John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester, is sometimes described as England’s first ‘Renaissance prince’ — and that is not meant as a compliment. It is intended to suggest instead that, owing to his time in Italy in 1459 – 61, he learnt Renaissance style and Renaissance realpolitik, and then imported them to an innocent England: he was, in short, all manners and no morals. As will be clear, I have no truck with that interpretation but there is a fascination in both his book-collecting and the political activities of his circle.
What appears below is an updated version of the list of manuscripts relating to the library of John Tiptoft which I provided as a hand-out when I spoke in Philadelphia in November 2007 at ‘The Treasured Hunt’ symposium, organised by the Free Library. At that point, several manuscripts had recently come to light; most important are the group now in Paris which can help revise our understanding of the fortunes of his collection, as well as shedding new insight into humanism in the north-east of Italy, c. 1460. Since then, two further manuscripts [32.5 & 35] have been added to the list of ‘probable’ manuscripts.
List of manuscripts owned by John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester
Recent discoveries are noted in bold. Rejected manuscripts are not listed.
.Cambridge: Gonville & Caius College, MS. 152 / 202 (Apuleius, De Deo Socratis)
.Cambridge: St. John’s College, MS. I. 38 (James 226) (humanist miscellany)
.Dublin: Trinity College, MS. 438 (humanist miscellany produced in Oxford, 1450 / 1)
.Kobenhavn: Kongelige Bibliothek, MS. GL. Kgl. S. 2154 (Sallust; produced in the workshop of Vespasiano da Bisticci, Florence, 1450s)
.London: British Library, MS. Harl. 103 (devotional tracts; England, s. xiv) – the evidence to relate this to Tiptoft is the donor note at the foot of the contents list at fol. Iv which reads: Ex dono Illustris domini Johannis comitis / Wigornie domini Tiptot & de powis 1470.
.London: British Library, MS. Harl. 2639 (Suetonius, De Grammaticis; Tacitus, De Oratoribus; s: John Free, Ferrara, ante 1462)
.?London: British Library, MS. Royal. 18. D. iv (Lydgate, Fall of Princes; England, s. xv1) – coat-of-arms at fol. 1 includes those of Tiptoft
.Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Arch. Selden. B. 50 (Ognibene da Lonigo, commentary on Juvenal; Padua, c. 1460)
.Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Auct. F. 1. 7 (Plutarchus Latinus, Vitae; Florence, s. xvmed)
.Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Auct. F. 1. 13 (Lucretius; s: ‘V. f. I’, Padua, s. xvmed)
.Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Auct. F. 2. 19 (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations; Padua, c. 1460)
.Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Auct. F. 2. 27 (Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones; Florence, s.xvmed) – Tiptoft annotations at fol. 26, 27v, 28, 28v.
.Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Auct. F. 5. 4 (Juvenal; s: Bartolomeo Sanvito; Padua, s. xvmed) – John Free adds Greek at fol. 50; erased notes at fol. 87v by Tiptoft.
.Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Bodl. 646 (Basinio of Parma, Astronomica; Padua, 1455 x 1461)
. Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Bodl. 866 (Augustine; Jerome; s. xi)
.Oxford: Corpus Christi College, MS. 66 (Manilius, Astronomica; s: ‘V. f. I’)
.Oxford: Corpus Christi College, MS. 82 (Quintus Curtius; s. xii)
.Oxford: Corpus Christi College, MS. 91 (Nonius Marcellus; Florence, s. xv2/4) – Tiptoft’s manicula at fol. 46; notes by him at fol. 40, 41.
.Oxford: Corpus Christi College, MS. 253 (Eusebius, De Preparatione Evangelica, trans. George of Trebizond; s. xv2) – written by the scribe of Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Arch. Selden B. 50; probably identifiable as the manuscript given to Syon Abbey by Tiptoft [see V. Gillespie ed., Syon Abbey [Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, ix] (London, 2001), no. 512 [p. 149].
.Oxford: Jesus College, MS. 109 (Tacitus, Augusta Historia; Ferrara, 1458)
.Oxford: Magdalen College, MS. lat. 64 (Servius, Grammatica; Padua, s. xvmed)
.Oxford: Merton College, MS. 315 (Eusebius, Chronicle; s. ix)
.Oxford: Queen’s College, MS. 314 (Silius Italicus, Punica & Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica [incomplete]; Padua, s. xvmed)
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS. lat. 5714 (Thucydides, trans. Valla)
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS. lat. 5728 (Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, dec. IV)
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS. lat. 7525 (Valla, Elegantiae) – annotations throughout by Tiptoft and John Free.
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS. lat. 7725 (Quintilian) – notes by John Free at fol. 16r-v, 22.
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS. lat. 7966 (Servius) – copiously annotated by a range of hands, with Tiptoft himself present at fol. 158, 159v, 160, 161 – 70, 171v – 180, 184, 217.
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS. lat. 8064 (Lactantius, In Statium) – with Tiptoft annotations at fol. 4?, 9v, 14, 15, 33, 44v.
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale, MS. lat. 8524 (Cicero, Epistolae Familiares) – annotations throughout by Tiptoft and John Free.
.Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS. lat. 8677 (Macrobius, Liber Saturnaliorum etc) – with annotations by Tiptoft and John Free.
Manuscripts probably from his library:
.Cambridge: University Library, MS. Mm. III. 4(Homer, trans. Pilato; s: V f I; Padua, s. xvmed) – format very similar to Oxford: Bodleian, MS. Auct. F. 1. 13.
[32.5]. Leiden: Universiteitsbibliotheek, MS. Voss. O. 59 (Tibullus, Catullus).
.Oxford: Corpus Christi College, MS. 79 (Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, dec. I; s: Antonio Farina, Ferrara, 1458) – annotations by John Free, and others (fol. 20v – 24v, 74) in a hand that also appears in MS. Arch Selden B. 50.
.Pisa: Biblioteca Universitaria, MS. 531 (Lucian & Libanius, trans. Francesco Griffolini; s: Bartolomeo Sanvito) – appears to be a dedication copy for Tiptoft but no internal evidence to confirm it.
. Città del Vaticano: BAV, MS. Vat. lat. 3162 – Juvenal and Persius (Padua, c. 1460) – written by scribe of  above — on this, see my posting.