Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286, Ludolph of Saxony, Vita Christi

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286 (Margaret M. Manion, Vera F. Vines, and Christopher de Hamel, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in New Zealand Collections (Melbourne, London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1989), no. 35), Ludolph of Saxony, Vita Christi, western Germany, second half of the fifteenth century.[1]

This is a paper manuscript; at or soon after the time that it was copied it was bound in contemporary blind-stamped brown calf over rounded and beveled boards. The tooling of this book, which is quite elaborate, is described in considerable detail by Manion, Vines, and de Hamel. To their notes we can add some on the book’s fastenings. These are now missing, but some traces remain: there were two of them and they were in a late-fifteenth century hook-clasp style. The catch plates have left indentations in the leather cover on the upper board. It seems they and the nails that attached them were brass (there are scraps of oxidized copper alloy in the nail holes). They may have resembled Szirmai 9.49 [g].[2] They fastened in the German style on the upper cover; on the lower cover, all that remains are pieces of the tawed straps that held the hooks, which were recessed under the cover in grooves at the edges of the board.

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286 - lower board

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286 – lower board

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286  - opening folio

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286 – opening folio

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286 - upper board

Auckland Libraries, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Med. MS S.286 – upper board


[1] See also Donald Kerr, “Sir George Grey and Henry Shaw,” Migrations: Medieval Manuscripts in New Zealand, ed. Stephanie Hollis and Alexandra Barratt (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2007), 49-71 (60).

[2] J. A. Szirmai, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding (Farnham: Ashgate, 1999), 255.

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