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Forty-five images from the Ellesmere Chaucer now on Digital Scriptorium

EL 26 C 9, f. 153v.

Digital Scriptorium announces with pleasure the addition of forty-five new images to the database. The forty-five are images taken of EL 26 C 9, the Ellesmere Chaucer at the Huntington Library, when it was disbound for photography for the facsimile issued jointly in 1995 by the Yushodo Company, Ltd., Tokyo and the Huntington Library Press. The present group of images was chosen from the facsimile photographs; they include all twenty-three equestrian portraits of the storytellers, a sample text leaf or so (including one with a grotesque in the margin), all the endleaves with notes, verses, names, and scribbles, as well as images of the ca. 1911 binding and the present binding.

The photographer who shot the images is Robert Schlosser (Huntington Library); the manuscript was conserved and rebound by Anthony G. Cains (Trinity College, Dublin), with the assistance of Maria Fredericks (at the time Rare Book Conservator, Huntington Library).

The Ellesmere Chaucer occupies a virtually iconic position in the Anglo-American world, since it is the most splendid and most precisely produced of all the early manuscripts of the base text of English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Its pilgrims on their horses have become part of a common repertoire of medieval images, and are familiar to us all.

The codex was the recent focus of much scholarly attention when Prof. Linne Mooney recognized its handwriting: the man who copied the Ellesmere Chaucer and its sister manuscript, the Hengwrt Chaucer, was Adam Pinkhurst, probably the very person to whom Chaucer had mournfully addressed a poem, "Adam, his owne Scriveyn." Evidently, Adam was less careful in his copying than Chaucer desired. Prof. Mooney's discovery is reported in full in Speculum 81 (2006) 97-138.

Description and images of EL 26 C 9 are available here.

Digital Scriptorium is grateful to David Zeidberg, Avery Director of the Library, and to Mary L. Robertson, William A. Moffett Chief Curator, Manuscripts for permission to include these images in Digital Scriptorium. We also thank the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley whose technical staff produced the derivative JPG images for the DS website, renamed and linked the images to the description: Lynne Grigsby, Alvin Pollock, Xiuzhi Zhou.

12/14/07 CWD

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