OFFICE BOOK, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
194 x 130mm. 84 leaves: 15(of 8, lacking i, iii & iv), 2-38, 47(of 8, lacking viii), 58, 66, 78, 85, 97, 10-118, 126, catchwords on several final versos, lacking at least one further gathering between 9 and 10, usually 21 lines in black/brown ink in a gothic bookhand between two verticals and 22 horizontals ruled in brown, justification: 128 x 93mm, folios 39-42 in 24 lines and some folios extended up to 26 lines, Office of the Dead with music of square notation on a four-line red stave, rubrics in red, text capitals alternately red and blue, two-line initials of blue flourished red, four-line puzzle initials of red and blue with flourishing of both colours, antiphons in Office of the Dead opening with calligraphic initials incorporating masks and faces in brown/black ink with touches of red (worn and stained). 17th-century calf (rebacked, corners worn).
1. This Office Book was made for use in the orbit of Norwich Cathedral: the feast of the Dedication of the Cathedral of Norwich is entered in red in the Calendar, and the number of lessons for several feasts are specified as being according to the prescription of the synod of Norwich. The manuscript was clearly well used over a protracted period, texts were continued into the lower margin and new devotions were added on folios 39-42. Two obits were entered in the Calendar in a 15th-century hand: 26 October 'Ricardi Denham capellani' and 18 November 'd[omi]ne agnetis sampson q[uo]nd[a]m canonicalis de Ga.....'.
The nature of the texts, and the importance given to the Office of the Dead suggest that the book was made specifically for use in connection with a chantry foundation. The most likely being one attached to either the Carnary chapel, which was within the precincts of the Cathdral, or the chapel of the nearby Great Hospital of St Giles.
2. Various 16th-century inscriptions include the names 'Richard a Thartoun' (f.40), 'homfraye Athertoun' and 'Rycharde Atherton' (f.44v), and 'James myddleton owys this boke' and 'Thamys medylton ones thys boke'.
3. Sir Joseph Radcliffe, of Rudding Park: his bookplate inside upper cover and sale at Christie's, 20 December 1972, lot 225.
Computational tables f.1r&v; Calendar, lacking January to April ff.2-5v; Office of the Virgin, opening with vespers for Advent, continuing through compline and lauds ff.5-28v; Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin ff.28v-38v; Hours in honour of the name of Jesus ff.39-42; Mass of the Holy Wisdom ff.42-42v; Seven Penitential Psalms and Litanies ff.43-54v; Office of the Dead, noted ff.56-83v.