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Van der Weyden, Descent from the Cross
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Manchester, John Rylands Library MS Eng. 413

Described by: Ryan Perry.
Revision Date: June 1st, 2010


Nicholas Love, Mirror of the Blessed Life, early-mid-C15?

Condition of the MS

A much damaged and fragmentary copy of the Mirror; the first and final sides of the MS are torn and darkened, suggesting a long period unbound- there are also missing sections within the now fifty leaves remaining in the book. There are a number of smudges and stains that suggest the book was well used. The leaves have evidently been much cropped for binding.

Number of Items


Title(s) of Pseudo-Bonaventuran Text(s)

Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ


Begins imperfectly, '...a þei diden we mowe skilfully drede..' (116:5)



Secundo Folio



Ends imperfectly, 'medicine ayens swiche'.

Languages of the MS

English with Latin sidenotes, headings etc.

Detailed Description of Contents

A β2 copy of the Mirror that has been truncated through damage; Sargent argues that the text shows "signs of conflation with α", as a means of explaining its inclusion of the 'Intention paragraph', not usually found in this group. The text includes a short version of heading from the MEMPC, "Meditacion of cristes passione in generalle" that is similarly found in Takamiya MS 8. (Sargent, intro., 123).
There is perhaps some evidence for at least one change of exemplar within the book's remains. On fol. 10r the heading for ch. 35 (134:5) has been cancelled; it reads: "How þe iewes token here counseil to sle ihu". A new version of the heading is penned overleaf at the top of fol. 10v: "How þe iewes counseiled & conspirede a yens ihu in to his deth. Iohn XIo".

Estimated Date of Production

Estimated by Sargent to be from the mid-C15; as the hand is a hybridized textura script, it is difficult to date precisely on paleographical grounds- N.R. Ker dated the MS to the beginning of the C15.

Writing Support



ix (modern letters and notes etc. relating to the MS.) + 50 fols + v.

Dimensions of Page and Writing Space

  • Leaf size: 230 x 170 mm (approx.)

  • Writing Space: 174 x 107 mm (approx.)
  • Collation

    Ker's collation is innacurate- is there an unfoliated page between fols 13 and 24?- yes 16 is followed by 16*- Ker's foliation stands 11/3/08


    1 column, 31 lines; frames and lines ruled in brown ink, pricking visible.

    Rubrication/ Ordinatio

  • 3 line initials, blue with red pen-work flourishes.
  • Running titles in red, recto and verso with chapter number beside
  • When a new chapter is beginning the chapter is marked in red in the margin.
  • Alternating red and blue paraph marks within the text.
  • Sidenotes penned in red ink and blue paraphs are used to distinguish individual notes when a clutch appear closely together (eg. fols 23r-v).
  • There are many examples of red underlining which generally correspond with those in Sargent's base-text.
  • Illustration


    Number of Scribal Hands


    Style of Hands

    This hand uses anglicana formata forms, and has some of the stiff characteristics of a textura script with a '['-shaped 's', and 'd' with a small backward-leaning ascender.

    Estimated Date of Hands

    Early-mid C15?

    Scribal Annotation

    There are 250 marginal notes, and according to Sargent may have originally contained c. 600.

    Notable Dialect Features

    No reference in LALME.

    The following sample of forms was randomly taken from the text of the Mirror. The forms presented here suggest a southern dialect.
    after: after
    against: a yens
    any: any
    be: be, bi
    busily: bisily
    but: but
    call: clepe, clepeth
    church: cherche
    each: iche
    eyes: eyen
    first: first
    flesh: flesh
    gave: yaf
    give: yiue
    her: hire
    length: lengthe
    little: litel
    much: mikel, miche
    said: seid
    self: self(e)
    shal: shal, schule
    should: shuld, shulden
    she: she
    strength: strengthe
    their: here
    them: hem
    they: þei
    think: think(e)
    when: whan
    which: whiche
    will: wille, wole
    work, vb.: werche, werchen
    yet: yit

    Localisable on Google Earth
    (click markers to view sample dialect forms)


    Annotation and Marginalia

  • Some modern annotation in pencil.
  • Several marginal crosses beside the text in chapter 45, following the death of Christ; the marked passages correspond to Sargent 179:31-180:3 and 181:14-17.
  • Graffitti


    Names recorded, signatures, ex libris marks




    References and Other Resources

    N.R.Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries.

    John Rylands Catalogue.

    Sargent Groupings


    Sargent Pages

    Intro. 116, 121, 123-35.

    Sargent Number



    Please note: Descriptions of Mirror MSS are indebted to: Nicholas Love, The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ: A Full Critical Edition, ed. by Michael G. Sargent (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2005)