¶ Pabenham–Clifford hours (14th century) [MS]

September 26, 2017

14th cent.

The Pabenham–Clifford hours.

Illuminated manuscript. England, c. 1315–1320. 93 leaves.

Celebrates the marriage of John de Pabenham and his second wife, Joan Clifford, in 1314–1315. While the manuscript was in the hands of Sir Andrew Fountaine (see below), two leaves were removed by Sir John Fenn. At Fenn’s sale (Puttick, London, 16–18 July 1866, lot 865), Samuel Sandars bought them and gave them to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1892. Morris bought the manuscript (less the two leaves) at the Fountaine sale. Sydney Cockerell recorded in his diary, 5 July 1894, “In aftn. went with W.M. to Christie’s to see the books in the Fountaine sale, on one of which W.M. has set his heart,” and the following day he added, “W.M. bought the wonderful Clifford hours for £410 (and commission!).” But almost immediately Morris learned that a fragment of the manuscript was in the Fitzwilliam (Cockerell diary, 21 July 1894). In fact, the following year Montague Rhodes James, a Cambridge medievalist (“a very nice man, & very keen about MSS,” according to Cockerell), brought the Fitzwilliam’s two detached leaves to Kelmscott House for his inspection (Cockerell diary, 19 March 1895; Morris diary, 19 March 1895 [British Library Add. Ms. 4510]). Morris then struck a deal with the Fitzwilliam to reunite the leaves with the rest of the work. The arrangement was that the Fitzwilliam would give Morris half the price he paid for the manuscript and lend him the leaves for his lifetime, and that after his death the manuscript and detached leaves would be brought together again at the museum. On 22 October 1896, Cockerell personally delivered the manuscript to the Fitzwilliam.

Provenance: John de Pabenham and Joan Clifford. — Sir Andrew Fountaine. — Fountaine sale, Christie, 6 July 1894, lot 143 (purchased by Morris for £410). — Morris. — Fitzwilliam Museum (MS 242) [acquired from Morris estate, 22 October 1896].

References: Schoenberg (SDBM_241213). — Wormald, 1:157–60.

Images: Fitzwilliam Museum.

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Fitzwilliam Museum

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