Original leaf from an unusual Spanish Antiphonal on animal parchment – written in Latin. The manuscript text and music (three lines of music on a five-line stave) were beautifully executed by hand over 400 years ago!!! (355 x 280 mm – 14 x 11 inches)
Spain, c. 1600, likely from a Cistercian monastery.
One dramatic large illuminated "B" (6.5 x 5.5 inches) in red and blue on a yellow ground framed in brown and red, with knot-work designs on interior and exterior.
The “B” opens the antiphon “Beata Bernardus ab in[fantia]” for the Feast of Saint Bernard – Hour of Vespers. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) was a Cistercian monk, theologian, Doctor of the Church, founder and abbot of the abbey of Clairvaux and one of the most influential churchmen of his time.
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.
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.