“As far as one can tell from the notes preserved in the registers of the Library, the provenance of these scrolls is heterogeneous. As one might expect, some of them certainly come from Magdala, brought back by members of Lord Napier’s expedition in 1867-8 (Nos. I, VII, VIII, XII, XIV). This is probably also true for No. XIII and perhaps for a few others as well. All these MSS were acquired by the Library between 1913 and 1930.”
Catalogue entry: XIII Nineteenth century. Vellum. 600 mm. X 117 mm. Last strip of a longer scroll. Large, mediocre handwriting. Black and red ink. Preserved in a cylindrical case of leather. No. 36970.
End of a prayer against chest pain
Prayer against colic.
Prayer against malicious demons, and against the evil eye of men and women, of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, of white and black people, of Satan, devils, buda, dgd sdbd\ blacksmiths, dobbi and dobbit, dini and danit (?), qdmdnna and mwartdnna.
One magical picture at the end. The consecutive owners mentioned are : Sabana Giyorgis, Makera Sallase, and Walatta Heywat. Possibly originally belonging to the same scroll as No. XII. Bought in 1915.
What: A sewing box inscribed ‘Abyssinia 1867’, possibly a diplomatic gift, sold for £305 by Bonhams on 14 Dec 2005.
Where: Last in the hands of an unnamed buyer
The auction page, which has two pictures, describes: “A mid-19th century French ivory necessaire of rectangular curved end form, the lid engraved and black filled with a crest, motto and inscription ‘Abyssinia 1867’, the interior with a full complement of silver gilt tools, comprising; stiletto, bodkin, scissors, needlecase and thimble, all with matching dot engraved decoration, case 10.5 x 5.5cm.”
A footnote says: “Baron Napier of Magdala was appointed in May 1867 to command the British expedition to Abyssinia, however, the motto here is not his, but that of two other members of the family, namely Kilmachew and West Shandon of Dumbartonshire.”
Details Lot 729 Sale 14 Dec 2005, 10:00 GMT at Bonhams, Knowle