TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Processional (Dominican use)

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on paper with musical notation
Italy (Bergamo?), c. 1490-1525 (before 1538)

TM 804


iii (paper, i, lined with red cloth) + 77 + iii (paper, iii verso lined with red cloth) folios on paper, watermarks, unidentified (maybe an H? see f. 74), modern pagination, every twenty pages, top outer corner verso, modern foliation [cited] 1-77 in pencil top outer corner recto, apparently complete (collation i-iv10 v8 vi12 vii6+1 [quire of six with one leaf added at end] viii4 ix6), no catchwords or quire signatures, some quires numbered in pencil on the first leaf in a modern hand, copied by at least two scribes: scribe (or section) one, ff. 1-60v, single full-length vertical lines ruled in pencil, horizontal rules seem to vary, some in pencil, some possible in hard point (or pressed against a ruling board?), with staves ruled in a thick red, and on some folios the text copied between two lines in ink, very pale, and occasionally red (justification 144-143 x 103-100 mm.), copied in a gothic bookhand usually with five lines of text and music on each page, square musical notation on red four line staves, red rubrics, EIGHTY-EIGHT GOLD INITIALS, equivalent to one-line of text, sometimes slightly larger, infilled with and on parted grounds of some combination of blue, green and red, all with white highlights (many repeating the initial letter, some inscribed “IHS”), THREE LARGER GOLD INITIALS WITH BORDERS (one-line extending into the staff), ff. 29, 33, 38v, green and red, on square gold grounds, extending into borders in the inner margin of abstract flowers and leaves surrounded by hairlines, f. 1, large initial with FULL PAGE BORDER, [described below]; scribe (or section) two, ff. 60v-74, ruled in lead with single vertical bounding lines (justification 160-150 x 105-100 mm.), copied in a gothic book hand in twenty-three long lines with some square musical notation on red four-line staves, one-line red initials, two-line gold or blue initials, ff. 74v-77v, added slightly later (see provenance below), f. 1, gold cracking, top outer corner damaged, lower margin, chalice smudged, “ IHS” within the sunburst smudged (devotional use), bleed-through, f. 1v, from pigments, throughout, ink bleed (with etching in a few places due to acidity) and some soiling lower outer corner, a few initials smudged (ff. 21, 21v, 30v, 33), f. 39, ripped lower margin (no loss of text). Bound in modern (late nineteenth-century or early twentieth) neo-gothic blue velvet over wooden boards, gilt edges, red cloth doublures, with metal plaque in the Byzantine manner, front cover, a figure with a halo (Christ?), his hand raised in blessing and holding a book or tablet, with two crossed swords piercing a Knight’s helmet below, smooth rounded spine, sewn on five bands, gilt edges, front cover detached, but otherwise in good condition. Dimensions: 195 x 131 mm.

Unusual in being copied on paper, this is a profusely illuminated Processional with a full-page border on the opening page and eighty-eight gold initials on colored grounds. Although clearly copied for the use of Dominican friars, it was owned early in its history by a nun whose name, Augusta Angelica of Bergamo, is found in bold script near the end or the manuscript. The extensive and detailed liturgical directions in this Processional that describe how the liturgy was actually performed are of particular interest.


1. Copied for a male Dominican convent, possibly in the region of Bergamo in Italy in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century; border on f. 1 with unidentified coat of arms (difficult to read, but possibly de sable au mont de sinople). Liturgical use indicates that this was a Dominican manuscript (see Huglo, 1999, Tableau VII, pp. 52-53*). Although copied on paper, this is a profusely illuminated manuscript. 

2. The texts on ff. 74v-77v were added on leaves left blank at the end of the final quire; the last line on f. 77v is dated 1538; at the bottom of f. 77 there is an ex libris, copied in a bold script similar to the script used elsewhere in the manuscxripts: “Est Augustae sororis Angelice Bergomensis” (This is [the book of] Sister Augusta Angelica of Bergamo), evidence that although the manuscript was copied for male use (the text mentions the brothers and the Prior frequently), it was owned early in its history by a nun.

