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!!!
Spain, c. 1475-1500.
Four elaborate knot-work (cadel) initials heightened with yellow and with an intricate internal design in violet.
This leaf continues the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the hymn Veni Virgo Virginum. The knot-work “N” begins: “Nos rege nos…” (Rule us and cherish us, and stir us on: Raise us from misery’s lake. Come, O rod of Jesse! Come, flower of spring – thou rose without a blight, Break by thy constant prayer the sinner’s chain…)
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.