A Leaf from ‘Otto Ege Manuscript 19’ and Ege’s Workshop Practices

May 1, 2020 in Manuscript Studies, Uncategorized

An Old Testament Leaf from ‘Otto Ege Manuscript 19’

And Ege’s Workshop Habits
in Assembling His Portfolios

 

Opening of the Book of Macabees in Otto Ege MS 19. Private Collection.

Portable Bible in the Latin Vulgate Version
Italy, circa 1275, with Illuminations made apparently in Paris

Double columns in 48 lines
circa 235 × 170 mm <written area circa 153 × 107 mm>

End of Malachi (within 2:13 – 4:10),
Jerome’s Prologue to Maccabees, Argumentum,
and Opening of I Maccabees (1:1 – within 1:21)

J. S. Wagner Collection

[Posted on 1 May 2020, with updates]
A detached leaf from ‘Otto Ege Manuscript 19’, now in the J. S. Wagner Collection, provides the transition from one Old Testament Book to the next.  In reporting its survival and setting it into the context of its former manuscript and the known patterns of Otto Ege’s distribution of his dismembered manuscripts, we examine the leaf, its presentation as part of a larger series (initially as Ege’s Number 19, altered for some reason to a Number 13), and Ege’s evolving “workshop practices” in mounting and distributing manuscript leaves to wider audiences.

[Note:  This post began as the report of a Leaf from one of the manuscripts dispersed by Otto F. Ege, to follow our earlier reports for some other manuscripts of his.  It grew into a report also of Ege’s varying workshop practices over time in assembling or reassembling his Portfolios of specimen Leaves extracted from manuscripts and other books.  Selected specimens would be mounted in mats, often with identifying labels or inscriptions in print or pencil, arranged in groups (notably in the Portfolios, but also in other batches) or distributed as left-overs, and sold far and wide.  Mercifully, apart from cutting the individual leaves out of the books, Ege did not crop them except by the rectangular windows of their mats.

As reported in other posts on this blog (see the Contents List), our cumulative examination of various Portfolios, individual sets thereof, and individual leaves either extracted from Portfolios or distributed on their own (as “Strays”), has yielded detailed grounds for conjectures about Ege’s evolving and revolving practices over an extended period of intense activity dedicated to maximizing the teaching (and commercial) potential of his collection.  We share some results of that research here.]

Opening of the Book of Macabees in Otto Ege MS 19. Private Collection.

Wagner Leaf from Ege Manuscript 19, verso, detail.

With thanks to the present collector, J. S. Wagner, who drew this find to our attention on account of our blog (You are Here), we present the images, front and back, of a detached leaf from a small-format 13th-century Vulgate Latin Bible dispersed by Otto F. Ege (1888–1951).  The leaf was formerly part of Ege Manuscript 19 (Gwara, Handlist, No. 19, page 124).

Already, in our blog on Manuscript Studies (You are Here), we have considered leaves from other manuscripts distributed by Ege.  See our Contents List for the series of discoveries, which so far principally concern Ege Manuscripts 8, 14, 41, 51, 61,  and 214; we begin work also on Ege Manuscript 56 in Armenian.

This new opportunity opens the possibility to consider another of Ege’s dismembered manuscripts showcased in his Portfolio of Fifty Original Manuscripts (= “FOL”), for which a core study was developed with the website devoted to a group of its survivors as ege.denison.edu, and for which work has continued to advance apace in multiple centers.

This Portfolio is one of several which Ege devoted to specific titles or genres of books in manuscript and/or print (such as the Bible in several languages).  Ege gave this one the title of Fifty Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, XII–XVI Century [sic for the plural].  Ege numbered its Leaves as “1–50”, in the sequence which he chose for their presentation there.  Their source manuscripts, accordingly, in Scott Gwara’s Handlist of Ege’s manuscripts are known as “Ege Manuscripts 1–50” (of at least 1–325, and counting).  A provisional summary of the contents of this Portfolio and some of its known sets appears online in The Otto F. Ege Palaeography Portfolio: Towards a Virtual and Interactive Reconstruction of Fifty Dismembered Manuscripts.  Virtual reconstructions of one and another of its manuscripts continue to emerge, as with FOL Leaf 15, the 14th-century Beauvais Missal.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Leaf from from Prime in a Latin manuscript Breviary. Folio 4 Recto, Initial C for "Confitimini" of Psalm 117 (118), with scrolling foliate decoration.

Already, in this blog, we have presented 2 leaves from the J. S. Wagner Collection:

Now we turn to the Ege Leaf in that Collection.

The Leaf and the Provenance

The owner reports having acquired the leaf “at an estate sale” of a deceased owner, “an elderly lady, as far as I know she did not have connections to a university”.  The leaf retains its windowed Ege mat with Ege’s printed label and pencil description, as characteristic for the specimens comprising a part of Ege’s Portfolio itself and for some of the specimens which, although matted and labelled, travelled on their own.

The label with the Wagner Leaf carries alterations in pencil, at top right and bottom left, entered by a single hand at a single sitting.  The matching pair concerns the numeration of the leaf within a sequence, but a different sequence of some sort.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Otto Ege's printed Label for his Specimens of Leaf 19 in the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts. Western Europe, XII-XVI Century. The printed number 19 is altered in pencil to '13'.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Otto Ege’s printed Label for his Specimens of Leaf 19 in the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts. Western Europe, XII-XVI Century.

Supplying images of both sides of the leaf itself, as well as of the label, the owner reports:

J. S. Wagner Collection. Detached leaf from Otto Ege Manuscript 19, verso, with the opening of Book I of Macabees in the Old Testament.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Leaf from Ege Manuscript 19, verso.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Detached leaf from Ege Manuscript 19, recto, with the end of the Book of Malachi in the Old Testament.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Leaf from Ege Manuscript 19, recto.

“The item is complete with what appears to be the original mat (measuring 33 × 46.5 cms).  It is a folded sheet of cream color paper and a window has been cut into the top fold to frame the leaf, which is attached to the lower half of the mat with tape.  In the lower left side the printed label (Vulgate Bible) has been attached by cementing a narrow folded overlap on the back side of the mat.  On the label, . . . the printed number 19 in the upper right corner has been crossed out in pencil and 13 has been written below.  The 13 also appears in the lower left corner of the label and under the label on the mat itself, both in pencil.  In the lower right side of the mat stands the number 853.  Inside the folded mat in the upper right corner there is written in 3 lines in pencil:   “D J Young, 1211 Dunstan, Pasadena, Texas”, a small house in a suburb of Houston.”  This inscription perhaps indicates an owner, although the D. J. Young has not yet been precisely identified.

