0. Coxe's Cata/ogus codicum ulSS. qui in collegiis aulisque adsenantur (Oxford, 18 85 2). It begins with a valuable introduction which first notes the absence of surviving early catalogues of the collection, and then records the other sources for the collection's history, including the Rectors' Accounts (which span the period from the mid-' 320s to the early 18 8os). It is from these that much information regarding the history of the library and its collections is derived and this is discussed in the second section of the introduction. The history and location of the library building is charted, along with consideration of some of the major benefactions of books (including those of William Rede and Sir William Petre), of the circulating library, and of the effects of the Reformation on the college's collections. The introduction continues with a discussion of the bindings used on college manuscripts: some manuscripts are still bound in sixteenth-century Oxford bindings, but many bindings were replaced in the nineteenth century by calf over millboards with blind-tooled decoration - given that they were so `ty ical' it is a shame that there is no illustration, if only for comparison with bindings of a similar period used by other colleges and by the Bodleian Library. This section is then followed by a consideration of the various types of shelfmark, and of vandalism of illuminated manuscripts, both at Exeter and elsewhere. The next section details the form used for each catalogue entry. This is clearly set out and helpful.

The catalogue entries themselves describe some sixty-eight manuscripts in one numerical sequence, with a further eleven and a collection of fragments taking the total of entries to eighty. …

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