Gregorian Chant - c 1460-90 - Psalms - elaborate initials


Original illuminated 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.

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; then extending into the margin in an elegant rinceaux-style border of vines adorned with gold bezants! Two knot-work initials extending the length of the five- line-stave and heightened with yellow.

The illuminated "D"  begins Psalm 44 (King James 45) 8:  "Dilexisti…” (Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity).

The knot-work “P” continues the verse: “Propterea…” (Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows).

The illuminated “A” begins: “Alleluia”.  The knot-work “D” begins part of Psalm 44 (KJ 45) 3: “Diffusa est…” (Grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee).  

 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.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory Number: IM-11531