The name and address provide a clue to the descent of ownership somehow from Ege’s collection (in Cleveland, Ohio) and from his dismembered manuscript, to Texas, and from there through the estate sale into the present collection.

The Contents

The leaf comes from the Old Testament portion of the Vulgate Bible. Its text both begins and ends mid-verse, albeit in2 different, consecutive, Books of the Bible.

First we consider a detail of the opening of Book I of Maccabees.  This passage stands prominently at the top of the right-hand column (column “b”) on the verso of the detached leaf, below the partial running title set out in the upper margin in capitals alternately red and blue, with flourishes to either side.

Opening of the Book of Maccabees in Otto Ege MS 19. Private Collection.

Opening of the Book of Maccabees in Otto Ege MS 19. Private Collection.

The inset, block-like 8-line initial E (for Et =”And”) stands within the text.  Enclosed within a more-or-less rectangular frame. the initial has geometric, foliate, and dragonesque decoration within its arms and in the background. The creature has a snake- or slug-like body with branching, scrolling foliate tail.  With rounded ear and anticipatory expression, the creature’s head faces left and opens its jaws wide around a bubble-like motif.  Similar motifs decorate its back and part of the background.  Elements of gold leaf add richness to the polychrome painted initial, which includes red and brilliant blue pigments.

The column of text begins with the opening title (employing abbreviations) written in red in the first line (line “b1”), declaring that “[Here] begins Book 1 of the Maccabees”.  There follows the first line of Chapter 1, set out in elaborate display script in black ink, with highlights rendered in strokes of red pigment.  Then come the standard lines of text written in black ink.  The initials for the verses or sub-sections thereof are highlighted by a stroke of red pigment.  The grid of parallel rulings to guide the lines of script provides them with extended underlines, grounding every one.

While we’re looking at this passage, it’s worth noting, for example, the eagerly open-mouthed head facing left of the dragon-like creature within the lower counter of the decorated initial E, and the doubled correction for a mistake in copying at the beginning of line 3 of text.  There, the word postquam (“after) was written twice in succession, both times in an abbreviated version, but not in the same abbreviated way.  The second version (postq:) is left to stand.  Nestled beside the decorated initial, the first version (p’tq’) for the mistakenly repeated word postquam is cancelled in two ways — both of them characteristic for medieval manuscripts.  The more concise abbreviation is cancelled both by a set of dots (in ink) below the letters and by a horizontal line of red pigment across the whole word.

These traces show that attention to the text and care for its accuracy belonged to both the copying of the text and the rubricating, as two participating stages in the process covered the tracks.  These concerted stages are representative of the approach in this manuscript to producing an accurate and viable, as well as portable, copy of the Vulgate Bible intended for practical use.  At the same time, the multiple errors in transcription imply a non-leisurely approach to the work of copying its long text.

The Span of Text

The text on the leaf begins and ends mid-verse.   Both sides have running titles in the top margin.  On the recto, centered above the double columns, the partial title –CHIAS completes the name [MALI-/]CHIAS spread across the double-page opening of the original manuscript.  On the verso, the 2-word running title centers each word (or part-word) above each column:  P[RO]LOGVS / MACHA-, with the completion of the name of Maccabees in the genitive plural case (probably abbreviated, more-or-less like the opening title for this Book) on the next recto, presumably centered between its two columns of text.  These running titles are formed in decorative Capitals, alternately red and blue, flanked by a pair of pen-flourishes extending to either side from a rounded ball-like element and tapering into a curled or coiled tip.

The Recto

The recto opens within Malachi 2:13 ([Et hoc rursum fecistis /] Operiebatis lacrimas altare domini) and continues to the end of the Book (at 4:10) near the bottom of column b.  Then it offers a 2-line rubricated title which closes that Book and introduces the Prologue by Jerome (the translator of the Vulgate Version of the Bible) to the Book(s) of Maccabees.  That Prologue occupies the last 8 lines of text, before turning to the verso for most of its column a.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Detached leaf from Ege Manuscript 19, recto, with the end of the Book of Malachi in the Old Testament.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Leaf from Ege Manuscript 19, recto.

The closing Chapters of Malachi are identified by their numerals.  The numeral for Chapter III stands prominently within the column, placed in the space at the end of the line closing Chapter II.  Its treatment resembles the running titles, with alternating colors and flanking pen-flourishes.  The numeral for Chapter IIII, in contrast, has to stand in the outer margin, opposite the opening line of the chapter.  Made in ink in stubby vertical strokes, flanked by medial dots (designating them as a numeral, medieval-style), this entry has to correct, after the fact, the omission of the numeral within the column, whereby the chapter opening is treated only as if it is a verse or section — that is, with a slightly enlarged initial letter in ink, highlighted with a stroke or wash of red pigment.

J. S. Wagner Collection, Ege Leaf 19, recto, detail. Middle of page, with the openings of both Chapters III and IV ("IIII") of the Book of Malachi..

J. S. Wagner Collection, Ege Leaf 19, recto, detail. Openings of Chapters III and IV (“IIII”) of the Book of Malachi.

The enlarged and decorated initials for Chapter III in column a and for the Prologue for Maccabees in column b take prominence by virtue of size (2-line for the Chapter and 4-line for the Prologue) as well as embellishment, with pen-flourishes in red filling their interiors and extending beside the column into the lower margin.  The flourishes of the Chapter initial extend, moreover, most of the height of the column.  The Prologue initial D, flanked by pen-flourishes also in blue, contains jagged tooth-like segments of geometric ornament.

Several corrections adapt the text.  The insertion of an omitted ad stands in ink in the intercolumn, with a matching signe-de-renvoi to indicate the rightful position within the line to the left, for accedam + ad est (3:5).

The others stand in the margin prominently to the left of column a.  Framed within more-or-less rectangular outlines of red pigment, written in ink, and accompanied by signes-de-renvoi, they supply single words to insert into the adjacent line at the indicated place, for example to replace the underlined offender, as with  f[o]ed[er]is for pulcheritas in verse 2:14 and eu[m] for e[nim] in verse 2:17.

