Auction 97, Lot 567

"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Manuscript Music

Period: 1600 (circa)



12.5 x 17.5 inches
31.8 x 44.5 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 thick vellum leaf from an antiphonarium, probably from Spain. Both sides with five staves of 5-line music, written in black and red ink. Verso with a large decorative initial. This leaf is a very good illustration of the differences between the two sides of a sheet of vellum. On the "skin side" the hair follicles are visible, and the "flesh side" is much smoother and much paler in color.


Condition: A

Minor soil at corners.

Estimate: $75 - $100

Sold for: $50

Closed on 12/5/2001