Ms. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Can. misc. 278 consists of three short manuscripts likely originating in Bruges in the late fifteenth century. The manuscripts contain religious and didactic literature in Latin, Middle-Dutch, French, or a combination of two of these languages. In the second manuscript, dated 17th February 1467, is an ownersnote indicating that it belonged to Jan van Hersvelt, a merchant from Bruges, living in the Krom Genthof. His daughter, Barbara van Vlaenderberch, was married to Willem Moreel: a dboule portrait of the married couple was painted by Hans Memlinc.
The three manuscripts are preceded by a quire describing an itinerary from Bruges to Venice, followed by a descriotion of the route from Venice to Rome and back. From the same hand in this notebook are two pages of a vade-mecum for pilgrims in the Holy Land. These notes were entered on August 9, 1470, while the route-descriptions are dated Bruges, August 18, 1468.
This article addresses the question of why these manuscripts from Bruges ended up in Venice already during the fifteenth century, where they remained until 1817, when the Bodleian acquired it as one item in the purchase of a significant portion of the manuscript collection of Matteo Luigi Canonici. A possible answer lies in the interests of the trading-firm of Jan van Hersvelt in Venice and Rome.
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