Priory Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Ten Walle in Elsegem: an impressive dated (1474) and signed (Cornelius de Clinge) manuscript



Speculum historiale. Books I-XVI.

[Elsegem], (Cornelius de Clinge, 1474)

2 vol., folio: [54]-195-[1 bl.], [295] ff., on paper, in Latin, written in 2 col. (text area: 21 x 15 cm) in a red and brown Netherlandish Hybrida by at least two hands, ca. 42 ll. (some spotting and soiling, some waterstaining, corner of fol. 185 of vol. I repaired with sm. loss of text, fol. [1] blank of vol. II missing, tiny holes in last ff. of vol. II).

19th-c. brown Russian leather over bevelled wooden boards, spine with raised bands gilt titled, orig. vellum flyleaves preserved (sl. rubbed, upper joint of vol. I splitting). Nice and sound copy.

Content: 16 first (of the 31) books of the final version of the famous encyclopedia "Speculum Historiale" by the Dominican Vincentius Bellovacensis (ca. 1184/1194-ca. 1264), which came into circulation after July 1254 and is known as the Douai version. Vol. I contains an alphabetical index, the Libellus Apologeticus, the list of chapter titles, and books I-VIII of the text of the "Speculum Historiale"; vol. II: an alphabetical index, the list of chapter titles, and books IX-XVI. Complete ms. copies are extremely rare. The "Speculum Historiale" is a major work of compilation widely read in the Middle Ages; 120 manuscripts of the Douai version have been identified, incl. our copy.
Illustration: fine three- to twelve-line red and blue or only red initials with penwork extending into marginal decoration, fully rubricated: red running titles, red initials, capitals touched in red, red paragraph marks.
Localisation: the colophon at the end of vol. II is signed by brother Cornelius of Clinge ("F[rate]r Corneli[us] de Clinge lib[rum] cito sc[ri]psi hunc") and dated 1474 ("M C q[ua]ter decies septe[m] s[ed] q[ua]tuor addas Deo gracias"). This scribe was a canon regular in the monastery of Our Lady Ten Walle in Elsegem, which housed an active scriptorium since its foundation in 1418. This house joined the Congregation of Windesheim in 1425.
Ref. A Vincent of Beauvais website ( - Monasticon belge VII:677-730.
Prov. Our Lady Ten Walle, Elsegem (contemp. and later ms. entries). - [Hendrik van Wijn] (1740-1831), General State Archivist of the Netherlands (auction catalogue, n. 25). - Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872), English book collector (ms. entry, n. 8568). - [Amaury de Ghellinck d'Elseghem Vaernewyck] (1856-1919). - Modern armorial bookpl.

Hammer price: € 20.000

€ 18.000 / 25.000

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