The Verso

On the verso, the Book of Malachi ends low in column a.  It is directly followed by the brief Argumentum (“Summary”) for the Books of Maccabees (I–II), which completes the column, along with its own closing title.  The opening of I Maccabees (described above) fills all of column b, leading to the next leaf in the original manuscript in its original state.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Detached leaf from Otto Ege Manuscript 19, verso, with the opening of Book I of Macabees in the Old Testament.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Leaf from Ege Manuscript 19, verso.

In column a, the rubricated closing title for Malachi has to squeeze into the short space at the line-ending:  Explic[it] p[ro]lo[gus] (“The Prologue ends”).  Directly there begins the text of the Argumentum, which fills the rest of the column in 10 lines, closing with its own concluding title:  Explicit argum[e]ntum.  In the transition between Malachi and the Argumentum, the second half of the rubricated title in the pair of concluding/opening titles stands to the left in the margin, with its first element partly obscured in the image:  [Inci]p[it] a[r]gume[e]ntu[m] (“The Summary begins”).  Manifestly, the rubricator had to adopt this split-level layout when the full version could not fit into the compressed space at the line-ending, as had been left by the scribe.

J. S. Wagner Collection, Ege Leaf 19, verso, detail. Lower portion, with end of the Book of Malachi, the Argumentum ("Summary") of the Books of Maccabees, and part of the text of I Maccabees.

J. S. Wagner Collection, Ege Leaf 19, verso, detail.

Resembling the treatment of the Chapter initial on the recto, the 2-line initial M (for Machab[e]orum) of the Summary has blue pen-flourishes descending into the lower margin.

At the bottom of the column, the text breaks off within verse 1:21, thus:  Et conuertit [/ Antiochus].

The direct continuation, if it survives, could identify which leaf from the original manuscript directly followed this one.  Likewise, the leaf preceding this one would have ended within Malachi 2:13, at Et hoc rursum fecistis / leading to Opiebatis at the top of “our” recto.

The Position of the Leaf within Ege’s Distribution Patterns

Primarily, the dismembered leaves from Ege’s “Manuscript 19” served as source for distribution as single leaves within one of his most notable Portfolios, or Leaf-Books, showcasing specimens of manuscripts or printed books as examples of graphic design.  Ege’s different Portfolios, having elaborate titles and focusing variously upon Famous Bibles (in 2 versions or Series), Famous Books (also in 2 versions), Oriental Leaves, Evolution of Black Letter Type, Evolution of Roman Type, and “FOL” are conveniently listed in Scott Gwara’s Handlist, Appendixes I–VIII (pages 95–107).  Some collections now have more than one of them, where they might be viewed side-by-side.  Examples include the FOL Portfolio and both Series of Famous Bibles at the Cincinnati Public Library.

Three Ege Portfolios. "Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts", "Original Leaves from Famous Books" (Series A in "Eight Centuries"), and "Original Leaves from Famous Bibles" (Series B in "Nine Centuries"). From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Reproduced by permission. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Three Ege Portfolios. “From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Ege’s different Portfolios, among other representatives of the genre, are described in Christopher de Hamel and Joel Silver, Disbound and Dispersed:  The Leaf Book Considered (2005).  There, 2 of them (Bibles and Famous Books) figure as numbers 14 (pages 74–75) and 20 (pages 79–82) in the “Catalog of the Exhibition”, and all of them appear in “A Checklist of Leaf Books” as numbers 21 (page 110), 51 (page 114), 68 (page 116), 73 (page 117), 85 (number 85), and 97–98 (page 120) — said to have been issued in a range from 1923 to 1949.  The “Appendixes” in Gwara’s Handlist report their extant sets in various collections (mostly public) around the world. WorldCat lists some of them (to date 25 worldwide ).

The Boxed Portfolio in Numbered Sets

FOL contains Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Western Europe:  XII–XVI Century.  The Portfolio was issued, with a printed Contents List, in 40 numbered sets.  One or more unnumbered sets are also known.  (On that numbering or not, see, for example, Gwara, Handlist, Appendix VIII, pages 124–125.)

As issued, the 50 specimens of FOL were placed within a clam-shell portfolio box covered with buckram.  A black rectangular panel with gold titling was applied to both the front cover and the spine, in 2 different sizes.  Their statements name the full title on the front, and both the author (or compiler) and a concise title on the spine (abbreviation “MSS.” included).

Otto Ege's Portfolio of 'Fifty Original Leaves', Set 3. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio.

Otto Ege’s Portfolio of ‘Fifty Original Leaves’, Set 3. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio.

Opening the Box

The inside front cover has another rectangular panel, printed on paper, pasted near the lower right corner, declaring the number of the limited edition and leaving a blank line for the number of the individual set.  Within a bordered frame, its text declares:  “Edition limited to forty numbered sets, of which this set is No. ____”.  For example, the set now at Yale University in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, known as “the Ege Family Portfolio”, carries the number “3”.

Number 3 (of 40) in the FOL Portfolio. Otto Ege Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Reproduced by permission. Photography by Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, FOL Portfolio Label. Photography by Mildred Budny.

Topmost on the stack of specimen Leaves stands the loose leaf carrying the printed Contents List on a single page. It describes the scope of the enterprise in a couple of paragraphs and presents the list of Leaves in a “Chronological Index”, grouped century by century.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio, opened at the front, showing the Contents List. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio, opened at the front. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

A Stack of Loose Leaves, Ordered by Number

Interior View of the Family Album (Set Number 3) of Otto Ege's Portfolio of 'Fifty Original Leaves' (FOL). Otto Ege Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Interior View of the Family Album (Set Number 3) of Otto Ege’s Portfolio of ‘Fifty Original Leaves’. Otto Ege Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Each of the 50 numbered Specimen Leaves is mounted between a hinged pair of paper boards or mats.  The manuscript leaf is hinged by 2 or 3 strips of linen tape to the back board.   The front board has a window which both shows the front (or Ege-chosen front) of the leaf and hides its outer edges.  To the lower outer front is attached a printed label which gives Ege’s Leaf Number and his brief description of the manuscript, the style of script, the genre of book, and/or some cultural amd historical observations.  Affixed to the back of the unit by a slender extension (or “stub”), the label can be lifted at the front, just as the sandwiched pair of mats can be opened (permission being granted) to reveal its “meat” or filling.  Not infrequently, Ege’s pencil inscriptions along the lower front of the mat supply some elements of description concerning the leaf, its attribution, and the like.  Sometimes, others’ pencil inscriptions gather in the same location.

