PROCESSIONAL of Augustinian use, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[northern France or southern Netherlands, mid- and late 13th century] 144 x 104mm. i + 213 + i leaves: 1-38, 49, 5-88, 94(with stubs of 3 cancelled blanks), 10-278, apparently COMPLETE, some informally written catchwords on right of lower margins of final versos, some signatures, eight lines for music of square notation on four-line staves of red between two verticals and nine horizontals ruled in black, justification: 112 x 67mm, 15 text lines between two verticals and 16 horizontals, lines 2, 4, 14 and 16 extending across page, ruled in grey, justification: 105 x 67 mm, from f.150 12 text lines between two verticals and 13 horizontals, upper and lower two ruled across page, ruled in black, justification: 107 x 62mm, prickings in lower margin, in black ink written by two scribes in gothic bookhands, rubrics in red, elaborate text capitals touched red, line-endings in red and blue, one-line initials alternately in red or blue, with contrasting flourishing from f.150, two-line initials in red extensively flourished with blue with red detailing or in blue extensively flourished in red with blue detailing, one large densely flourished initial with border in red and blue, SEVEN LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS with staves of burnished gold with grounds and infills of blue and pink patterned with white, framed in burnished gold, extending into the margins, THREE FULL-PAGE ILLUMINATED BORDERS, two with beasts or figures, marginal annotations and additions to offices in a neat hand, long-eared owl doodled in margin f.96v (slight cropping, border rubbed f.1, many folios with red ink smudged or offset, small holes in nine folios, outer margins excised ff.78-79 and partially f.165). 19th-century vellum.
1. For the use of an Augustinian house: in the office for the profession of novices, the novice vows to live secundum canonicam regulam beati augustini, f.211; there are references to the abbot, the brothers and the monastery, indicating Augustinian Canons not Friars. The saints commemorated were all widely revered; given their limited number, the presence of Sts Augustine, Denis, Blaise and Nicasius of Rheims is consistent with an origin in northern France. The feast of the translation of St Ursula's relics before John the Baptist's day is noteworthy.
2. Title in French on 19th-century binding
Processional, for major feasts from Christmas to St Nicaise ff.1-69; later hand copied opening of f.70 on f.69v otherwise blank; Kyriale followed by hymns for principal feasts ff.70-149; Supplementary offices and prayers etc to the Processional, some noted, opening with the Commendation of Souls, Prayers for the sick, Extreme Unction, Burial, Blessing of candles for the Purification of the Virgin, Palm Sunday, Easter and the Profession of Novices ff.150-211
The book seems to have been made in two stages, with ff.1-149 being written and illuminated first and ff.150-211 being written and illuminated to a similar, but not identical format, to supplement the first section.
The illumination of the first part seems datable to the mid-13th century, with its spiky forms and stiff little bird and rabbit on f.1. Of the large initials, that on f.58 contains a burnished gold fleur-de-lys, that on f.62v a trident form and that on f.64v a reversed fleur-de-lys. The opening folio of the second part with its animated bagpiper and dancer shows the new liveliness introduced into marginalia by the illuminators of the Jean Cholet Group in Paris in the 1280s, exemplified by the Montpellier Chansonnier (exh. cat. L'Art au temps des rois maudits Philippe le Bel et ses fils 1285-1328, Paris, Grand Palais, 1998, pp.262-4). The careful detailing of the animated figures is matched by the intricacy of the interlace in the main initial. The two phases of production are also evident in the pen flourishing, which on ff.1-149 is very flexible, curving freely into the margins and then crossed or dotted with the contrasting colour, while from f.150 the flourishing becomes more systematised, filling the margin with alternate bands of red and blue.
The full-page borders are as follows:
f.1 Large initial, with staves of pink or blue on a blue ground with beast-headed foliate infill in blue and orange on pink, leading to full bar border in blue and pink with spear-shaped terminals in blue, pink and orange, decorated with burnished gold circles, supporting a bird and a rabbit in the lower margin.
f.5v Large initial with stave of blue with white decoration running to foot of text, where bar extends across page, beast-headed foliate infill in blue, orange and burnished gold, ground of pink patterned with white, framed in burnished gold.
f.150 Large initial with stave in blue with white decoration, interlace infill of blue, orange and yellow with burnished gold disks, on a ground of pink dotted with white, framed in burnished gold and with gold circles, leading to a bar border which joins a similar smaller initial and comes to a foliate terminal at the lower right, supporting a bagpiper playing for a second man's dancing (cropped).