c 1550 Gregorian chant leaf - initials w peacock and butterflies


Original and exceptional Gregorian Chant, on animal parchment, from a manuscript Antiphonal. Unusual massive size (800 x 540mm – 32 x 22’’) with twelve lines of text in colors of red and brown. A strikingly handsome illuminated leaf of vast dimensions and skillful exeution in exceptional condition. It is approaching the upper limits of size for a manuscript leaf on parchment - only one leaf of this size could be obtained from a single skin.

Two flamboyant three-line initials - one decorated with butterflies (symbol of the Resurrection of Christ) and flowers; one containing a peacocksymbol of immortality. The initials are in reds, pink, blues, and greens - embellished with gold and silver.   

Spain, c. 1550.

The large initial “D” (containing a peacock) begins Psalm 17 (King James 18) 36:“Dedisti mihi protectionem…” (Thou hast given me the protection of thy salvation…).

The “P” (bottom) begins Psalm 17 (KJ 18) 3: “Protector meus et cornu…”(My protector & the horn of my salvation…).

The large initial “S” (verso) begins Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 14:26: “Statuet filios suos..” (He shall set his children under her shelter…).

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.

 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.

Shipped unmatted
  • Inventory# IM-238