Update July 16, 2020: L1996 is no longer a private sale, but is now being auctioned: https://www.lotsearch.net/lot/anonymous-scribe-and-illuminator-50082880
One of the most challenging parts of keeping the Kurzgefasste Liste up to date is keeping track of the current locations of manuscripts. While many manuscripts remain at the same location for centuries, others have the tendency to be more elusive and have proven tricky to keep tabs on. Take, for example, the manuscripts in the Schøyen collection. In the last few years, we’ve discovered that a number of these have been auctioned:
- 1361 / L2383
These are now housed at the Museum of the Bible. Schøyen also had a lectionary, L1996 (MS 800), in his possession until it was sold it in 2010. Formerly part of the Sir Thomas Phillipps collection, L1996 is a 12th century Greek Gospel lectionary with 247 leaves. We didn’t have any information about its new location since 2010.
Pinakes noted that the Robert McCarthy Collection in London had a leaf of L1996, a miniature of the evangelist John.
As far as we were aware, the McCarthy Collection only had single pages of artwork (miniatures) from manuscripts rather than full manuscripts with text of the Greek New Testament. However, after inquiring with Georgi Parpulov, who contributed to The McCarthy Collection, vol. 1 Byzantine Miniatures (2018) catalogue, we learned that actually the whole L1996 manuscript was in the McCarthy collection (BM 2326), and Parpulov had personally examined it. He explained that a miniature was bound to the binding of L1996 but did not originally belong to it; in 2018, this miniature leaf was removed from L1996.
Microfilm of miniature from L1996 on NT.VMR
We updated the Liste with this new information and were happy to have found the new location for L1996 after having lost track of it for over 10 years.
Literally one hour later, we came across the sale of a 12th century Greek Gospel lectionary through Christie’s. After requesting more information about the private sale, we discovered this lectionary was, in fact, L1996! See here for the Christie’s private sale, although it takes a little scrolling to find it.
Screenshot of Christie's sale
At the time of writing, this manuscript is still available for purchase. We are hopeful we’ll receive a notification from the new owner when it is sold so we don’t lose track of it again. We are also lucky to have images of L1996 on the NT.VMR to help identify it in the future.
Keeping track of auctioned manuscripts is not an easy task. We are very grateful to the many scholars and researchers out there who continue to assist us with this endeavor.
To that end, we are still trying to trace down the location of these three Greek NT manuscripts, auctioned in the last few years (also mentioned here).
GA 2346: Sold on Sotheby’s in 2016, 11th century Gospels with commentary sold as part of the Charles Caldwell Ryrie collection.
GA 2805: Sold on Christie’s in 2013, 11th century, Acts and Letters of the Apostles, formerly in Athens.
GA 851: Sold on Sotheby’s in 2009, Gospels, illuminated Gospel manuscript on vellum, owner unknown for many years.
The INTF is still offering a small prize for anyone who can help us pin down the new location of these manuscripts!