John of Bury, Pupilla Oculi
John of Bury (de Burgo), Pupilla Oculi (The Eye’s Pupil). Two folios on vellum of English manufacture, with an obvious nap. England, ca. 1420: 261 mm by 189 mm (justification 179 mm x 131 mm). Double column, 38 lines in a good English bookhand with strong cursive elements, heavily abbreviated. Decoration: quotations underlined in red, parafs in blue, capitals touched in red, with (apparently) a contemporary foliation “C XII” and “C VII,” but these may be chapter and section headings. Letters in the margins cue new sections of the work, which, like many such encyclopedias, has been carefully laid out. Chancellor of Cambridge University and a Doctor of Divinity, John of Bury (d. after 1398) completed this work around 1385. “The Eye’s Pupil” was a revision of a popular manual of Pastoral Care called “The Priest’s Eye” or Oculus sacerdotis. William of Paull, a Yorkshireman, composed the Oculus between 1320 and 1326. The Pupilla was written for York canons educated at Cambridge and serving Thomas Arundel, at the time bishop of Ely. It quickly replaced William’s Oculus as the most widely used manual of Pastoral Care. Some 40 copies survive, but very few have ever been recorded on the market. These leaves came with a professionally printed cartouche, “This is an Original XVth Century Leaf from Johannes de Burgo Pupilla Oculi,” doubtless prepared by the bookseller who broke the manuscript. Condition: small spots, stains, folds, a missing cantle of vellum, but in very good overall condition.