All these features pertain to Leaf 19 in the “Ege Family Portfolio” at the Beinecke.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves ("FOL") of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, Photography by Mildred Budny.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves (“FOL”) of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, Photography by Mildred Budny.

The Loose Leaves or “Strays”

Given the arrangement of the Portfolio as a set of loose leaves, comprising specimens of manuscripts — usually as single leaves, rarely as bifolia in conjoint pairs of leaves — within individual matted frames (attached labels usually included), it was not difficult for those individuals to migrate, with or without some of their companions.  Some known sets lack their full stack of 50 specimens.  Such appears to be the case, for example, with the Beinecke “Family Folio”.  According to a handwritten note dated 8.28.04 on a piece of paper within this portfolio, “Leaves 39 and 45 seem to be missing”.

Some matted and labelled specimens were sold on their own, by Ege and by others.  They turn up in various collections.  Such may be the case with the Wagner Ege Leaf.

Occasionally, a single, matted specimen from an Ege manuscript travelled to its current collection retaining the clipped seller’s label identifiable as an item in the printed 1944 Catalogue of 101 Original Leaves & Sets of Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Incunabula, Famous Bibles, and Noted Presses (portfolios, manuscript pages, miniatures, and printed leaves from Ege’s Collection) offered for sale through the Lima Public Library Staff Relief Fund.  I was able to recognize this source for the cropped slip of printed paper pasted to a remnant of the matted leaf from the leaf of Ege Manuscript 61 now in California (Item 26 in that sale catalogue, with a price of $20.00) — leading to More Discoveries for ‘Otto Ege Manuscript 61’ .

Part of Ege-Style Mat and Label for Item 26 ('1310 A.D. France') accompanying the Leaf at the Courtesy of Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. Reproduced by permission.

Courtesy of Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. Reproduced by permission.

More often, however, whether matted or unmatted, single leaves from Ege’s dispersed manuscripts appear to arrive at their current collections without identifiable tracks of passage, or without retaining them once they have arrived.  Some cases of the dispersed leaves appear to have left Ege’s Collection on their own, while some may derive from partly dispersed — or rearranged — Portfolios.    The changed Leaf or Item number 19 > 13 on the Wagner leaf may imply the latter.

A Specimen from Leaf 19 When in its Ege Mat and in its Portfolio

As said, when in position in the FOL Portfolio, Leaf 19 stands customarily within its windowed cream-colored paper mat which partly obscures the leaf by the cropped window view.  Ege’s printed label is attached at the lower left, wrapped around the mat by a narrow folded extension (or stub) attached to its back.

In the Ege Family Portfolio at the Beinecke, the leaf comprises a particularly fine specimen.  As visible through the mat, its front presents a pair of illuminated initials — both of them Ps for the author Paulus — belongs to the Pauline Epistles in the New Testament portion of the dismembered Bible.  Namely, from the end of the Epistle to the Colossians and the beginning of I Thessalonians.  (The precise span of text is identified below.)  On the front of the mat, partly obscured by the printed label, there stretches a pencil single-line inscription identifying the leaf.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves ("FOL") of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, Photography by Mildred Budny.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, recto, within its mat. Photography by Mildred Budny.

Opening the windowed, door-like front board of the mat reveals the front side of the leaf in full.  Among other things, the trimmed, or ‘beheaded’ folio number in ink can be seen at the upper right corner.  Likewise the unevenly trimmed inner edge shows some notched incurvations left over from the formerly rounded holes of the sewing for binding the quires into the volume.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves ("FOL") of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, recto. Photography by Mildred Budny.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves (“FOL”) of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, recto. Photography by Mildred Budny.

Turning the leaf over to inspect the verso reveals not only it but also the pair of linen tapes which hinge the leaf to the back board.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves ("FOL") of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, verso. Photography by Mildred Budny.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves (“FOL”) of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Leaf 19, verso. Photography by Mildred Budny.

In this case, that view also reveals the catchwords (or catchphrase) enclosed within an outlined rectangular frame at the lower right on the page, showing that this leaf ended a quire. As a cue for the assembly of the quires within the Bible, this phrase indicates that the next quire, following the consecutive course of the text in I Thessalonians, would have begun with that very phrase within verse 4:7:  in i[n]munditia[m] — a variant reading for the phrase in inmunditia of the standard edition.  The variant appears also in some other witnesses to the Vulgate text.

In this case, too, lifting the printed label on the front of the mat reveals the full extent of the pencil inscription, scrawled in rapid script across the bottom.  It states:

1285 Italy (Florence probably) Da[m? . ]i[an?]

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves ("FOL") of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Detail of Mat for Leaf 19, with identifying pencil inscription. Photography by Mildred Budny.

New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves (“FOL”) of Medieval Western Manuscripts, Detail of Mat for Leaf 19. Photography by Mildred Budny.

The Printed Label

Composed and printed by Ege, the printed label, including the numeral 19 at top right, designates its intended position and that of the leaf within the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves.  In the assembled Portfolio, it — leaf, label, mat, and all — would stand as Specimen Leaf Number 19 of 50.  The renumbering of the label for the Wagner Leaf from 19 > 13 appears, however, to revise that position and those intentions.

Printed label by Otto Label fir his Specimen of Leaf 19 in the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts. Western Europe, XII-XVI Century

Printed label by Otto Label fir his Specimen of Leaf 19 in the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts. Western Europe, XII-XVI Century

Ege’s printed label provides a brief caption identifying salient characteristics of the specimen within the history (according to Ege) of book-production and book-design.  According to Ege:

At this period, the St. Jerome Bible was not transcribed as often as one would expect in the country of its origin and the very land which held the seat of the Roman Church. During the greater part of the XIIIth century, while the popes were greatly concerned with gaining political power, art was at a low ebb in Italy, and religious manuscripts were comparatively few and far inferior to the work of monastic scribes in Germany, France, and England. But with the great wealth accumulating in Italy during the XIVth century through commerce and the Crusades, this country soon surpassed in richness as well as in numbers the manuscript output of all other nationalities.

