Lacock Abbey Manuscripts at Christie’s

Harry Potter fans will have t duke it out with medieval manuscript collectors for two educational manuals coming up for auction tomorrow at Christie’s in London. The fourteenth century manuscripts are the only known survivors of the library at Lacock Abbey, aka Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. Classroom scenes from several entries in the movie franchise were filmed in Lacock Abbey’s side-rooms and cloisters. In a pleasing coincidence, the manuscripts are educational in their subject matter, seeking to enlighten aristocratic children of the 14th century in the finer points of French.

Lacock Abbey, founded as a nunnery in 1229, flourished through the later Middle Ages. After the Dissolution, Henry VIII sold Lacock to Sir William Sharington, who converted it into a private residence. The Abbey passed down through Sharington lines until purchased by the Talbot family in the 18th century. William Henry Fox Talbot, founder of modern photography, conducted his experiments at Lacock. Talbot produced the earliest known photographic negative, which shows a window in the Abbey’s south wall. The Abbey, and its surrounding village, were given to the National Trust in 1944.
The two manuscripts from Lacock Abbey are the only known survivors from its medieval heyday. They make up Lots 11 and 12 at the upcoming Christie's sale.

The descriptions from the Christie's catalogue:
Lot 11
MANUSCRIPTS FROM LACOCK ABBEY: PROPERTY OF A LADY, BY DIRECT DESCENT FROM THE ABBEY'S TUDOR OWNERS
William Brito or Guillaume Le Breton (mid-13th century)
Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie, in Latin
Decorated Manuscript on Vellum
Estimate: £30,000 - 40,000
Lot 12
MANUSCRIPTS FROM LACOCK ABBEY: PROPERTY OF A LADY, BY DIRECT DESCENT FROM THE ABBEY'S TUDOR OWNERS
Treatises In Anglo-Norman Verse: opening with Walter of Bibbesworth (c.1219-c.1270), Le tretiz, with interlineations and side-notes in Middle English
Decorated Manuscript on Vellum
England, probably first half 14th century
Estimate: £90,000 - 120,000
And for the Harry Potter fans out there, here is a video tour of Lacock Abbey by a family in search of the Hogwarts connections:



(Manuscript images courtesy of Christie's. Lacock Abbey image courtesy of Wikipedia.)
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