MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries (British History)
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 44, 45, 46, 47  Next
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

The first thing to say is that when people get hacked to death by people for apparently refusing to be ransomed it is unusual for the hackers to say, "Sod it, leave his elaborately bejewelled psalter behind. Hasn't he suffered enough?" But maybe St Alphege, knowing his time was up, said to his office junior, "Look after this, you never know when another Archbishop of Canterbury will be martyred." "Like London buses, are they, skipper?" "No-o-o, we're talking a hundred and fifty years." "Oh, right, best put it ... um ... er ..." "Trust in the Lord, my son."

The cult that sprang up around Becket after his death spread widely and swiftly. Within three years he was Saint Thomas, and Canterbury would become one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in Europe. When the Reformation came, however, Becket fell out of favour, his relics – bones, clothes, a soiled handkerchief – destroyed as the baggage of an old form of superstition

So not there then.
Send private message
Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
View user's profile
Reply with quote

I will probably hand this over to Hatty who will likely give it to Wiley, the office junior.


Too kind. Can it wait till I clean the toilets?

Wiles E. Coyote
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

I thought you were our Thomas Becket specialist, 's all. A very senior junior.

One curious quirk of relic veneration is that books rarely make the cut. Becket’s library then, shelved unassumingly in a passageway in the cathedral, was spared the reformers’ zeal.

"And now Lot 28, bejewelled psalter, thirty-seven careful owners."
"Anyone famous?"
"I should cocoa. There's St Alphege for a start."
"Wasn't he hacked to death?"
"I haven't got his details to hand. Thomas Becket of course."
"He was definitely hacked to death."
"You've got your Simon Sudbury."
"Hacked to death."
"You're cherry-picking. Any more bids? Going, going, gone to the gentleman in the third row. Name?"
"Thomas Cranmer."
"Ooh, the stars are out tonight. You're the Archbishop of Canterbury, aren't you? Not worried then."
"No, I'm a Protestant, we don't believe in superstition. I'll be all right."

Only kidding.

Instead it was cherrypicked by Matthew Parker, archbishop to Elizabeth I, who in turn left his own library to his former college at Cambridge.
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

The Guardian wrote:
Thomas Becket's personal book of psalms 'found in Cambridge library'

Historian claims the Psalter is ‘undoubtedly’ the property of martyred saint, and that he may have been holding it when he was murdered

Christopher de Hamel, the historian making the claim, heard about the psalter from a fellow-academic from Cambridge

He showed de Hamel an entry from the Sacrists’ Roll of Canterbury Cathedral, dating to 1321, which gave a detailed description of a Psalter, or book of psalms, in a jewelled binding, that was then preserved as a relic at the shrine of Becket in the cathedral.

It seems to be just a common-or-garden psalter, not linked to Thomas Becket by fourteenth-century sacristans. Two centuries go by.

A 16th-century note says the book once belonged to Becket

Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker donates his books to Corpus Christi College library which is named after him. The Parker Library of rare books and manuscripts is de Hamel's domain and he's disarmingly honest about having to guess the psalter's provenance

“Becket is a big name and there’s a list of his books. This isn’t one of them.” But a link had not previously been made between the 14th-century inventory and the Parker manuscript.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/01/thomas-beckets-personal-book-of-psalms-found-in-cambridge-library
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Good grief, I wasn't expecting it to be this bad. No wonder Allen Lane are pitching it at the airport market. You begin to wonder how far back the Parker Library goes. I'd say these people are shameless if I thought they were competent enough to know what they aren't doing.
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

At some stage St Ælfheah Archbishop of Canterbury became St Alphege, possibly a Frenchification. At any rate he appears in the canon quite late, several hundred years after reportedly dying in 1012.

Corpus Christi College has a manuscript dated 1300 - 1325 AD containing more than eighty saints' lives including Alphege's, but, alas, "Origin: unknown". The 'Life of St Alphege' is, according to the British Library, from a manuscript called the South English Legendary. Never heard of it until now but origins and date(s) have yet to be decided.

Only three Middle English texts have survived in more copies: Piers Plowman, The Canterbury Tales and the Prick of Conscience. The number of surviving manuscripts is telling of how popular the South English Legendary was.

Over sixty manuscripts containing all or part of the South English Legendary survive. Dialect and affiliations are the main evidence for the origin of a given manuscript, because for many of these manuscripts the provenance is lacking.

There is general agreement that the Legendary was adapted from multiple sources, though there are large sections of original material as well as material with no known source.


