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VMs: Sagittarius f73v quiration...?

Hi everyone,

Looking again at f73v yesterday, I noticed a small unreadable mark in the bottom right corner, at the level of the bottom of the outer ring. Now, while I can't *read* it, it would seem most likely to be a quire mark, and I believe that I can tentatively identify the hand-writing as being consistent with the "zodiac month hand". However, it would need a better reproduction of the page to be certain of this - another good reason for me to buy the higher resolution picture from the Beinecke. :-)

If this idea is correct, it suggests to me that the zodiac quire was back-to-front when the VMs originally had its quire marks added: and that it was then turned round, and the folio numbers and the month names were added (by two other hands, at two different times), with the zodiac month hand adding in the missing quire mark.

I also believe that the zodiac month hand is essentially late medieval while the folio numbers are in a (fairly generic, but very similar to Edward Kelley's) Renaissance hand. If this is correct, this suggests to me that the month names predated the foliation, but postdated the quiration.


FWIW, here's my current idea of the construction sequence for the VMs (feel free to disagree!)...
(1) text is written/copied/enciphered onto bifolios
(2) bifolios are folded into quires
(3) quires are loosely bound
(4) pages are painted
(5) binding is removed
(6) VMs gets dropped on the floor :-(
(7) VMs gets reassembled (but with a number of bifolios out of order)
(8) quires gets re-bound in the order we see today
(9) quires are numbered (but with zodiac quire back-to-front)
(10) zodiac diagrams have names over-written (in European hand)
(11) zodiac quire is reversed & has extra quire mark added (in European hand)
(12) folio numbers added (in Renaissance hand)

This sequence could also be extended to account for missing pages (ie, at what stage were pages / bifolios / quires removed / lost / stolen?) - that might be an interesting exercise, too. :-)

What I find tantalising about stage 7 (reassembly) is that I haven't yet found any places where there are unmatched inter-folio paint marks - that is, it looks as though either (a) the person reassembling the quires matched up all the paint mark pairs he could find (ie, he treated it as a huge jigsaw puzzle, and solved it as far as he could), or (b) the painting was done *after* the reassembly. This is a classic forensic logic puzzle. ;-)

However, I'm also far from sure how the "heavy painter" fits this sequence - any suggestions? Is the heavy painter's paint the only kind that transfers between pages? Was the heavy painter's work done after or before the VMs was reassembled? And similarly for the light painter's work?

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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