The rich black lettering of this manuscript is in the transitional rotunda script and is executed with skill and beauty. It is supplemented by initial letters in rich ultramarine blue and deep cinnabar (vermilion), which colors are reflected in the ornament of the romanesque capitals. All of these factors combine to indicate that the manuscript was executed in central Italy, possibly at Florence.

Nowadays, in assessing the probable date and origin of this now-dispersed manuscript, research might look elsewhere, at least in part.  For example, for his Handlist of Ege Manuscripts, Scott Gwara attributed the production of the manuscript to elsewhere in central Italy, say in Bologna, on account of the script, but elsewhere than Italy, say in Paris, for the style of the decoration and illumination, when he described it as “Italy (possibly Bologna, with Paris illuminations), circa 1275” (Gwara, Handlist, No. 19, page 124.)

Ege’s Source for the Manuscript When Intact:
The (or A) Lacaita Vultate Bible

Ege acquired this folio Bible manuscript while it was still intact.  It was sold at Sotheby’s, London, on 20 July 1936, as lot 20.  It appears in the Catalogue of valuable printed books, illuminated and other manuscripts, autograph letters, Persian and Indian miniatures, etc. . . . which will be sold by auction . . . on Monday, 20th of July, 1936, and two following days (London:  Sotheby & Co., 1936), lot 20.

(I have yet to see that auction catalogue.  My research on this manuscript had reached the stage of seeking to examine this catalogue entry in early March 2020, when the institutional library holding it, the Grolier Club, had to close its doors for visits by researchers and for the work of staff onsite.)

Until that entry becomes accessible to view, it is possible to identify some relevant points.  The book came from the collection of Sir Joseph Lacaita (1813–1895) — lawyer, politician, scholar, bibliographer, and authority on Dante — which his son Charles Carmichael Lacaita (1853–1933) had inherited, and from whose estate in turn came this Bible.  Given Sir Joseph’s origins, travels, and sojourns in various countries, including Italy, and his wide range of connections, the time, place, and source for his acquisition of this Bible appear to remain open.

The manuscript does not appear in the 1937 Census report of a “selection” of manuscripts in Ege’s collection, then housed at 1888 South Compton Road, Cleveland, Ohio. The Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, by Seymour de Ricci with the assistance of W. J. Wilson (New York, 3 vols., 1935–1940), Volume II (1937), pages 1937–1948, lists 71 manuscripts, and alludes to more.  The Census does include a manuscript which Ege acquired in 1935, the year before the sale of Lacaita’s Bible:  Handlist 82 (a 15th-century Antiphonal from Flanders) = Census number 68 (at page 1947).

Parts of the dismembered Lacaita Bible manuscript went through Sotheby’s London saleroom again when it was sold, along with other parts of Ege’s manuscripts, at Sotheby’s, London, among Western Manuscripts and Miniatures (Tuesday 26th November 1985), as lot 60 (page 55), accorded no illustration. The sale included “fifty-four lots from the library of Otto E. Ege” (lots 39–92), amounting to “the residue of residue of the single leaf collection”.

Lot 60 comprised “Eighteen Leaves from a Latin Bible”, attributed to “Italy, c. 1300”.  Mostly single leaves (with 1 bifolium), they included “chapter initials throughout in red or blue with good contrasting penwork, NINE LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS in designs of flowers and dragons in colour and burnished gold, foliation in red in a post-medieval Italian hand (now slightly cropped), generally in fine condition”.  The entry does not identify to which parts of the Bible the text on these leaves belong, but it describes the group as coming from “a finely written Bible probably illuminated in northern Europe, perhaps in Paris where stationers evidently decorated Bolognese manuscripts for resale”.

According to Scott Gwara, “this beautiful and curious” Bible — “curious” perhaps because of the combination of Italian script and French illumination — is one of “Ege’s most decorative, clean, and complete manuscripts”, perhaps drawn from his personal collection specifically for FOL (Handlist , pages 33 and note 85 and pages 45 and 72).

The Dismembered Leaves in their Settings

The accompanying label, printed by Ege, including the printed numeral 19, designates its intended position within the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves as Specimen Leaf Number 19 of 50.

Increasingly, as interest in Ege’s manuscripts and their patterns of dispersal become subjects of detailed and collaborative examination, especially surrounding that Portfolio (sometimes known by its acronyn FOL), more specimens surviving from that manuscript are recognized.  As characteristic for dispersal patterns of Ege’s manuscripts, some belong to the assembly of that Portfolio, while others circulate on their own, variously with Ege’s mats, Ege’s printed labels, Ege’s handwritten descriptions mostly corresponding to those labels (whether inscribed on the leaves themselves or on their mats), typescript descriptions corresponding to the sale of Ege’s dispersed single leaves, or without any identifying indications from Ege whatsoever.

Posts on our blog Manuscript Studies (see its Contents List) illustrate cases of all those approaches in the complex transmission of Ege Manuscripts.

Some of our posts report the discovery and identification of various dispersed fragments from Otto Ege’s collection and creative Portfolios.  So far, we have focused on these manuscripts, which found distribution in a variety of ways, including within several of Ege’s Portfolios (Famous Bibles, in 2 versions; Famous Books, in 2 versions, and FOL).  Now with the Wagner Leaf and its companions in Ege Manuscript 19, 4 of these manuscripts fall within the FOL Portfolio (Ege Manuscripts 1–50).

  • Ege Manuscript 19 (You are Here)

Different sizes, different genres, different texts.  Same variety of Ege’s dispersal patterns, same predicament.

Other Leaves from ‘Otto Ege Manuscript 19’

A growing number of leaves from this dismembered manuscript come into view and appear online, as collections (both institutional and individual) reveal their images, and as the leaves come to be recognized.

Several sources identify present locations of the sets of FOL Portfolios.  For example:

  • Gwara, Handlist, Appendix VIII (pages 106–107) lists 31 extant FOL Portfolios (plus 3 more lost or untraced).
  • WorldCat lists some of them (to date 25 worldwide ).
  • The Otto F. Ege Palaeography Portfolio lists 23 extant Portfolios, and notes some online finding aids for them.
  • The Denison University site lists 19 collections in North America, and provides images (usually both recto and verso) for their specimens of the FOL Leaves, including Leaf 19 .

