Catalog Archive
Auction 99, Lot 595

"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Manuscript Music

Period: 1400 (circa)



9 x 13 inches
22.9 x 33 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 beautiful leaf from an early Italian Antiphoner containing four-line music. The recto contains both music and the responses that were to be said. The verso contains only music and a decorative initial with delicate penwork extending into the margin. The hymn is from Psalm 1: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners.


Condition: A

Some minor stains and creasing in blank margins. Slight flaking of paint.

Estimate: $140 - $180

Sold for: $130

Closed on 6/12/2002