PROCESSIONAL, for the use of the Dominicans, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[southern Germany, c.1470]
131 x 103mm. 94 leaves: 110, 28, 38, 48, 58, 68, 78, 86, 94, 108, 112, 128, 138, COMPLETE, five lines of text between five lines of music of square notation on a four-line stave, all written in brown ink, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, versal initials of red, blue and brown often with liquid-gold infills, NINE LARGE HISTORIATED INITIALS on grounds of burnished gold within frames of two colours and with full or three-quarter borders of curling stems and leaves with flowerheads and fruit including carnations, columbines, squash and strawberries, interspersed with silvered disks (some thumbing of margins, and disks of borders often oxidised). Early 16th-century goatskin ruled, rolled and stamped in blind with a hunting scene and flowerheads, 15th-century German paper pastedown on lower cover with a Latin Benediction in manuscript (worn, rebacked and repaired).
1. Coat of arms with an animal-head crest above the date 1485 on the verso of the parchment flyleaf
2. Sister Maria Neiburgrin, prioress of St Katharina in Freiburg in Breisgau in 1632: ownership note on the parchment flyleaf above the sentence Wie, wo, wann und was, jat wiss wiss ich such
ff.2-56 Chants for the processions for the church year starting with Palm Sunday; ff.56v-79v Chants for solemn receptions and the Feast of Dedication; ff.80-94 Burial service
Gatherings 8 & 9 (Feast of Dedication) and gatherings 10 & 11 (Salvator mundi salva nos...) are the work of different scribes from the remainder of the manuscript, but the decoration is uniform throughout.
It is most unusual for a Processional to be decorated with so many and such charming historiated initials. The forms and style of the illumination - the jaunty, round-faced figures, the frame-mouldings of divided colour and the exuberant fruity acanthus borders - all point to the origins of this manuscript in southern Germany. It would have been made for a member of a Dominican house to carry and use in processions.
The subjects of the historiated initials are as follows:
f.2 Entry into Jerusalem
f.10v Last Supper
f.20 Christ washing Peter's feet
f.41 Death of the Virgin
f.80v Coffin with pall and aspersorium