Original leaf from a 15th century Gregorian chant. This medieval musical sheet was executed by hand in manuscript calligraphy on animal parchment. (610 x 430mm – 23 ½ x 16 ¾’’)
The music and text (six lines written in rounded gothic script) are written in black ink, on a five-line-stave, with headings and rubrics in red. Spain: Seville, c. 1460-90.
This striking leaf is related to a series of Choirbooks attributed to the Master of the Cypresses who illuminated twenty Choirbooks preserved in the Cathedral of Seville. Once thought to be Pedro da Toledo, he is now identified as Nicolás Gómez – active 1460-90.
One highly illuminated initial extends the length of the five-line stave and is in burnished gold with and interior floral motif on red or blue ground, resting on an outer rectangular blue or red ground with a delicate floral motif and extending into the margin in an elegant rinceaux-style border of vines adorned with gold bezants! One knot-work initial extending the length of the five- line-stave and heightened with yellow.
The text begins part of Psalm 111 (King James 112) 3: “Et iusticia…” (His justice remaineth forever and ever).
The illuminated “A” begins “Alleluia”. The knot-work “C” begins Psalm 88 (KJ 89) 6: “Confitebuntur…” (The heavens shall confess thy wonders, O Lord: and thy truth in the church of the saints).
As is usual with Medieval and Renaissance parchment, the hair side of the leaf is darker than the flesh side, but may take ink somewhat better. The differences in tone caused scribes to arrange their quires so that the hair side of one sheet faced the hair side of the next, and the flesh side faced the flesh side.