Catalog Archive
Auction 100, Lot 545

"[Antiphonal Leaves]", Anon.

Subject: Music

Period: 1490 (circa)



26.8 x 17.5 inches
68.1 x 44.5 cm

The origins of liturgical music traditionally date back to St. Gregory the Great (d. 604), who was inspired by the Holy Dove to record the principles of 'Gregorian' chant. The Gradual contained the musical parts of the Missal and was sung from the steps (gradus) of the altar. The Antiphoner contained the musical sections of the Breviary. These terms have become interchangeable in modern times. Because of their size and complexity, these manuscripts were still being handmade in the traditional way for centuries after the introduction of printing. They were boldly hand-written and illuminated on large sheets of sturdy vellum so that the entire choir could read from one book.

Superb double-page set of vellum leaves containing five-line music. Written in a fine hand with black music notation and embellished with alternating decorative initials in black/gold and red/blue ink. The initials are executed with delicate penwork; the decoration of the "S" at left extends into the margin.


Condition: B

Few minor spots and the usual binding holes on fold. A flaw in the vellum appears as irregular discoloration in bottom margin.

Estimate: $250 - $300

Sold for: $180

Closed on 9/12/2002