Exceptional Music Leaf - c. 1550 - Peonies, ladybugs, bee


Original leaf from a scarce Renaissance manuscript processional Gradual. The opening leaf of the parent manuscript stated this was a “Gradual for the Carthusian Order.” (183 x 128mm,  7 ¼ x 5 1/8 inches’) 

France, c. 1550From the Royal Workshop of Henri II. Small highly illuminated manuscript music was very uncommon and expensive, usually reserved for royalty, the very wealthy or members of religious orders from notable families.

Eight lines in red ink with text and musical notation in black ink (on a four-line stave), on animal vellum. Headings, rubrics and ruling in red

One exceptional illuminated initial (45x45mm – 1 ¾ x 1 ¾’’) in blue with delicate white penwork & a floral motif with peonies (Benedictine Roses), ladybugs, a butterfly – symbol of the Resurrection of Christ, and bee – symbol of symbol of diligence and religious eloquence on a liquid gold ground; five illuminated initials and two illuminated paraphs in liquid gold over grounds of blue or red with gold tracery.                                                               

The illuminated “Q” begins Psalm 147:3 “Qui Posuit…” (Who hath placed peace in thy borders: and filleth thee with the fat or corn).

The illuminated “A” begins Mark 11:24:  “Amen, I say unto you, all things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive; and they shall come unto you. 

The elaborate illuminated “M” begins Psalm 138 (King James 139) 17: “Michi…” (To me thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable: their principality is exceedingly strengthened).

Graduals contain the musical chants for the proper of the Mass: introits, graduals, tracts, alleluia, offertory and communion verses, and sequences for special feasts. They may also include chants for the ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and for the introductory ‘asperges’ rite.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory Number: IM-12638
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