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OFFICE OF THE DEAD and related texts, use of St Kunibert, Cologne, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
OFFICE OF THE DEAD and related texts, use of St Kunibert, Cologne, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

OFFICE OF THE DEAD and related texts, use of St Kunibert, Cologne, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Cologne] 1487
230 x 158mm. 50 + i + xiv (the last 14 on paper), COMPLETE except for first flyleaf, probably blank: 13 (of 4, i cancelled), 2-78, 814; 19 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 20 horizontals, full-page colophon in red, ONE LARGE PENWORK INITIAL 'D' opening the Office of the Dead in blue and red with foliate infill of red, green and lilac, red penwork flourishing extending into the margin, two other penwork initials in a similar style, one- to three-line initials alternately of blue and red, those preceding music in black with lilac flourishing, music with hufnagel notation on four-line staves (wear and soiling throughout, some original repairs to leaves). Near-contemporary polished calf blind-rolled over wooden boards, the rolls including a Virgin and Child and a male saint with the text 'Apparitio in igni (?) et [...]', the spine of paler leather, each cover with four corner-pieces and central boss, fittings for a clasp, the upper cover with a title-piece inscribed 'Pro e[.]om[.]asaio (?) in choro decani' (strap and three bosses missing, two corner-pieces on the lower cover replaced).

The colophon states that the manuscript was commissioned by Johannes Ehrlich of Andernach, archbishop of Trier, for the church of St Kunibert, Cologne, in 1487: 'Hunc librum scribi fecit honorabilis dominus Johannes Eyrlich de Andernaco [Andernach, near Koblenz] Reverendissimi archiepiscopi Treverensis in hac ecclesia sancti Cuniberti vicarius et ipsum Huic ecclesie sancti Cuniberti scilicet ob remedium anime sue et benefactorum suorum contulit. Sub anno domini M.cccc.lxxx septimo'. Nearly identical inscriptions occur in other manuscripts, including Darmstadt, Hs 859 (dated 1480). The lists of obits (commenced in 1727), cataloguing deaths from as early as 1362 (Constantinus de Cornu), and continued until June 1777 and the notes on two loosely inserted slips of paper indicate that it was still at St Kunibert's likely until the secularisation in 1802.

Added (late 15th?-century) 'Tenebrae' service for Holy Week ff.1-2; a short quote attributed to Bernard f.2v; full-page colophon f.3; blank f.3v; Office of the Dead, use of St Kunibert, Cologne ff.4-28; preparation for Mass ff.28v-35v; Burial service ff.36-50v; added (16th-century) prayers for the benefit of 'Anima Andreae Praepositi' f.51r-v; added lists of obits ff.52-65; a note on how to find tombs, mentioning various parts of the church and altars f.65v.

AN IMPORTANT TESTAMENT TO THE HISTORY OF ST KUNIBERT AND TO THE DAILY RUNNING OF ITS MONASTERY. The main text, the Office of the Dead, has responsories corresponding to nos 14, 72, 46; 24, 32, 79; 68, 82, 38 in Ottosen, The responsories and versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead, 1993, p.159, for which he has only two examples, both attributed to St Severin, Cologne (Darmstadt Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek, Hss. 914 and 938); the lections correspond to his relatively rare 'Group 9' (pp.85-7; 'the only set of readings in Cologne').

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Eugenio Donadoni
Eugenio Donadoni

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