Original leaf from an 18th century Gregorian chant in two colors on fine hand made paper. Latin text with black square-note music on a red four-line stave. (485 x 330mm - 19 x 13’')
An unusual production – entirely done by hand, not in a printing press. The staves are hand ruled and penciled guidelines can still be seen on the text block. Lettering and designs are a combination of meticulously cut stenciled elements and freehand.
From an Antiphonal produced at a religious commune in Olbia, Italy, c. 1776 (dated elsewhere in the manuscript).
One large initial illuminated in deep red, and surrounded by red stars in the shape of a heart! The text and music is surrounded by an additional border having red stars and black flowers.
The illuminated ''V'' opens the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with part of Canticle of Canticles (Song of Solomon) 4:9, 1:3 & 3:4: ''Vulnerasti...'' (Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister my spouse. Draw me: we will run after thee to the odor of thy ointments. The king hath brought me into his storerooms: we will be glad and rejoice in thee.. I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him and I will not let him go).
This leaf is a very early official appearance of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back at least to the 11th century, but through the 16th century, it remained a private devotion. The first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated on August 31, 1670, in Rennes, France, but it took the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) for the devotion to become universal. Because the Church initially had doubts about the validity of St. Margaret Mary’s visions, it wasn’t until 1765 that the feast was celebrated officially in France. It is celebrated on the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi (or 19 days after Pentecost Sunday).
Antiphonals contain chants for the canonical hours of the Divine Office: first vespers or the vigil of great feasts, matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers and compline. They were used by priests, monks and nuns in churches and religious enclaves. The large size allowed them to be seen by multiple members of a choral section.