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Van der Weyden, Descent from the Cross
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London, British Library, MS Egerton 2658

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


Liber Aureus de Passione et Resurreccione Domini, mid-C15(?)

Condition of the MS

The first leaf has been much damaged, and looks like the text has been re-entered onto the page in a later hand.

Number of Items


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

Liber Aureus de Passione et Resurreccione Domini


  • "O ur lord whan he was xxx years old he made hise apostles", 1r.
  • At the beginning of the section after the Liber Aureus component of the text, "Now turne we a 3en to þe proces afor honde.` how it bifell of Joseph of Aramathye...", 15v.



Secundo Folio

"þe fadir þat sent me bereþ witnesse".


  • At the end of the 'Liber Aureus' section is penned, "Amen~~Explicit Liber Aureus de passionie et resurreccione domini per Bonauenturam Cardinalem cuiuc anime propicietur deus~~~, 15v. This Explicit which clearly demarcates the Passione at Resurreccione section from the Gospel of Nichodemus section is not found in Stonyhurst MS B.43 (the corresponding section is missing in John Rylands MS 895.
  • "Now Ihesu for his muche my3t 3eue vs grace suche beleue to haue . wher þur3 we mowe come to endelees blysse Amen", f. 18r. The line is echoed by a later owner/reader of the book who writes, "and brynge us to the blys" (not 'brynge us alle blys' as recorded in Hulme, xxxvii).

Languages of the MS


Detailed Description of Contents

  • The Liber Aureus copied onto large folios and decorated with attractive initials. The unusual thinness of the volume at 18 folios perhaps means that the work was once part of a larger miscellany, but there is no way of substantiating such an argument.

Estimated Date of Production

Ker dates to the Mid-C15

Writing Support



18 fols; MS is foliated in pencil on every recto side.

Dimensions of Page and Writing Space

  • Leaf size: 340 x 230 mm approx.
  • Writing Space: 280 x 190 mm approx.
  • There is considerably more empty space in the upper than lower margins, with over 40 mm of space to 15 mm; it is possible that this imbalance is a result of trimming in the lower margin


Lacks quire signatures or catchwords; it is perhaps worth noting given the size of this booklet (18 fols), that another copy of the the text, John Rylands MS 895, attributed by Ker to the same scribe, opens with a quire of 9 bifolia.


2 columns 50-54 lines; frames and lines sometimes visible although there are no signs of pricking.

Rubrication/ Ordinatio

  • Initials: The book opens with a 5-line gold initials with painted decorative sprigs in gold and colour; the text generally has 4-line and 2-line initials for major/sub-divisions, all decorated to the same high standards.
  • Titles, Headings, Rubrics: Latin text is penned in red ink.



Number of Scribal Hands


Style of Hands

An attractive, calligraphic, bastard Secretary hand; single lobed 'a', sharp, tapered spike-like descenders on f and long s; anglicana w with hooked ascenders; open-descender on g; the scribe punctuates expertly, using dots, punctus elevatus and thin forward slash punctus strokes- small i is not so much dotted, as topped with a faint curling stroke; N.R. Ker believed that John Rylands MS Eng. 895 (another copy of the Liber Aureus de Passione) and Trinity College Dublin MS 71 (Rolle's English Psalter), were "probably" penned by the same scribe. Only the John Rylands MS has been assessed against the Egerton hand as part of the project, and in this case it is almost certainly so that the same scribe was responsible.

Estimated Date of Hands

The MS is dated (presumably on scribal grounds) to the mid-C15 but it is possible the hand dates to the 2nd quarter of the C15.

Scribal Annotation


Notable Dialect Features

  • The dialect appears to be generally consistent with that preserved in John Rylands MS. 895 (attributed by Doyle to the same scribe); the Rylands text has been profiled in LALME, vol. I, p. 138; vol. III, pp. 651-2, LP 5331. Grid 394 131. This places the dialect in the vicinity of Tisbury in Wiltshire, about 12 miles west of Salisbury.
  • Localisable on Google Earth
    (click markers to view sample dialect forms)

    Annotation and Marginalia




    Names recorded, signatures, ex libris marks

  • Fol. 18r: Beneath the conclusion of the text is written, "the history of the blessed scriptures [and in a larger hand beneath] George Theaks", C15-16.
  • Notes

    If the manuscript was indeed penned by the scribe responsible for John Rylands MS 895 it has clearly been adapted according to a very different plan of ordinatio.

    References and Other Resources

    W.H. Hulme, ed., The Middle English Harrowing of Hell and Gospel of Nicodemus, (London, 1907) xxxvi ff.

    British Library Catalogue description