PROCESSIONAL OF NONNBERG ABBEY, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
194 x 145mm. i + 134 leaves: 1-212, 3-410, 59(of 10, lacking vi), 6-1210, 1312 (of 10 + xi & xii), 1 blank leaf with four verticals ruled in red f.1, 6 lines of text in a round gothic book hand in black ink between music in Hufnagelschrift neumes on six four-line staves ruled in red, justification: 140 x 106mm, rubrics in Latin with a few in German, one-line painted initials in pink, red, blue, green or orange with pen-flourishing some with faces or coloured foliate infill throughout, forty-six one-line initials painted red, blue, purple, green or in gold on foliate grounds of the same colours with white tracery and pen-flourished frames, some in gold, 128 one-line initials in gold or colours on foliate grounds with gold or silver frames with pen-flourishing and foliage and ribbon extensions into the margin, SIX LARGE INITIALS in gold on painted foliate grounds highlighted in white, or in colours on gold grounds with scrolling foliate and ribbon extension into margin and pen-flourished gold or coloured frames, THREE LARGE HISTORIATED INITIALS in gold on coloured grounds with foliate extension, ONE LARGE HISTORIATED INITIAL WITH THREE-SIDED BORDER of flowers, bezants and the arms of the Pfäffinger of Salmanskirchen, Bavaria, Marckdorff and von Kuenburg families (some marginal decoration cropped, some stains and spotting, a small paper slip pasted over an error in the musical notation on f.6v). Austrian late 16th-century pigskin over pasteboards tooled in blind to a panel design of triple filets filled with rolls of heraldry and half-length figures of the Evangelists with their names inscribed beneath framing central panels of the Crucifixion with a snake (upper cover) and the prophet Samuel anointing David who kneels with his harp on the ground (I Samuel 16:1-13) (lower cover), with the date 1591 and initials 'M.V.K' stamped and gilt on upper cover, two clasps on leather thongs, three raised double spine bands and four blind-tooled compartments (corners bumped, small holes on lower cover).
AN ATTRACTIVE ILLUMINATED LITURGICAL MANUSCRIPT OF THE BENEDICTINE CONVENT OF NONNBERG ABBEY, SALZBURG, CONTAINING THE ARMS AND PORTRAIT OF ITS PATRON
1. Made for, and very possibly at, the Benedictine Abbey of Nonnberg, Salzburg, the oldest women's religious house in the German-speaking world, which was founded around 714 by St Rupert of Salzburg, and whose first abbess was St Erentrude of Salzburg: with two hymns for each saint on ff.57v-58v, 114-116, and 118v-119, and inscribed 'Auß der Nun(n)bergerischen librarj' and 'Chreuzgang Buch Durch Das ganz Jahr' on ff.1v and 2 (for the manuscripts of Nonnberg's library see H. Tietze, Die illuminierten Handschriften in Salzburg, 1905, pp. 83-8).
This volume contains the processional chant used by a nun of Nonnberg, probably called Margarethe Marckdorff, whose family arms (argent, a leopard gules; Rietstap, Armorial général illustré, 1903-26, 4, pl.CXLII) and portrait in Benedictine habit appear before her patron St Margaret on f.52. The occurrence of the Pfäffinger arms (or, a demi-wolf naissant sable, langued gules; Rietstap, 5, pl.XLVI), alongside those of the Marckdorff on the first page, suggest that Margarethe commissioned it (or wrote it herself?) during the abbacy of Regina Pfäffinger (1504-14, died 23 April 1516). Abbess Pfäffinger is renowned for overseeing the last phase of major building works in the abbey's complex. Her gravestone with portrait and arms is erected in the north side-aisle of the church (see M. Walz, Die Grabdenkmäler von St. Peter und Nonnberg zu Salzburg, 1867-75, I, no 133, and H. Tietze, Die Denkmale des Stiftes Nonnberg in Salzburg: mit archivalischen Beiträgen von Fr. Regintrudes von Reichlin-Meldegg, 1911, pp.XXV-XXVI, and p.41 fig.56).
