c 1600 Gregorian Chant - Unusual Large Elaborate Initial w Roses


Original leaf from a Spanish Antiphonal on animal parchment. (Outside dimensions 803 x 582mm – 31 5/8 x 23 inches)

The manuscript text and music (four lines of dark brown music on a red five-line stave) were beautifully executed by hand over 400 years ago!!!  Unusual massive size: This leaf is at the upper limits in size for a manuscript leaf on parchment. Only one leaf of this size could be obtained from a single animal skin. In very good condition for its size and devotional use. 

Spain, c. 1600.

One flamboyant illuminated initial  (280 x 250mm – 11 x 9 ¾’’) in red, blue and white with an internal floral design of a rosebush and buds in red and green surrounded by a frame of red and blue.

This leaf continues the Celebration of the Finding of the Holy Cross – May 3rd.  The large illuminated initial “O” begins  “O Magnum pietatis opus mors…” (this was Love’s great deed that death should die [when life itself was slain upon the tree]).

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.

Shipped unmatted

  • Inventory# IM-11504