Post gQpehRPNW3a

Tamas Ferencz Jun 05, 2015 (15:27)

Even a respectable institution like Sotheby's can get things wrong...

This article in the Mirror got my attention today:

The words 'a handwritten note in Elvish' prompted me to do a frantic search of course, and led me to Sotheby's site which indeed says 'FOUR LINES IN ELVISH' :

But then if one looks at the photo of said inscription it is evident that the four lines of verse are, in fact, Old English.


Александр Запрягаев Jun 05, 2015 (17:00)


Fela bið on Westwegum werum uncúðra,
wundra and wihta, wlitescéne land,
eardgeard ælfa eorclanstanas
On dúnscrafum dígle scnínað.

Seems to be a variation of Tolkien's own composition from LR.

Tamas Ferencz Jun 05, 2015 (17:05)

Matt Dinse Jun 05, 2015 (21:10)

There has been some discussion of this for the past 2 weeks on Facebook's Tolkien Society group (which tends to hear JRRT-related tidings earlier, including things like news of unannounced upcoming publications), of course containing criticism of the "Elvish" terminology (attributed to Rateliff without contacting him), as well as discussion of the unusual scnínað. I guess corrections (Elvish > OE) were provided, but the websites never updated. They also note that errors spiral further once one leaves Sotheby's: the Irish Times has an article on this sale, calling the inscription Elvish and also setting the auction in New York (instead of London).

Tamas Ferencz Jun 05, 2015 (21:19)

+Matt Dinse thanks for adding some colour!

Fiona Jallings Jun 11, 2015 (20:20)

Yeah, looking at the inscription, at first glance I'd say Anglo-Saxon. Wasn't this given to a student of his? He taught Anglo-Saxon, so it'd make sense if that's what the message was in.