We’re really pleased to have receive our copy of the next instalment of the catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts in Cambridge which covers the collections of the Fitzwilliam Museum and the college libraries. The first part surveyed Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Low Countries; part 2 (in 2 volumes) includes manuscripts produced in Italy and the Iberian peninsula.
Since the catalogue is primarily chronological, the very first entry is for our own MS 286, the 6th-century Gospels of St Augustine; indeed the first four entries are all Corpus manuscripts. Altogether there are 19 entries for Corpus manuscripts, the last being the strange Christian Kabbalistic MS 497. This is a treatise on the Tetragrammaton (the four Hebrew letters representing God) by a Franciscan mystic, Crisostomo Capranica, which was presented King Philip IV of Spain in 1623 and contains some fabulous (in both senses of the word) diagrams and illustrations. Capranica’s treatise urges the king to use these mystical symbols to defeat the Turks. The catalogue reproduces my favourite image from the manuscript of the head of God in a Tetragrammaton hat (fol. 21r):