For Leaf 19, some FOL sets are available online in various locations.  Gwara, Handlist, Number 19 (page 124) also lists a few individual Leaves in collections in Vermont, Colorado, and New Hampshire, plus several occurrences in sales catalogues and other sources.

As noted above, a group of 18 leaves evidently from this manuscript formed lot 60 in a sale of 54 lots (lots 39–92) of “Manuscripts from the Collection of Otto F. Ege” at Sotheby’s.  The catalogue of Western Manuscripts and Miniatures sold in London on Tuesday 26th November 1985 includes no plate but describes the lot thus, in full:

EIGHTEEN LEAVES FROM A LATIN BIBLE, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [ITALY, C. 1300]

18 leaves, mostly detached (one bifolium), double column, 48 lines, written-space 152mm. by 105mm., chapter initials throughout in red or blue with good contrasting penwork, NINE LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS in designs of flowers and dragons in colour and burnished gold, foliation in ink in a post-medieval Italian hand (now slightly cropped), generally in fine condition (235mm. by 170mm.)

A finely written Bible probably illuminated in northern Europe, perhaps in Paris where stationers evidently decorated Bolognese manuscripts for resale.

Given the generic description, without any indications of the spans of text, there might be little way of tracking the current whereabouts of the group or its parts.  Unless the group remains “intact” as such, its portions could have passed through further hands individually or in smaller groups, so as (silently) to comprise one or other leaves (or a bifolium) in sales subsequently.

A Preliminary Reconstruction

To mention a few cases, mostly appearing within FOL, and taking them in the standard Vulgate order (although not always do the extant Vulgate manuscripts present the Books in that standard order):

I.  Old Testament

Cleveland Institute of Art
Folio 36
Exodus 40:27–36 and Leviticus 1:1 – 4:26

Kent State University
Leviticus 27:10-34 and Numbers 1:1-20 on the RECTO (the verso is at present unavailable to view)

University of Minnesota
III Kings 22:30 – IV Kings 1:6
— with the original recto turned to the verso, so as to display the Book initial on the front of the leaf within Ege’s mat

Denison University
3 Esdras 9:14–56, Jerome’s Prologue to Tobit, and Tobit 1:1 – 2:13

University of Saskatchewan
Tobias 14:14, Jerome’s Prologue to Judith, and Judith 1:1 – 5:2

Ohio State University
Folio 204
Job 40:8- 42:11-16, Jerome’s prologue to Psalms, and Psalms 1:1-2:1
— with the original recto turned to the verso, so as to display the Book initial on the front of the leaf within Ege’s mat

Kenyon College
Proverbs 1:1 – 4:26

Stony Brook University
Folio 246
Wisdom 18:23 – 19:20, Jerome’s Prologue to Ecclesiasticus, and Ecclesiasticus 1:1 – 9:9
— with the original recto turned to the verso, so as to display the Book initial on the front of the leaf within Ege’s mat

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 19, 'verso'. Single leaf from Vulgate Bible, with part of the Old Testament. Public Domain.

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 19, ‘verso’. Public Domain.

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 19, 'recto'. Single leaf from Vulgate Bible, with part of the Old Testament. Public Domain.

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 19, ‘recto’. Public Domain.

Cleveland Public Library
Ecclesiastes 12:10–14 and Song of Songs 1:1 – 5:10

University of Massachusetts, Amherst and 19
Song of Songs 8:6–14, Prologue to Wisdom, and Wisdom 1:1 – 2:7 on the RECTO [recte the original VERSO]
— with the original verso turned to the recto, so as to display the Book initial on the front of the leaf within Ege’s mat

University of Colorado, Boulder and Guide to the Otto Ege Collection of Medieval Manuscripts
Minor Prophets II–III: Joel 3:1–21; Prologue to Amos by Hugo of Saint Cher, Jerome’s prologue to Amos, and Amos 1:1 – 3:5

Wagner Leaf (You are Here)
Minor Prophets XII:  Malachi (2:13 – 4:10); Jerome’s Prologue to Maccabees,  Argumentum, and I Maccabees 1:1–21

II. New Testament

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Family Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves, Leaf 19, recto. Photography by Mildred Budny.

Cincinnati Public Library
Folio 424?
Pauline Epistles II:  I Corinthians 16:6-24 and II Corinthians 1:1 – 4:15

University of South Carolina
Folio 426?
Pauline Epistles II–III:  II Corinthians 13:10–13 and Galatians 1:1 – 4:13

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (see above)
Pauline Epistles VI–VII:  Colossians 4:1–18, Argumentum, and I Thessalonians 1:1 – 4:7 (plus catchwords)

Lima Public Library
Pauline Epistles VIII–XI:  II Timothy 4:22, Titus 1:1 – 3:9-15, Philemon, and Hebrews 1:1–6)

Ohio University
Catholic Epistles I:  James 1:1 – 5:3

Rochester Institute of Technology
Catholic Epistles I–II: James 5:3–20 and 1 Peter 1:1–17 on the RECTO (the verso is unavailable to view)

University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Folio 456
Catholic Epistles IV–VII:  1 John from 3:18 (non diligamus /] verbo nec lingua) to end (5:21), Argumentum, 2 John, Argumentum, 3 John, Argumentum, and Jude 1:1–5 (qui non [/ crederunt perdidit])
— with the original verso turned to the recto, so as to display the 3 Book initials on the front of the leaf within Ege’s mat

Recto of leaf

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Leaf from Ege MS 14, original recto. Image Public Domain.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Leaf from Ege MS 14, original recto. Image Public Domain.

Verso of leaf

UNCG University Libraries, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Leaf from Ege MS 14, original verso. Image Public Domain.

UNCG University Libraries, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Leaf from Ege MS 14, original verso. Image Public Domain.

