Original leaf from a 15th century Gregorian chant. This musical sheet was executed by hand in manuscript calligraphy on animal parchment. (610x430mm - 23 ½ x 16 ¾’’)
The music and text (six lines written in rounded gothic script) are written in black ink, on a five-line-stave, with headings and rubrics in red.
Spain: Seville, c. 1460-90.
This striking leaf is related to a series of choir books attributed to the Master of the Cypresses who illuminated twenty Choir books that are preserved in the Cathedral of Seville. Once thought to be Pedro da Toledo, he is now believed to be Nicolás Gómez – active 1460-90.
The highly illuminated initial extend the length of the five-line stave and is in burnished gold with and interior floral motif on blue ground, resting on an outer rectangular red ground with a delicate floral motif; then extending into the margin in an elegant rinceaux-style border of vines adorned with gold bezants!
The illuminated “C” begins part of Psalm 44 (King James 45) 17-18: “Constitues...” (You will make them princes over all the earth; they will remember your name, oh Lord...).
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.