c 1550 Gradual Title Page - Royal Workshop of Henri II


Original leaf from a scarce Renaissance manuscript Processional Gradual. The opening leaf from the parent manuscript states this was a “Gradual for the Carthusian Order.” France, c. 1550From the Royal Workshop of Henri II. (183 x 128mm 7 ¼ x 5 1/8’’)

Small highly illuminated manuscript music was very uncommon and expensive, usually reserved for royalty, the very wealthy or members of religious orders from notable families. Exceptional full-page miniature painting on animal vellum.                                             

France, c. 1550From the Royal Workshop of Henri II.

This leaf contains a sectional title for the Gradual & depicts two angels with red, gold & blue wings dressed in pink & blue holding the dedication, written in gold ink. A ribbon flowing above and against a starlit sky (also in gold ink) reads the opening to Psalm 149: “Cantate Domino…” (Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle).

Recto contains four large illuminated initials in blue or pink & white on a gold ground with a floral motif (the “C” contains a butterfly – symbol of the Resurrection of Christ); one paraph in liquid gold on blue ground.  

The illuminated “S” begins part of I Timothy 1:17 “Soli deo honor et Gloria. Amen” (To God alone be honor and glory, Amen). The illuminated “T” begins a quote by St. Basil the Great – Archbishop of Caesarea written in Greek.

Graduals contain the musical chants for the proper of the Mass: introits, graduals, tracts, alleluia, offertory and communion verses, and sequences for special feasts. They may also include chants for the ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and for the introductory ‘asperges’ rite.

Presented in an archival 14x11'' mat.

  • Inventory# IM-3300