John of Wales, Communiloquium
Type: Leaves & Fragments
John of Wales, Communiloquium or Summa collationum. Single folio on vellum. Spain, ca. 1400: 357 mm x 243 mm (justification, 253 mm x 157 mm). Double column, 48 lines. Foliated .ciii. in red ink (apparently the original foliation) and 95 in modern pencil. Decoration: a very uncommon example of Spanish decoration of this date, a three-line initial S in blue on bright gold grounds infilled with multi-colored foliate designs; from which initial sprouts elegant and colorful marginal extensions with thick lobes of gold, terminating in foliage or blossoms with bright gold highlights; alternating red and blue pilcrows; rubricated. Text: John of Wales (d. ca. 1285) was a Franciscan theologian who earned degrees at Oxford, later teaching there and in Paris. His Communiloquium, which was popular in Iberia, was a manual for priests that was partly gnomic, philosophical, and theological. It treated a large number of subjects indexed alphabetically including, “Brevitas huius vitae,” “Coniugium quid sit,” and “Informitatis preclara exempla.” The titles of John’s extant writings all end in -loquium: Breviloquium, Compendiloquium, and Communiloquium. Provenance: Peter Kidd has deduced the provenance from a manuscript now at Occidental College. The California attorney Arthur M. Ellis (d. 1932) seems to have acquired the manuscript in Spain around 1930. At the time it had 106 folios. It was inherited by his heirs, sold at PBA Auctions, 12 June 2003 lot 155 and later broken. See Kidd’s blogpost at: https://mssprovenance.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-dispersed-copy-of-john-of-waless.html. This copy may have been produced for King Martin I of Aragon (d. 1410); https://www.facebook.com/pg/RBMSatOSU/photos/?tab=album&album_id=877828728900088.