Original leaf from a 15th century Gregorian chant. This 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. Original stitching in the lower right margin – still with original thread!
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 believed to be Nicolás Gómez – active 1460-90.
Two highly illuminated initials extend the length of the five-line stave and are 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; one extends 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 continues part of I Corinthians 15:10: In me vacua non fuit…” ([His grace] in me hath not been void. His grace will always live in me).
The illuminated "A" begins: “Alleluia”. The knot-work “T” begins: “Tu es vas electionis…” (O Holy Apostle Paul, thou art a chosen vessel unto God. Pray for us).
The Illuminated “T” repeats: “Tu es…” (Thou art…).
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.