Auction 96, Lot 548

"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Manuscript Music

Period: 1490 (circa)



13 x 17.6 inches
33 x 44.7 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 sheet of music from a 15th century Antiphoner. The large vellum sheet contains lovely manuscript, five-line music in red and black on both sides. Recto includes three decorative initials in black and gold. Verso is beautifully decorated with two similar initials and a huge, two-stave, illuminated initial in red and blue. This decoration extends into the margin with intricate tendrils.


Condition: A+

A little soil at corners from page turning and a couple of spots of candle wax, overall fine condition.

Estimate: $450 - $500

Sold for: $325

Closed on 9/12/2001