Alphege, despite his position as English primate and dramatic life/death, lacks a named biographer. But the British Library catalogue does have a Danish psalter that includes a reference to Alphege

a Psalter, Use of Scandinavia (the 'London Psalter' or 'Scandinavian Psalter')
Origin France, Central (?Paris or Reims)
Date c. 1250-1260
Provenance The Calendar includes Scandinavian saints, Canute and Olaf, and English saints, including Cuthbert, Alphege and Botulph, that are found in a Psalter for Danish use (the 'Suneson Psalter', Egerton MS 2652).

Bought by the British Museum from Henry Bohn, bookseller of Covent Garden and brother of James Bohn, translator and publisher, 18 August 1849.

We've already come across Henry Bohn, a dealer in rare books and 'remainders', but it's the first I've heard of a translator-publisher brother.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

That last point is especially good. We are used to fathers-and-sons and other helpful factors to combat Prisoner's Dilemma (monastic orders, Jews, secret societies, revolutionists) but I don't recall a pair of brothers. Except weren't those Thames mudskippers finding all those Roman etc gewgaws brothers?
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

I have deleted your posts for a coupla days, Ishmael. Keep 'em dry for later when I tell you why.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

This is where De Hamel’s intervention begins. In the Parker Library at Corpus Christi college is a psalter dating from the late Anglo-Saxon period.

And a librarian called Christopher de Hamel but that isn't what is depressing. The reviewer seems to have no idea that there are no manuscripts from the Anglo-Saxon period, only manuscripts that are claimed to be of the Anglo-Saxon period and even they are on the hen's-teethish side.

On the final page, a 16th-century inscription – deemed spurious by previous scholars – links the book to two archbishops: Becket and “N”
.
Says it all. Some bunch of dudes think it's a forgery, this dude doesn't. Stop the presses. Price it at £9.99.

The Book in the Cathedral is an exercise in bibliographic detective work, identifying “N” and overturning the judgment of earlier cataloguers.

Yeah, you said that. I don't want to suggest any departure from strict academic standards (except in the other direction) but when you've got an employee that's just had a worldwide megahit and his publishers are pressing him for a follow-up and he finds one of the most valuable artefacts in English history at his place of work and I was his employer, I would say, "Cor blimey, you've just increased the value of our stock by several million pounds, you wait till your annual review, there'll be a drink in it and no mistake. Yes, by all means take a bit of time off if you want to go on the academic celebrity chat show circuit."
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

De Hamel – author of the wonderful Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts – shows us all the tools of the bibliographer’s trade: dating handwriting, identifying pigments, noting the rust marks left by nails from a now-lost ornate binding.

Or do a non-destructive carbon test under an isotope hood -- there's one just round the corner at the Cavendish -- and we can all go home. Unless it was early closing when Chris popped round with it under his arm. When I say, "Bah, humbug," it's not because I'm in this year's Muppets Christmas Special.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

This is done with a lightness that belies De Hamel’s pre-eminence as a manuscript scholar – the telling is brisk, with a light foxing of anecdote, even as the evidence is rigorously lined up.

There's a lot going on in that sentence. As we here know all too well, manuscript scholars seem to go to great lengths to bore the pants off everyone, including each other. But notice the twin, twin signals
De Hamel has a light touch and is pre-eminent
De Hamel is anecdotal and rigorous
The thing both Hatty and I run into most often is "I prefer to follow the experts on this". Both Hatty and I are experts but nobody follows us. Always remember, you cannot be an expert and heterodox. It is simply not allowed. De Hamel is not in fact a manuscript expert, he is a librarian. He made himself a manuscript expert just like we did. He made himself pre-eminent by selling a lot of books. Just like me and Hatty haven't.
Send private message
Boreades


In: finity and beyond
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Apologies for my absence, but don't worry, I have recovered.

Recovered, that is, from the percussive administrations of M'Lady after a visit to Château Boreades from the noted Art Historian, Dennis Lincoln-Park.

He had initially assured M'Lady that some of our relics were, of course, absolutely priceless. It didn't turn out as well as expected.

Here's some of his earlier work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bucgZc0FsBk
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Thank God the office gibbon is back. Edward Gibbon, as we affectionately call him.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Hatty drew attention to the importance of this:

Becket’s library then, shelved unassumingly in a passageway in the cathedral, was spared the reformers’ zeal

The point being is that if you've got a psalter and you want to boost its value by making it a) old and b) belonging to someone famous, you have to come up with a story to account for the survival of a psalter that is a) old and b) had belonged to someone famous. With a subtext of c) don't worry, the seller has perfect legal title to be selling it.