3. Later (eighteenth century?) owner’s name, “P. Roggari O.P.”, written in the bottom margin f. 1, in ink.

4. Collection of Count Paolo Vimercati-Sozzi (1801-1883) of Bergamo, who owned a collection that included a fair number of manuscripts, about fifteen of which are now found in institutional collections in the United States and England (see Schoenberg Database, many listed in multiple sales).


ff. 1-11, [Palm Sunday procession], incipt, “Pueri hebreorum tollentes ramos …”;

f. 6v, Ad introitum ecclesie vel ecclesia laicorum aut introitum chori cantores genua flectendo incipiant ant., Incipit, “Aue rex noster fili david …” [f. 8], Duo fratres quibus cantor inuixerit intrent ecclesiam uel chorum et clauso ostio stantes uersis uultibus ad conuentum. Finita antiph. Cantet uersus, incipit, “Gloria laus et honor …”;

Liturgical directions mention the brothers and the choir.

ff. 11-21, [Holy Thursday, Mandatum],  Feria v in cena domini I ad mandatum, incipit, “Actiones nostras quesumus domine aspirando perueni … “; concluding prayer, “Adesto domine nostre officio .. ;

ff. 21-26, [Good Friday, Adoration of the Cross], In parasceue duo sacerdotes tenentes crucem …, incipit, “Popule meus quid feci tibi aut in quo contrista uite …”;

Liturgical directions for texts song by the deacon, priest and chorus, and on f. 24, the prior.

ff. 26-28v, [Easter and the two following days], In die sancto pasce et duobus diebus, incipit, Cristus resurgens ex mortuis …”; … Oratio, incipit, Oremus. Deus qui pro nobis filium tuum cruces patibulum subire … concede nobis famulis tuis …”; incipit, Regina celi letare …”;

ff. 28v-33, [Procession for the Ascension], In die ascensionis cantoribus incipientibus. R., Viri galilei. Egrediatur processio, incipit, “Uiri galilei quid admirami …”; … Ad introitum ecclesie. Versus, incipit, “O rex glorie domine uirtutum …”;

ff. 33-37v, [Procession for the Assumption], In festo assumptionis beate marie virginis cantoribus incipientibus R. Egrediator processio, incipit, “Felix namque es sacra uirgo maria …”; … Ad introitum ecclesie, V., incipit, “Ibo michi ad montem mrire et ad colles libani …”;

ff. 37v-45, [Procession for the Purification], In purificacione ad benedicendum candelas. Finita tercia prior cum capa serica et diaconus cum missale et subdiaconis sericis induti precedentibus acoltis in albis … prior stans ante gradum presbiterii uerso uultu ad altare diacono coram ipso tenente librum candelas benedicat uoce mediocri. Hoc modo, incipit, “Dominus uobiscum. Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui hodierna die unigenitum tuum ulnis sancti symeonis …”; … Deinde cantor porigat candela pori incipiendo. Lumen ad reuelacionem cantando et replicando … finita distrubendo candelarum egrediatur processio, incipit, “Lumen ad reuelationem …”; Ad exitum processionis, Ant., incipit, “Ave gratia plena ..”; … Ad introitum ecclesie, incipit, “O ddie [sic] beata uirgo maria puerum iesum …”; incipit, Ille fratres carissimi completum est officium ante tronum …; Benedicamus domino …”; 

Note the settings for the “Benedicamus domino …” on ff. 44rv, include double sets of notation (one in black, one in red).

ff. 45v-54v, [Funeral Service], incipit, “Subuenite sancti dei occurrite angeli …; … incipit, “Clementissime domine qui pro nostra miseria ab impiorum manibus mortis …”;

ff. 54v-56, In sollemni receptione conuentus dicatur de beata virgine, ant. Salue, V. Aue regina. Item de beata dominico, ant. Olumen, Item de sancto cuius est ecclesia cum versiculus et orationibus suis, R, Bendic domine domum istam que hedificata est nomen …”;

f. 56rv, In receptione legatorum cantetur R., incipit, Ciues apostolorum et domestici …”;

ff. 57 -, [Services for Burial] Sepultura extraneorum, incipit, “Non intres in iudicium cum sero uo uel ancilla tua  …”; … Si fuerit uir oratio, incipit, “Inclina domine aurem tuam …”; Si fuerit femina, incipit, “Quesumus domine pro tua pietate …”; [note variants for a man or a woman, and liturgical directions on f. 58 noting variations in the service (si aliqua persona specialis cuiu ordo) or a member of the third order (de tercio ordine beati dominici patris) f.  f. 59, De puerorum sepultura …; … f. 61, Cum efferendus est frater defunctus ad sepeliendum debet paulo ante sacrista signum ad conuocandum fratres in choro …et stolas cum libellis processionalibus sacerdotibus distribuere …, incipit, “Non inters in iuditium cum seruo tuo …”; … incipit, “Absolue domine animam famuli tui et animas famulorum familariumque tuarum ab omni uinculo …”;

