Original leaf from a large manuscript Spanish Gradual on animal parchment. (533 x 370mm – 21 x 14.5”)
The manuscript text and music (5 lines of music on a five-line stave) were beautifully executed by hand over 500 years ago in the 15th century!!! Third stave has a small hole which occurred when the parchment was originally stretched. Spain, c. 1475-1500.
Four elaborate knot-work (cadel) initials heightened with yellow with very intricate internal design in violet.
The knot-work “U” continues Sancti Spiritus adsit nobis Gratia: “Ut videri supremus…” (To the end that the Father of all things may be seen by us, He, whom the eyes of none save the pure of heart can behold. Thou didst inspire the Prophets to chant aforehand their glorious heralding of Christ. Thou didst confirm the Apostles…).
As is usual with Medieval and Renaissance parchment, the hair side of the leaf is darker than the flesh side, but may take ink somewhat better. The differences in tone caused scribes to arrange their quires so that the hair side of one sheet faced the hair side of the next, and the flesh side faced the flesh side.
Graduals contain the musical chants for the proper of the Mass: introits, graduals, tracts, alleluia, offertory and communion verses, and sequences for special feasts. They may also include chants for the ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and for the introductory ‘asperges’ rite.