Original leaf from a large manuscript Spanish Gradual on animal parchment.
Size: 533 x 370mm – 21 x 14.5 inches
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.
One elegant puzzle initial in red & blue with elaborate internal & external geometric "puzzle design" (in the Moorish influenced Mudejar style) in intricate red & violet penwork; three elaborate knot-work (cadel) initials heightened with yellow - one with intricate internal design in violet.
“A pen with a long slit - half or three-quarters of an inch - was used for drawing these flourishes” (Reference: Mudejar Ornament in Manuscripts, by Frances Spalding, p. 4, Hispanic Society of America, 1953,). Aside from the pen a sizable amount of talent was also required to produce this amazing fluid puzzle design!
The elaborate illuminated “V” begins the Sequence hymn for Pentecost – “Veni Sancte Spiritus…” (Come, Holy Spirit, send down those beams, which sweetly flow in silent streams from Thy bright throne above. O come, Thou Father of the poor; O come, Thou source of all our store, come, fill our hearts with love. O Thou, of comforters the best, O Thou, the soul's delightful guest, the pilgrim's sweet relief…).
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.