Case Western Reserve University
Folio 457?
Catholic Epistles VII:  Jude 1:5–25; Jerome’s prologue to the Apocalypse and Apocalypse 1:1 – 2:24

Ege’s Principles for Selection for the Portfolio

Regarding Leaf 19, the site for the Otto F. Ege Collection:  The Ege Manuscript Leaf Portfolios at ege,denison.edu makes these Observations:

The leaves from this bible provide us with clear insight into Otto Ege’s selection method. All the Leaf 19s we have seen contain a large beautiful initial letter denoting the start of a new book of the Bible — thus we can expect that all of the rest of the specimens of Leaf 19 in the Ege portfolios are leaves that contain the ending of one Biblical book and the beginning of another, and we can assume that Ege chose them for the sake of the single large decorated initial. Apart from the arresting initial, the leaves contain red and blue ink scrollwork, with headers in alternating red and blue. Missing pieces of text (sometimes fairly lengthy ones) have attention drawn to them by being outlined in red.

Given the matted leaves from Ege Manuscript 19 found in the FOL Portfolio and in other dispersed contexts — like the Wagner Leaf —  this Observation appears to be apposite.

The Conversion of Ege Manuscript Number “19” to Number “13” for the Wagner Leaf

Curiously, however, the printed label for the leaf in the Wagner collection has a set of alterations or corrections in pencil converting the Specimen or Leaf number to “13”.  Ege’s printed number “19” at the top right is crossed out with 2 strokes in pencil (horizontal and diagonal respectively), the number “13” is entered below it in larger numerals, and another iteration at similar scale stands at the bottom left:  “#13”.

Why, might we ask?

J. S. Wagner Collection. Otto Ege's printed Label for his Specimens of Leaf 19 in the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts. Western Europe, XII-XVI Century. The printed number 19 is altered in pencil to '13'.

J. S. Wagner Collection. Otto Ege’s printed Label for his Specimens of Leaf 19 in the Portfolio of Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts. Western Europe, XII-XVI Century.

Not to be Confused with FOL Leaf 13

It cannot be that the renumbering attempted to re-identify the specimen as belonging instead to ‘Ege Manuscript 13’.

Although likewise a Vulgate Bible, that Ege manuscript is different, not only in format.  It is pocket-sized, while Ege MS 19 is “portable”, a step up in size and weight.  Ege identified that one as an “Oxford Bible” from England, dating from the “Middle XIIIth Century” and written in “Angular Gothic Script”. The difference between the two volumes is clear, as seen in specimens of FOL Leaf 13.

Here is Leaf 13 (in FOL Set number 19), now at Stony Brook University, with part of Pauline Epistle I to the Romans, from Chapters 8 to 12.  As displayed in its mat, the specimen turns its original verso to the recto.  To the original recto are affixed Ege’s characteristic linen tapes hinging it to the mat.

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 13, 'verso'. Public Domain.

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 13, ‘verso’. Public Domain.

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 13, 'recto'. Public Domain.

Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries, Otto F. Ege: Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts, Leaf 13, ‘recto’. Public Domain.

Exchanging Mats Between Leaves and Vice Versa

Once the manuscripts had been selected for inclusion in the Portfolio, and the specimen Leaves were set into its sequence, then their positions within that sequence were reported both in its printed Contents List (shown above) and on their individual printed labels.  As part of these processes, and probably in overlapping stages with each other, the mats of uniform dimensions overall for the whole sequence were prepared, but employing differently-sized windows for the specific Leaves, so as to accommodate their various sizes within a harmonious whole.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio, Leaves 42 and 43 in their mats side-by-side, with their printed labels. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. FOL, Leaves 42 and 43. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio, Leaves 35 and 36 in their mats, side-by-side, with printed labels. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. FOL, Leaves 35 and 36. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

The largest and the smallest of the specimens in FOL are Leaves 42 (at the left) and 36 (at the right).  They are respectively an imposing Choir Psalter and a tiny Book of Hours.  The size of the largest determined the overall size of the mats; the different Leaves determined the sizes of their windows.

The evidence shows that sometimes an existing mat, prepared for one Leaf, would be pressed into service for another — and not necessarily one in the same Portfolio, or even in the same set of a given Portfolio.  If necessary, the reused mat would be recut to fit the new (that is, larger) choice. On occasion, the windowed mat could be flipped around, to take its new place.  So, too, a given set might combine mats whose fronts have blank cream-colored surfaces — apart, that is, from any pencil inscriptions and the overlap of printed labels — and mats which carry Ege’s characteristic frameworks of narrow red lines.

The mat of Leaf 27 in the Ege Family Portfolio at the Beinecke exhibits reuse of such kind, as revealed when the mat is opened to inspect the leaf itself.  Ege’s Leaf 27 comes from a Gradual, made in Italy circa 1500.  On that manuscript, see, for example, Gwara, Handlist, 27 (page 127).  Here, in Portfolio Set Number 3, the front board of its mat had at first a different purpose.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio, Leaf 27, with the mat opened, to reveal the full size of the specimen leaf from a Gradual manuscript and the inside of the window mat. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection. The Ege Family Portfolio, Leaf 27, with the mat opened and remnants of Ege’s red lines for an earlier window. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

As now positioned, the front board turns its original front backwards, facing the specimen Leaf mounted on the back board.  This side of the board possesses the red framing lines characteristic of many Ege mounts.  It also carries the characteristic pencil inscriptions identifying the contents.  In its present position, the frame stands upside-down, with its pencil inscriptions inverted.  Viewed upright, they pertain to a different manuscript.

Beinecke FOL 27 interior of reused mat turned upright

The inscriptions take up different positions across the bottom, at far left, far right, and center.  The inscriptions at center and right declare the specimen to be:

Virgin & Child
circa 1430 A D France     Book of Hours          $100.00

Some differences in alignments and softness or sharpness of the pencil(s) imply that the central inscription was entered in stages, presumably as the assessment of the date and its approximation came to be entered in increments.  The price demonstrates that the specimen was intended for sale; perhaps it remained unsold or was withdrawn from sale.  Likewise in pencil, but in firmer, larger form, the inscription at the left designates the position in a sequence:  #23.

The particular Book of Hours and its image of the Virgin and Child have not yet been identified.  Out of the many Books of Hours which Ege possessed and fragmented (listed in Gwara, Handlist, “Index of Manuscripts by Contents”, at pages 323–324), there are, within FOL alone, 4 Books of Hours said to be from France, dated to “Middle XVth Century”.  They are his Leaves 28, 29, 30, and 31 (Gwara, Handlist, pages 127–128), with Leaf 31 further specified as “1435 A. D.”.

Placing the price at the bottom right on an Ege mat is characteristic.

