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.

Read the rest of this entry →