Notable for the lengthy liturgical direction describing the services in detail; begins with variations for burials of lay people, and then detailing the service for brothers from the convent.

ff. 74v-77v [Added on blank leaves at the end of the quire] Seven settings of the Benedicamus; [Response for Sundays at Terce], incipit, “Inclina cor meus deus .., [concluding with an exlibris], Est sororis Angelice Augustae Bergomensis”; f. 77v, Setting of the Benedicamus, with the heading “Ardesius”, and the date “1538” at the end.


f. 1, large (equivalent to two lines of text and two staves) gold initial, outlined in black, infilled with a IHS monogram in gold on a red and gold sunburst on white-highlighted blue, on a square blue and red ground, extending into a full border: top margin, S MARIA O, in gold on diamond-shapes of alternately green, blue, red, top outer and inner corner, larger motifs on gold, outer border with a coat of arms on red and gold (difficult to discern, perhaps de sable au mont de sinople), in the lower margin, a chalice on a blue ground, wreathed in green, all set within a trellis of repeating gold diamond shapes with alternately red or blue flowers on a ground of hairlines with gold balls; the chalice in the lower margin is smudged from devotional use;

Although it was copied on paper, this is a profusely decorated manuscripts, with eighty-eight gold gold initials on red and green grounds, with white highlights; often the iniials include the opening letters of the text within the initial (for example, f. 1v, P[ueri], gold P, with a “P” in white within the initial.

Processionals include the texts and chants necessary for liturgical processions and are of special interest to musicologists, since they sometimes include texts and music not found in other liturgical manuscripts.   Each person within a religious order (friars, monks, or nuns) had his or her own Processional, usually of small format. It was common for Dominican Processionals to be followed by the liturgy for Death and Burial (see other Dominican Processionals described in Huglo, 1999 and 2004, and Huglo, 1999, “Tableau VII. Le Processional Dominicain”, pp. 53*-54*).

The connection between this convent of Dominican friars and the lay community is demonstrated by the very detailed texts for the funeral service and burial, which begins with the service for people other than the friars themselves. This section includes alternate forms for men and women, as well as particular directions for burials of children, for people particularly close to this convent, and for members of the third order of St. Dominic.

This is all straightforward.  However, the manuscript concludes with the name, “Est Augustae sororis Angelice Bergom[ensis]” (This is [the book of] Sister Augusta Angelica of Bergamo) in a bold script very similar to the script used to copy the entire manuscript, leaving us with a puzzle. Presumably sister Angelica owned this book, even though the services were not adapted to female use. It is tempting to wonder if she could be this manuscript’s scribe, but unfortunately the wording seems to rule this out.

Some Processionals include extensive liturgical directions that describe how the liturgy was actually performed, in addition to the text and the music of the services. This evidence can be of particular value to liturgical historians. The liturgical directions in this manuscript are particularly detailed. For example, the text on f. 61, describes how the brothers of the convent are to gather in the Choir a little before a burial service. The cantor is directed to distribute stoles and “libellis processionalibus” to the priests. Details of the musical notation here also may repay further study, including the use of red and black neumes on f. 44rv; note also the spelling of “Benedicamus dooomino” extended to accommodate the long string of notes for the one word; and the elaborate notation for “gracias” on f. 45, extended over three lines; notes added in red, later hand, ff. 46, 47.


Bonniwell, W. R.  A History of the Dominican Liturgy, 1215-1945, New York, 1945.

Gy, P. M. “Collectaire, rituel, processional.” Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 44 (1960) 441-69.

Huglo, M.  Les livres de chant liturgique, Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental, 52, Turnhout, Brepols, 1988.

Huglo, Michel. “Processional”, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 20, London, 2001, pp. 388-393.

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume I, Autriche à Espagne, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (1), Munich, 1999.

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume II, France à Afrique du Sud, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (2), Munich, 2004.

Palazzo, Eric.  A History of Liturgical Books from the Beginning to the Thirteenth Century, translated by Madeline Beaumont, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1998.

Plummer, John.  Liturgical Manuscripts for the Mass and Divine Office, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1964.

Online resources

Introduction to liturgical manuscripts: “Celebrating the Liturgy’s Books”

General introduction to liturgical processions; (New Catholic Encyclopedia, “Processions”)