Catalog Archive
Auction 196, Lot 750


"[Music]", Anon.

Subject: Music

Period: 1590 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

13.9 x 20.3 inches
35.3 x 51.6 cm
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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.

This impressive elephant folio sheet of vellum contains five-line music in red and black ink with 3 large initials in red, black and burnished gold. There is a lovely decorative border on recto with a vine and flowers. The song includes part of Psalm 18 and beginning with the large letter "I" on recto translates as:

Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world, and so forth. Glory hallelujah.


Condition: B

Toning on recto with soiling at bottom right, where the page was turned, and small remnants of hinge tape on verso.

Estimate: $120 - $160

Sold for: $190

Closed on 2/7/2024