Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts
Rule of the Ambrosian Society
Date of origin:After 1492.
Place of origin:Milan, Italy
Numbered in a contemporary hand in roman numerals in red at the top center of every leaf up to fol. 49 (actually 50). Numbered in lead in arabic numerals in a contemporary hand in the top right of each leaf thereafter. The first two leaves not numbered and leaf 3 is numbered 2. Consequently, the numbering is off by one. Leaf 60 is also not numbered with the result that the final two leaves are off by two.
Dimensions:255mm x 185mm (leaves), 204mm x 140mm (ruled space)
Collation:ii 1-58 616 (±13, ±14, ±15, ±16) 72 86 (-1, 2) Catchwords are written vertically in the lower center at the end of each gathering. Catchword written on fol. 44 (actually 45) despite this being in the middle of the gathering.
Script:Text in Italian gothic rotunda in four hands. The first hand is responsible for the rule along with its table of contents (up to f. 50r). The second hand is responsible for the next three texts (ff. 50v-52v). A third, more angular and slightly more humanist hand is responsible for the next five texts (ff. 53r-59r). The final text is again in a classic Italian gothic rotunda (ff. 59r-62v).
Binding:Contemporary blind-tooled calfskin over wooden boards. "Ambrosian manuscript" gilt on spine. 1753 engraving by Gerolamo Cattanio after Ambrogio Borgogni of the Madonna and child flanked by John the Baptist and St. Ambrose on back pastedown.
Additions:Additional texts in a fifteenth or sixteenth century humanist hand at the top of ff. 59r and 60r and the bottom of 60v. On the back free endleaf prayers of St. Augustine in a humanist cursive. Given the nature of the structure of the manuscript and the numbering of the leaves, it appears likely that all of the texts after f. 50 were added at a slightly later date.
This manuscript was at one time in the Oratory of Santa Liberata in Milan. It was subsequently acquired by the Trivulzio-Trotti family of Milan. Part of the family's collection, including this manuscript was sold in 1885-1886 to Ulrich Hoepli of Milan. He sold it to George A Leavitt of New York City, who listed it for sale in 1888. A subsequent owner was Alphonse Labitte of Paris, whose bookplate is on the inside of the front cover. It seems to have become part of the William S. Semple library at some unknown date and was sold at the auction of this library by the Anderson Galleries of New York on Oct. 21, 1926 to Lenore and James Marshall of New York. The library was sold to Bernard Quaritch in 1972.