Gregorian Chant - Elaborate illuminated initial


Original manuscript leaf from a manuscript Antiphonal. This beautiful four-line stave musical sheet is on animal parchment, written in liturgical gothic script. Six lines of music and text. (550 x 390mm - 21 5/8 x 15 1/4'').

Italy (Bologna), c. 1470-80.

One exceptional illuminated initial ''H'' in red and green. The interior is a floral design in green, red, blue and sepia on a deep blue ground; the initial sets on a burnished gold ground and continues into the margin. One illuminated initial in deep blue with delicate red penwork. Numerous initials heightened with yellow.

This leaf continues the Feast of St. Martin of Tours (patron saint of soldiers). The illuminated ''E'' begins: "Ego signo..." (I, protected by the sign of the cross, neither by shield nor helmet, will penetrate the squadrons of the enemy without fear).

The elaborate illuminated "H" begins: "Hic martinus...'' (This is that Martin whom God chose to be an High Priest unto Himself, he upon whom the Lord was pleased to bestow favor like as upon His Apostles So that he prevailed gloriously in the power of the Divine Trinity three times to raise the dead to life.).

 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.

Antiphonals contain chants for the canonical hours of the Divine Office: first vespers or the vigil of great feasts, matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers and compline.

Shipped unmatted.


  • Inventory Number: IM-10508