Unwrapping the Martin Hall Collection

This January we began cataloguing work on the MR Collection from New College Library’s Special Collections. This sequence contains much early and rare material, and carries the shelfmark MR because at one time these books were housed in the Martin Hall in New College.

Image courtesy of Paul Nicholas

Image courtesy of Paul Nicholas

We were really excited to find this lovely item, Historia apostolica illustrata : ex actis apostolorum et epistolis Paulinis. Published in seventeenth century Geneva, the author Louise Cappel writes about the works of the apostles, and Paul in particular. What’s immediately striking about it is that it is covered with a vellum wrapper (waste parchment) with beautiful manuscript lettering.

Image courtesy of Paul Nicholas

Image courtesy of Paul Nicholas

While further research is required on the wrapper, it appears to be a medieval liturgical text. The back cover (pictured) is in honour of St. Nicholas, with his name appearing in the line with the musical notation.

Christine Love-Rodgers – Academic Support Librarian, Divinity

Paul Nicholas – Funk Cataloguer

Elizabeth Lawrence – Rare Books Librarian




2 thoughts on “Unwrapping the Martin Hall Collection

  1. Interesting wrapper, the text is the Benedictus antiphon ‘Copiosae caritatis Nicolae pontifex qui cum deo gloriaris in caeli palatio conscende supplicamus ad te suspirantibus ut exutos gravi carne pertrahas ad superos’ and collect for the feast (or the feast of the translation) of St Nicholas, with the collect. Antiphon is at least in Sarum and French uses & in the Aberdeen Breviary, http://cantusindex.org/id/001927. Ms probably a noted breviary?
    Stephen Holmes, Hon Fellow (History of Christianity)

    • Dear Dr Holmes,
      Thank you very much for this – this is very helpful.
      With best wishes,
      Christine Love-Rodgers

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