MISSAL, for the Use of Paris, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Paris, c.1410]295 x 210 mm. 307 leaves: 16, 2-148, 1510, 16-388, 393, original foliation in red roman numerals in upper right margin of rectos beginning on seventh leaf, catchwords in lower margins of final versos, some decorated with heads and grotesques, COMPLETE, 30 lines written in black ink in a gothic bookhand in two columns between four verticals and 31 horizontals ruled in black, justification: 203 x 65-14-64 mm, some additional short rulings in margins for corrections and additions, noted prefaces written below ten four-line staves ruled in red with music of square notation, canon of the mass written in 24 lines, rubrics in red or underlined in red, text capitals and some catchwords touched yellow, numerous one- and two-line initials with staves of burnished gold with grounds and infills alternately of pink and blue, both patterned with white, seven three-line initials with staves of blue or pink patterned with white on grounds of burnished gold with foliate infills, leading to hairline sprays or stems of vine leaves in the margins; seven similar five-line initials each accompanied by bars of burnished gold leading to stems of vine leaves on hair-line tendrils or painted stems, some with dragon terminals, TWO SMALL MINIATURES OVER LARGE INITIALS WITH BARS AND FULL BORDERS of vine leaves, foliage and flowers in gold, red and blue (slight cropping of some borders to top and sides, gold initial smudged f.ccxxvii v). 18th-century calf gilt stamped on upper and lower covers with the Instruments of the Passion within a double fillet border, smaller version of motif repeated on spine, and paper label titled in manuscript (worn, tears to upper cover with loss at lower corner).
1. The Missal is for the Use of Paris, as stated in the opening rubric on f.1; other rubrics are specific to the cathedral of Notre Dame. The calendar includes St Genevieve in red (3 January), the invention of St Denis (21 April), translation of the head of St Louis (17 May), Germanus, bishop of Paris (28 May), translation of St Marcel (26 July), the Crown of thorns (10 August), St Marcel, bishop of Paris, in red (3 November), miracle of Genevieve (26 November). The rubric for Palm Sunday describes how the procession should go from the cathedral of Notre Dame to Ste Genevieve, f.lxxvii, and the fullness of similar rubrics refering to Notre Dame suggest that the missal was made for use in the cathedral itself. The size of the volume shows that it was intended for those officiating at the mass, and the Passion sequences from the Gospels in Holy Week are initialled in red to cue in the different voices who took the roles of Pilate, Christ etc. The rubrics expect a full complement of clergy, including the bishop himself. Script and decoration show that it was made in Paris c.1410. It was carefully corrected by the scribe and further 15th-century annotations by the canon of the mass show that the manuscript continued in use, despite its generally very clean condition.
2. Ex libris M Le Fay?: in a 16th-century hand f.ccci v; the name repeated f.cxix v.
3. The Abbey of St-Faron at Meaux: 'Monasterii S. faronis Cong. S. Maur' inscibed at the top of the first leaf. The Benedictine Abbey at Meaux, originally dedicated to the Holy Cross, took the name of its 7th-century founder St Faron. Sacked by the Calvinists in 1562, its library was greatly augmented once it had joined the reforming Congregation of St Maur in 1607. Meaux was itself the seat of a bishopric and the book was perhaps preserved for its historical and aesthetic interest.
4. Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872); his lion stamp with Sir T.P. Middle Hill on first leaf; his number 2839 on added paper leaf at front and on label on spine. Acquired, in or from, Paris, it was one of the illuminated manuscripts to attract the attention of comte Paul Durrieu, when he visited the Phillipps library in 1888 (P. Durrieu, 'Les manuscrits à peintures de la bibliothèque de Sir Thomas Phillipps à Cheltenham', Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des chartes, 1889, pp.381-432, no XXXII). Invitation card to the Cheltenham Art Gallery, dated 1925, loose inside upper cover, with description of the manuscript on the reverse for an exhibition label, presumably in the hand of Sir Thomas's grandson, Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick (1856-1938), the custodian of the Library. British Library, Loan 36/11.
Missal for the Use of Paris: Calendar, first six leaves (unfoliated); Temporal, opening with the first Sunday in Advent, including noted Prefaces, ff.cx v - cxiv v, the canon of the mass with noted passages, ff.cxv-cxix v, ending with the dedication of a church followed by a prose for the building of a church, the Gloria and the Creed, ff.i- clxxxxiiii v; the Sanctoral, opening with the Vigil of St Andrew and ending with St Saturninus, ff.clxxxiii - cclxiiii v; Communal, followed by masses for the Trinity, the Cross, the Holy Spirit, the Virgin, the sick, All Saints, travellers, the king, friends, peace, storms, the church, prelates, temptations of the flesh etc, and the nuptial blessing and mass with the call for objections, the address to the couple and the groom's vow in French, blessings of salt and water, for pilgrims etc, mass of St Charlemagne, ff.cclxv - ccci.
This handsomely decorated missal relies for its rich effects on the combination of pink, blue and gold, typical of the great age of Parisian illumination. The large initials with borders distinguish the major feasts, such as Christmas, and the significant divisions of the text, like the Canon and Communal. Conventionally, the Communal was not introduced by as much decoration as the Temporal and Sanctoral. They are introduced by miniatures that richly extend the colour range by adding a strong orange-red and green. The first miniature is a literal visualisation of the opening words 'I have lifted up my soul to you, O God', where the priest holds aloft a small naked figure, representing his soul, above the chalice on the altar. The Sanctoral receives a similar direct illustration for the feast of St Andrew. The miniature shows Peter and Andrew pulling up their nets with the miraculaous draught of fishes, when they were first called by Christ to become his Apostles. The Apostles' toes are braced on the side of their boat as they haul their catch aboard.
The subjects of the miniatures are as follows: Priest celebrating the mass, f.i; calling of Sts Peter and Andrew by Christ, f.clxv.
The large initials with bars and borders are on ff.xiii, xvi v, cxv, cxx, cxxxviii, cxliii v, cclxv.