Auction 96, Lot 547

"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Manuscript Music

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.

This large vellum sheet contains lovely manuscript, five-line music in red and black on both sides. Recto is beautifully decorated with a large initial in black and gold and a huge, two-stave, illuminated initial in red and blue. This decoration extends to fill the entire margin with intricate tendrils. Verso includes three decorative initials in black and gold and blue and red, one with marginal penwork.


Condition: A+

Some discoloration of vellum as is to be expected, overall very fine.

Estimate: $500 - $600

Sold for: $375

Closed on 9/12/2001