"[Pair of Antiphonal Leaves]", Anon.
Period: 1490 (circa)
13.5 x 17.3 inches
34.3 x 43.9 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.
A bifolium of large vellum leaves containing lovely manuscript, five-line music in red and black. All sides include beautifully decorated initials in blue and red or black and gold. One leaf features a huge, two-stave, illuminated initial "S" in red and blue with delicate penwork extending to fill half of the left margin.