FESTAL LECTIONARY WITH INVITATORIES AND ANTIPHONS, for a church of St Barnabas, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern Italy], 1546.
406 x 270mm. 84 leaves, contemporary foliation starting from second leaf, i-lxxxi, followed here: 111(of 10 + i), 2-710, 813(of 12 + xiii), COMPLETE, written in brown-black ink in a rounded gothic bookhand with humanistic capitals, ff.i-liv in 30 lines between 2 paired verticals and 60 horizontals ruled in grey, justification: 270 x 178mm; ff.lv-lxxxi in 7 lines below four-line staves ruled in red with music of a square notation, justification: 292 x 182mm; rubrics in red, flourished text capitals, three-line initials in red or blue, one three-line initial in gold on a maroon ground, THIRTY LARGE INITIALS ON GOLD GROUNDS with bejewelled acanthus staves predominantly in red, blue, green and yellow on gold grounds, the first accompanied by a two-sided BORDER OF ACANTHUS curling round flowers on gold grounds with a coat of arms in the lower margin (wear to margins and to some illuminated initials). 19th-century blue half morocco, spine in six compartments (extremities rubbed with occasional small losses).
1. Made for a church of St Barnabas with funds left for books by the priest, Dominicus de Gropis, whose name is inscribed in a banderole above the arms on f.i, as recorded in the colophon on the last leaf. This states that the book was begun in 1544 and completed on March 6, 1546, under Vincentius Taiapetra, plebanus, when Augustinus Nigrus was priest of St Barnabas.
2. Sotheby's, London, 11 July 1960, lot 155; Alan Thomas, Catalogue 13, 1963, no 4, cutting inside lower cover.
Contemporary list of contents on first leaf; Lections for the feasts of Easter week, Corpus Christi, St Barnabas, St John the Baptist, Sts Peter and Paul, the Visitation, Christmas ff.i-liiij; invitatories for some of these feasts, for a saint's day, for All Souls ff.lv-lxxvij; Marian antiphons ff.lxxviij-lxxxi; added Marian canticle on penultimate leaf; colophon on last leaf.
The content is very individual and is nicely summarised in the opening rubric on f.1: 'Extraordinary book in which are contained many things relating to the divine office'. The book is written in a large, clear script and handsomely decorated for use as a choirbook to supplement the volumes already in the church's possession. The decoration suggests that this church was in northern Italy.