Original leaf from an 18th century Gregorian chant on fine hand made paper. (480 x 330mm - 19 x 13’’)
From an Antiphonal produced at a religious commune in Olbia, Italy, c. 1778 (dated and signed elsewhere in the manuscript by the scribe “J. Coudounel”).
Latin text with black square-note music on a red four-line stave. An unusual production – entirely done by hand, not in a printing press. The staves are hand ruled and penciled guidelines can still be seen on the text block. Lettering and designs are a combination of meticulously cut stenciled elements and freehand.
There are two large attractive illuminated initials enhancing the leaf - one on each side. One large illuminated initial "F" (3 1/4’’ square) in red on a yellow ground with stars and a deer, surrounded by an elaborate black border; One illuminated initial "J" (3 1/4 ''square) in red with stars and flanked by two deer on a yellow ground, and surrounded by an elaborate black border.
This leaf continues the Mass for Martyrs.. The elaborate illuminated "F" begins "Filii..." (Sons of men, know ye that the Lord hath made his holy one wonderful. Oh Lord, thou hast crowned us with the shield of your goodwill).
The elaborate illuminated "J" begins Psalm 10 (King James 11) 8: "Justus..." (The Lord is just, and hath loved justice…).
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. They were used by priests, monks and nuns in churches and religious enclaves. The large size allowed them to be seen by multiple members of a choral section.