Original leaf from an 18th century Gregorian chant 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 large illuminated initial (3 1/4’’ square) in green, outlined in red and surrounded by an elaborate black border with an interior of flower blossoms and a deer; One illuminated initial (3 1/4 ''square) in green with red outline, and surrounded by an elaborate black border with an interior of flower blossoms and stars. Two deer face each other beneath the initial.
The elaborate illuminated ''I'' begins the hymn: ''Iste...'' (The Witness of the Lord, this holy man whose feast the people celebrate throughout the world, has this day deserved to rise in blessedness to the highest hall of heaven. He who was godly, prudent, humble, modest, sober and quiet of life, yet was prompt to exert himself in bodily action. At his sacred tomb the limbs of many sick, by whatever disease they are afflicted, are quickly restored to health...).
The elaborate illuminated ''S'' begins ''Sacerdos...' '(O priest and bishop, thou worker of all virtues, good shepherd of thy people, pray for us to the Lord).
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.