Portfolio 93 of Ege’s “Famous Books in Eight Centuries” in the Collection of Richard Weber

June 22, 2022 in Manuscript Studies, Uncategorized

Selected Specimens,
Manuscript and Printed,
in Portfolio 93
of Otto Ege’s Famous Books in Eight Centuries (FBEC)
in the Collection of Richard Weber

[Posted on 21 June 2022]

Richard Weber Collection, Otto Ege Portfolio of Famous Books in Eight Centuries. Aristotle Manuscript (:Ege Manuscript 53″), recto: Folio 23 recto. Reproduced by permission.

With thanks, we offer a preliminary view of the full, and unexpected, glimpse of the Portfolio Number 93, which had been assembled by of Otto Ege (1888–1951) from manuscripts and printed books, so as to exhibit specimens of Famous Books, religious and other, from the medieval period onwards, in the Western middle ages and beyond.

This post offers a start in exploring the treasures in this set of the Portfolio.  Earlier blogposts have begun to examine the structure and elements of the Portfolio both in general and in particular.

This post takes note of the specifics, which hold some surprises.  The post builds upon some previous investigations, which establish points of departure and advances for various of the specimens in the Portfolio, both manuscript and printed.

An earlier blogpost reflected upon such possibilities and complexities.


We had intended to report more on the specimens of printed leaves, and not only the manuscripts, whilst other tasks called for attention.  The time has come to pick up those aspirations.


A Few Highlights from the Portfolio

As Ricbard Weber observes, here are some features of this portfolio that make it very special.

  • 11 extra leaves
  • leaves not called for in the index
  • several first page leaves and chapter heading leaves
  • Kelmscott Press Beowulf first page of text with the elaborate woodcut
  • Ashendene Press The Decameron first page
  • full-page portrait of Marie de Jars de Gournay, Montaigne’s “adopted daughter” with “Montaigne” written on the mat in Otto Ege’s hand

We begin with a few specimens.  More will follow.

Collection of Birgitt G. Lopez, Framed Letter from Lillian Moore Bradshaw, signed and dated 27 October 1998. Reproduced by permission.

This set of the portfolio was purchased from Michael Laird, who reported having purchased it from “a descendant of Otto Ege”.   Perhaps more detailed information might be forthcoming.

Recent blogposts report significant links of transmission directly, at only one remove, from Otto Ege to their present locations.  For example:

Aristotle and Erfurt = Ege Manuscript 51

Shall we start with the Aristotle Manuscript, which Ege claimed to be a production of Erfurt?  Already our earlier posts establish that Ege’s attribution for that manuscript leaves very much to be desired.

Setting it here, for now, are the recto and verso of the specimen in the Richard Weber Collection.  This leaf is Folio 23 from the manuscript, as numbered in the pencil numeration.  Our earlier blogposts describe the significance of that numeration.  It establishes both the position of the leaf within the original sequence and its claim to be part of the original volumes.   See this report:

There is more to say about these pages and the Portfolio.

Let us start here.

Original Recto

This page is turned backward, as a Verso, in Ege’s orientation.  Note the hinged gauze tapes which adhere the leaf to the back mat and allow the leaf, with care, to turn to show its other side.

Richard Weber Collection, Otto Ege Portfolio of Famous Books in Eight Centuries. Aristotle Manuscript, recto: Folio 23 recto. Reproduced by permission

Original Verso

Collection of Richard Weber. Folio 23 from ‘Otto Ege Manuscript 51’, Verso. Reproduced by permission.


More to come.

Watch this space


Do you know of more leaves from this manuscript? Do you recognize the hands of the scribe in other parts of this book or in other manuscripts?

You might reach us via Contact Us or our Facebook Page. Comments here are welcome too. We look forward to hearing from you.

Watch our blog on Manuscript Studies for more discoveries. Please visit its Contents List.