Original leaf from an illuminated manuscript 18th century Gregorian chant in two colors on fine hand made paper.(480 x 330mm - 19 x 13’’) Latin text with black square-note music on a red four-line stave.
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. 1778 (dated and signed elsewhere in the manuscript by the scribe “J. Coudounel”).
One elaborate illuminated "C"(2 1/4 x 2'') in red surrounded by an intricate black border; Exceptional decoration above the title with vases, flowers and two prancing deer in red, black and brown within a red floral border.
The illuminated "C" begins a rarely encountered hymn for Saint Juliana Falconieri (1270-1341, canonized 1737), Italian foundress of the Religious Sisters of the Third Order of Servites: "Coelestis Agni..." (To be the Lamb's celestial bride Is Juliana's one desire; For this she quits her father's home, And leads the sacred virgin choir. By day, by night, she mourns her Spouse Nailed to the Cross, with ceaseless tears, Till in herself, through very grief, The image of that Spouse appears. Like Him, all wounds, she kneels transfixed Before the Virgin-Mother's shrine; And still the more she weeps, the more Mounts up the flame of love divine. That love so deep the Lord repaid His handmaid on her dying bed; When, with the Food of heavenly life, By miracle her soul He fed...).
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.