Items added to the Wren Digital Library over the past few weeks include a French translation of St Augustine’s De Civitate Dei (R.17.23), a volume which probably belonged to Thomas Becket (B.3.12), an anthology containing marginal commentaries in decorative shapes (O.3.57) and two printed plays by Shakespeare from the Capell Collection (Capell *.19 and Capell *.22).
R.17.23: Augustine, De Civitate Dei, Books 11-22
This manuscript is a French translation of Augustine’s City of God by Raoul de Praelles. It was begun in 1371 and completed in September 1375 (f.424v). It contains floral borders and several fine illuminations. St Augustine is depicted on f.1r and f.2v.
B.3.12: Glossed books of Joshua, Ruth, Judges and Chronicles
This volume was written in either Paris or Sens, probably for Thomas Becket during his exile in France between 1164 and 1170. It later came to Christ Church, Canterbury. It contains many fine ornamented initials including the one below, at the start of the Book of Ruth, which includes an ape blowing a horn and a naked man playing the fiddle.
O.3.57, Horace, Opera
Works by several classical authors including Horace are contained in this manuscript which may have been owned by Dr John Dee. It is notable for the elaborate shapes in which some of the marginal commentary on Horace’s work is contained (ff.21r-69r). These shapes include letters of the alphabet, vases and fish.
The Rape of Lucrece was printed in London by P(eter) S(hort) for John Harrison in 1598 and Venus and Adonis was printed by I. P. in London in 1620. There is only one other known copy of each of these editions. Pages from these volumes have been included in the Shakespeare Documented online exhibition.