2. The rebinding of the book in 1591 was most likely paid for by Margarethe von Kuenburg (died 24 September 1594), another nun of Nonnberg, whose initials 'M.V.K.' are stamped on the binding with the date. Her interest in the book perhaps owed to an ancestral association, as the third coat of arms on its frontispiece of a shield gules, with and unidentified charge, possibly denotes the Kuenberg family. Margarethe also donated to Nonnberg a wooden shrine painted with figures of Mary and John the Evangelist and, also in 1591, a silk altar-cloth embroidered with gold and silver and inscribed with her arms, initials and the date (Tietze, 1911, p.65 figs.86, 67, 121, 164). Her tombstone is on the north wall of the abbey church (Walz, 1867-75, I, no 225).
The text, musical notation and stave-ruling for the hymn added to the final blank leaf (f.135) sometime in the 16th century, and a 17th-century note on f.56 are also testaments to the continued use of the volume.
The book probably left Nonnberg in the early 19th century when the abbey avoided dissolution by appeasing the civil government with manuscripts from its library (see J. Plante, A Checklist of Manuscripts Microfilmed for the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, 1967, I, part 2 for an inventory of the remaining 235 manuscripts).
3. F. Zisska and R. Kistner, Munich, Auktion, no 8, pt.I, 23 October 1986, lot 4A; Heribert Tenschert, Illumination und Illustration vom 13. bis 16. Jahrhundert: Katalog XX zum 10 jährigen Firmen-Jubiläum, 1987, no 22, pp.106-9.
Ruled blank f.1, Antiphons, hymns, responsories, etc. for the season from Palm Sunday to Corpus Christi ff.2-48, the short litany including Sts Rupert and Erentrude; for the feasts of John the Baptist, Erentrude, Margaret, the Conception of the Virgin, Rupert, and All Saints ff.48-60; from Advent to Pentecost ff.60-78v; Septuagesima to Corpus Christi ff.79-95v; for the Dead ff.95v-102; Passion Sunday ff.102-110; the Dedication ff.110-114; Erentrude, Blaise, Rupert and All saints ff.114-116; Mary, Nicholas, Benedict, and Erentrude ff.116-119; Dedication ff.119-121, Easter ff.121v-123, Christmas ff.123-126v, Purification ff.126v-128v, John the Evangelist ff.128v-130; after Pater Noster f.132, before Agnus Dei f.132, for the Dedication of an Altar ff.133-133v, for those buried in the cemetery f.133v, Litany including invocations to Rupert, Benedict, and Erentrude ff.134-134v; added Benedicamus.
SCRIPT, ILLUMINATION AND BINDING:
Although 'library' and de luxe liturgical books were predominantly made by professionals from the 13th century onwards, there is evidence that liturgical books for daily use continued to be made by monks and nuns for their own use. There is also considerable evidence for the production of books by nuns in the 15th century, and it is probable that the nuns of Nonneberg (who were aristocratic and therefore doubtless especially literate) could have made books for their own use. The scribe slipped into the vernacular for some of the rubrics in the present manuscript ('In dem aschtag' for Ash-Wednesday on f.87v, and 'zu dem pater noster vor dem agnus dei' on f.132), which perhaps also argues against professional production.
The border decoration of scrolling multi-coloured foliage with turned flower-heads and large bezants is close in style to that of the Wolfgang Missal, which was illuminated for abbot Wolfgang Schrötl of Rein Abbey in 1492 (Rein Abbey, Stiftsbibliothek, Ms. 206; see H. Sieveking, Der Master des Wolfgang-Missale von Rein: zur österreichischen Buchmalerei zwischen Spätgotik und Renaissance, 1986).
The subjects of the historiated initial are: Christ's Entry into Jerusalem f.2; St. Margaret and a Benedictine nun with Marckdorff heraldry f.54; the Presentation in the Temple f.70; and St Benedict f.73.
The design of the binding's blind-stamped central panels of the Crucifixion with a snake, and the anointing of David are found on the covers of a group of books from Salzburg, Admont, Munich and Dresden dated up to 1597 (Konrad Haebler, Rollen- und Plattenstempel des XVI Jahrhunderts, 1929, II, pp.160 nos iv and v, 161).