Digital Commonwealth

De civitate Dei

Item Information

De civitate Dei
The present manuscript is the only surviving Dutch illustrated copy of the City of God. Though relatively inextensive for a 15th-century Dutch manuscript, the illumination in f. Med. 10 is uncharacteristically luxurious for an Augustinian house; the customary of the Canons required simplicity and a strict, sober aesthetic. The small dragons found throughout the margins of the first three folios -- somewhat out of place in an Augustinian manuscript -- are typical of Utrecht illumination (see Marrow). The miniatures in this manuscript are attributed to the eponymous Master of the Boston City of God, recently tentatively identified by Klaas van der Hoek as Antonis Rogiersz uten Broec (fl. 1460s).
Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo
Ghisberti, Theodoricus
Master of the Boston City of God
Former owner:
Bragge, William, 1823-1884
Former owner:
Thompson, Henry Yates, 1838-1928
Henry Young (Firm)
Attributed name:
Uten Broec, Antonis Rogiersz
Uten Broec, Antonis Rogiersz
Manuscripts, Latin (Medieval and modern)
Boston Public Library
Rare Books Department
Collection (local):
Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts (Collection of Distinction)
NetherlandsUtrecht (province)Utrecht
264 leaves : parchment, ill. ; 380 x 280 (280 x 190) mm.
Terms of Use:
No known copyright restrictions.
No known restrictions on use.
Notes (ownership):
Provenance: Early ownership inscription below colophon, f. 364v, effaced but partially legible under ultraviolet light: "Iste [ ] pertinet regularium [traj(?)]ecto." William Bragge, his sale Sotheby's 7 June 1876, lot 21 (SDBM 24073). Sold by Henry Young (12 Dec. 1899) to Henry Yates Thompson for £35, Thompson's annotated bookplate on the inside of the upper cover, with the price in his code: yn.e.e ("35.0.0"; Thompson's pricecode used the key BRYANSTONE (a reference to his London address at Bryanston Square), where B=1, R=2, etc.). Acquired by Sydney Cockerell for the Boston Public Library in March 1901 (his notes inside front cover; SDBM 197854), accessioned on April 29, 1901.
Notes (acquisition):
Immediate source of acquisition: Acquired by Sidney Cockerell for BPL in March, 1901.
Notes (citation):
Ricci, S. de. Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, vol.1, entry 919
Ms. codex.
Title from incipit (f. 1v); date from colophon (f. 264 v.): Explicit liber beati augustini episcopi doctoris De gloriosissima civitate dei. Deo gracia. / Anno MC quater cursis lx quoque bis ter / Festo syderea quo scandit alexius ethra / Iste fuit codex scriptus tibi laus deus o rex / Ghijsberto genitum per heer fratrem theodricum / Qui legit hunc dicat scriptor cum pace quiescat. / AMEN.
Secundo folio: Gloriosissimam civitatem dei sive in hoc temporum ...
Origin: Written by Theodericus Ghijsberti, Augustinian Canon Regular of St. Marie en de Twaalf Apostelen in Utrecht, completed 17 July 1466.
Currently shelved under BPL call no. MS f Med 10; formerly BPL G.400.4.
In Latin.
Bibliography: G. Gerritsen-Geysitz, "Utrechts Regulierenpenwerk?" Middeleeuwse handscriftenkunde in de Nederlanden 1988 (1989), 115-122; Z. Haraszti, "Medieval Manuscripts in The Library," More Books III (1928), 58-61; Klaas van der Hoek, "Antonis Rogiersz. uten Broec. Een verluchter uit Utrecht, werkzaam in de Zuidelijke en de Noordelijke Nederlanden," Oud Holland 117.3/4 (2004), 119-136; James H. Marrow, et al., The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Painting (New York, 1990), 222-223; Tiele, Pieter Anton, Catalogus codicum manu scriptorum bibliothecae Universitatis rheno-trajectinae (Utrecht, 1887-1909).
Notes (object):
Collation: Parchment codex, fol. i (modern parchment) + 264 + i (modern parchment); 1-33⁸.
Layout: Two columns, 43 lines, ruled in light plummet.
Script: Written in a Gothic bookhand in black ink with red rubrics. Mid-line initials alternate red and blue.
Decoration 1: f.1: 15-line historiated initial depicting Adam and Eve with serpent and tree, in gold colors, with full border of vines and acanthus with dragons and drolleries. On f.1v: 22-line miniature of St. Peter leading Augustine and a line of eight monks towards the City of God on f. 1v, with full border of vines and acanthus with dragons and drolleries. On f.2: Augustine seated at a writing desk, a bowl of ink held before him by a monk, in gold and colors, with full border of spindly vines and acanthus, with dragons and drolleries. Miniatures attributed to the eponymous Master of the Boston City of God, recently identified as Antonis Rogiersz uten Broec (see Marrow 1990 and van der Hoek 2004).
Decoration 2: Three-line initials throughout at chapter openings in red with brown, purple or green filigree, alternating blue with red filigree, some filigree incorporating drolleries; books begin with seven- to nine-line red and blue initials with red, brown, and/or green filigree.
Binding: Modern limp vellum with parchment pastedowns and free endpapers. Boss burns on outer margin of ff. 262-264 indicate that the original binding was clasped. Bound for H.Y. Thompson, replacing the half-morocco by Townsend of Sheffield noted in the Bragge sale.
Table of Contents:
1: ff. 1-264v: Augustine, De Civitate dei.
Call #:
MS f Med 10
BPL G.400.4 (no longer used)