Auction 137, Lot 884

"[Antiphonal Leaf] 160", Anon.

Subject: Manuscript Music

Period: 1350 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

11 x 14.5 inches
27.9 x 36.8 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.

From a 14th century Catholic Graduale, this sheet of vellum has beautifully written manuscript, four-line music on both sides. Written in black and red ink. The verso includes five large and very intricately drawn initials in red and blue. This leaf was obviously well used over its more than 600 year lifetime, with a later manuscript black ink notation in the top margin of the recto.


Condition: B

Beautiful hand color with a faint stain at bottom, and front side is toned. Black ink has oxidized some of the music notes, leaving a few holes in vellum.

Estimate: $300 - $400

Sold for: $350

Closed on 9/14/2011