Original leaf from a medieval Choirbook. This musical leaf was executed by hand in manuscript calligraphy on animal parchment. (484 X 378MM – 19 X 14 7/8’’)
The music and text (written in rounded gothic script) were written in dark brown ink on four-line staves. Italy, c. 1400-50
The illuminated two-line initial (recto) is in pink with a floral interior design in red, green, pink, and yellow on a deep blue ground all resting on a yellow ground with leaves in blue or green extending beyond the initial.
The exceptional illuminated two-line historiated ''Q'' (verso) is painted in pink with an interior miniature of St. Francis of Assisi shown as a Franciscan monk, bearded and bearing the stigmata. The initial rests on a yellow ground extending into the margin with a floral design. Eight illuminated one-line initials alternating in red with delicate violet penwork and blue with delicate red penwork.
The two-line illuminated “A” begins Psalm 118 (King James 119) 26-32: “Adhesit…” (My soul hath cleaved to the pavement: quicken thou me according to thy word. I have declared my ways, and thou hast heard me. I have declared my ways, and thou hast heard me: teach me thy justifications. Make me to understand the way of they justifications: and I shall be exercised in thy wondrous works…).
The historiated initial “Q” begins the Athanasian Creed: “Quicumque vult salvus esse…” (Whoever wishes to be saved must above all, keep the Catholic faith…).
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.