Enter the story of Becket's library. There has to be a library to account for the existence of the book (not that psalters belong in libraries but still) and it has to be in Canterbury to ensure the safe and legal transmission from there to Parker's Library (though let's hope he didn't nick it when he was archbish) to the Parker Library, Cambridge. But that is by no means enough. Everything Beckettian, down to his handkerchief, had been a) on display for pilgrim-gawpers and b) had likely been half-inched etc by furious mobs of Protestants. But they missed his library. It seems the pilgrimage-promoters had missed the library too

"Do we want the actual psalter he was holding when he was being martyred? You know, the one that belonged to that other bloke that was martyred, wassisname?"
"Nah, we've got the snot-rag he was holding at the time. We can't have him holding too many things at once."
"Where shall I put it then?"
"Oh, any unassuming passageway will do."
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Most blokes with a library, if they aren't from a royal or noble family, donate or bequeath their books to someone important such as a patron, or a monastery or university, to wind up in a national museum or royal collection. Archbishop of Canterbury collections are owned by Lambeth Palace Library, founded in 1610 though it claims its records date from the ninth century.

Lambeth doesn't have any Becketian books, never mind a library, but Oxford's Magdalen College Library holds a book of Becket's, Variae epistolae, a collection of letters from Cassiodorus, though their authenticity may turn out to be questionable

Their authenticity as “records” has been almost universally accepted in studies of late antique political culture, economy, and administration, agrarianand urban history, religious and social history, prosopography, intellectual and legal culture,and ethnography. By contrast, comparatively few studies have examined the Variae as a coherent whole, particularly as a text with authorial aims and compositional strategy. This is partially a result of the assumed documentary nature of the letters and their potentiallyenormous historical utility, which has made them impervious to the same kind of literaryanalysis that has proven so useful to understanding presentational aspects of epistolographyin earlier classical settings

Provenance of the Cassiodorus letters is given as 12th century (northern France). Some three hundred years later it turns up in the hands of William Worcester, 'an English topographer, antiquary and chronicler', also called William Botoner, the son of a white leather worker

At some point the book left Canterbury, and came into the hands of William Worcester (c.1415– c.1482) in the city of Norwich, as is recorded on the fly leaf with the (very faint) inscription ‘Pertinet W Wyrcetyr manenti iuxta Ciuitatem Norwicensem’. William Worcester was the secretary of Sir John Fastolf (1380–1459), the Hundred Years War general whose estates helped endow Magdalen College. Worcester was also an associate of our founder, William Waynflete, a fellow executor of Fastolf’s original will. We know that Waynflete gave the college 800 books in the 1480s, the foundation of our library, and that many of these books were gifts from his friends: this is one of four manuscripts in our library that we can trace to Worcester.

It's always worrying when the executor of a benefactor's will is involved but anyway, according to Magdalen College Library which specialises in Renaissance Studies, Becket most certainly possessed a library because the Christ Church Canterbury catalogue says so, if belatedly

The early 14th-century Eastry catalogue of Christ Church Canterbury catalogued the library collections, and recorded which shelves contained Becket’s books. These included lots of modern and up-to-date theological works, including Peter Lombard’s Sentences, sermons, and glossed bibles. There were many law-books, perhaps reflecting the time that Theobald sent Becket to study law on the continent. The collection was strong in Cistercian texts, presumably as he developed his collection whilst at Pontigny, and in books relating to the role of the clergy. Interestingly the collection contained John of Salisbury’s Policraticus (which survives at the Parker Library in Cambridge), a book about the relationship between a king and his subjects. John of Salisbury was a close friend of Becket’s, and it is possibly John who helped Becket develop his magnificent collection of Latin classics.

This book was also from Becket’s library: Cassiodorus’ Variae epistolae, the letters of Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (c.485–c.585). Cassiodorus was a Roman statesman and writer who was a leading civil servant under Theoderic the Great, King of the Ostrogoths, and his successor Athalaric. ...His Variae epistolae is a collection of the official edicts, letters, and documents which Cassiodorus wrote for Theoderic and Athalaric. The book is a fascinating guide to writing official Latin letters, and how to deal with kings. It is not hard to see why Becket might find such a book useful, and how he might have seen Cassiodorus as a kindred spirit.

https://www.magd.ox.ac.uk/libraries-and-archives/illuminating-magdalen/news/becket/
Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 44, 45, 46, 47  Next

Jump to:  
Page 45 of 47

MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group