#13 in a Different Sequence

Instead, it seems likely that the renumbering of 19 > 13 on the label for the Wagner Leaf involved either the reworking of a particular Portfolio, to accommodate the removal of 7 of the preceding specimens (from among Leaves 1–18), and then renumbering the remaining set, or coming up with a different sequence altogether, for whatever reasons.

If the former case, it seems impossible (at present) to know if other Leaves from the same Portfolio set in the sequence higher than its original Leaf 19 were similarly removed, thereby reducing the original set of 50 Leaves by even more specimens than those presumed 7 before the 19 to produce a revised series of 13.

Interior View of the Family Album (Set Number 3) of Otto Ege's Portfolio of 'Fifty Original Leaves' (FOL). Otto Ege Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Otto Ege Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Interior view of the Ege Family Album. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Given the loose “Leaves” placed within the Portfolios, it would not be difficult to rearrange their order or to remove some altogether.  Some extant Portfolios do not retain their full series, to various extents.  Examples include the Ege Family Portfolio at the Beinecke and the Famous Bibles Portfolio at the University of Pennsylvania.

Perhaps further examination — of extant Portfolios, “Stray” Leaves removed from various of the FOL Portfolio sets, and the matted Leaves sold on their own after the selection for the FOL Portfolio had been accomplished — could reveal the answer.  For example, we might seek to look for other examples of Ege labels renumbered by the same hand on the (or, rather, some of the) Specimens in a specific (but now reduced) FOL Portfolio.

Features of the Wagner Leaf from Ege MS 19 and its accompanying label provide a welcome spur for continued work on this manuscript and other manuscripts which passed through Otto Ege’s hands.  We look forward to future advances for these subjects.

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Post Script

The chance to examine the Wagner Leaf, in the context of long-term and on-going research on the dispersal and virtual reconstruction of Ege manuscripts, workshop practices, and related materials, has given the chance to report more of the cumulative observations gathered during the process.

This report for Ege MS 19 joins other reports for Ege manuscripts in our blog.  (See the Contents List.)

This report also offers an opportunity to record some of the results of research which would have been presented in the session on “The Legacy of the Biblioclast Otto Ege” sponsored by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and organized by Elizabeth L. Hebbard and Gina Marie Hurley at the 2020 International Congress on Medieval Studies, which had to be cancelled as a whole, or postponed for the next Congress. My paper aimed to examine “The ‘Diaspora’ and Retrievals of Otto Ege Manuscripts: Reflections on Methodologies of Discovery”.

With the cancellation of the 55th Congress, that intended Program joins the full Congress Archive. Customarily the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence publishes the Abstracts for papers in its Sessions planned for the Congress.  It continues to do so for this year’s cancelled Congress. See the announcement of our 2020 International Congress on Medieval Studies Program and Keeping Up: Updates for Spring 2020.

For convenience, the Abstract for my intended Paper on “Otto Ege Manuscripts” now joins our group of published Abstracts for the 2020 Congress, as ‘Otto Ege Manuscripts’: Reflections on Methodologies of Discovery. It may stand as a place-holder or a promise, for which some fruits are presented and illustrated in this post.

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Update (30 July 2020)

Continuing to work on Ege manuscripts — see, for example, Some Leaves in Set 1 of Ege’s FOL Portfolio — and reviewing my store of photographs from parts of them, I can cite other cases of the form of numbering in pencil preceded by hash-tag among Ege materials.  Given their locations and “find-places”, it is now clear that the revision from number 19 to #13 on Ege’s printed label for the Wagner Leaf from Ege Manuscript 19 is attributable to Ege and his Workshop.

The Specimen Leaf 31 in the “Ege Family Folio” in the Otto Ege Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library carries #21 in pencil at the upper right of its recto.  Within the Portfolio, this leaf stands in its mat, accompanied by the label for Leaf 31:

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Ege Family Portfolio, Leaf 31 in mat with label. Photograph Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Ege Family Portfolio, Leaf 31 in mat with label. Photograph Mildred Budny.

Below the mat, the recto of the leaf is revealed in full — although in this case, it is the first recto of a bifolium.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Ege Family Portfolio, Leaf 31 recto. Photograph Mildred Budny.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, Ege Family Portfolio, Leaf 31 recto. Photograph Mildred Budny.

Ege MS 21 is a different sort of manuscript, a Processional, with musical notation.  It would be difficult to confuse one with the other.  The intent of the numbering here remains elusive.

In another case, also in the Otto Ege Collection at the Beinecke, one of the remnants of Ege Manuscript 14, opening a portion or segment from the Book of Numbers, carries the pencil inscription #3 at the lower left.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, "New Acquisitions Exhibition", Ege MS 14: Recto of Leaf from the Book of Numbers (5:88 - 6:26), Lower portion.

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Otto Ege Collection, “New Acquisitions Exhibition”, Ege MS 14: Recto of Leaf from the Book of Numbers (5:88 – 6:26), Lower portion.

This case belongs to an “unused” portion of the manuscript, one of many, which remained behind after the selection processes had ceased.  It even remained after a big bulk or chunk of the manuscript (along with others) was sold by Ege’s family at auction and landed (in large measure at least) at the Schøyen Collection, as its MS 223.

In sum, the alteration in numbering for the printed label of the Wagner Leaf formed a part of the preparation of the leaf within Ege’s collection, and not at some later stage in its transmission from there to its present owner.

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We thank the owner for permission to publish the images and other collections for permission to publish theirs.

Opening of I Macabees in Otto Ege Manuscript 19. J. S. Wagner Collection.

Opening of I Maccabees in Otto Ege Manuscript 19. J. S. Wagner Collection.

Do you know of any other examples from Ege Manuscript 19? Do you recognize the same scribe(s) and the same artist(s) in other works?

Do you recognize this renumbering pattern in others of Ege’s printed labels?

Do you know where I might find a copy of the entry for the sale of this manuscript, while still intact, at Sotheby’s, London, on Monday 20th of July 1936, as lot 20?   It is the Catalogue of valuable printed books, illuminated and other manuscripts, autograph letters, Persian and Indian miniatures, etc. (London:  Sotheby & Co., 1936), lot 20.

Please let us know your suggestions and feedback.  Add your comments here, Contact Us, and visit our Facebook Page.

Watch this space and follow our blog for further research on dispersed manuscripts, those of Otto Ege included.

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