Intact medieval book containing the text and music for the Roman Ritual–extreme unction, baptism, various benedictions–with charming added (?) illustrations and in an original binding including a very early, possibly important musical pastedown with neumes.
1. Made for a priest, it specifies the ritual for administering sacraments and performing other services in the cure of souls. The opening rubric identifies it as for the liturgical Use of Rome, and the Office of the Dead is closer to the Use of Rome than any other published us, differing only in the response to the third lesson.
2. Perhaps modified pictorially in the nineteenth century.
3. Sale, London, Sotheby's 14 April 1924, lot 166b.
4. Purchased Maggs Bros., London, 19 August 1943; donated to Saint Mary's of the Barrens, Perryville, Missouri, November 1943.
5. The Countesse Estelle Doheny Collection, New York, Christie's, 14 December 2001, lot 7.
The subjects of the illuminations are as follows:
f. 1, full-page border with standing figures of Christ and a saint at lower corners, a central medallion with a seated ? Carthusian saint and, at the upper corners, medallions with two bust-length saints;
f. 20, a bird perched on a tree, between the columns of text;
f. 33v, marginal figure of a peasant balanced on rocky ground having let fly an arrow;
f. 51v, miniature with an enthroned monk handing the monastic rule to a group of monks, with a banner with the Crucifixion (contemporary ?);
f. 75v, marginal figure of a standing man, his head bandaged, holding his nose and pointing;
f. 78v, marginal figure of the Virgin holding a pair of scales.
The decoration of such books is customarily restricted to flourished initials, and this may originally have been the case with the present manuscript. Then, perhaps in the nineteenth century, it was provided with exotically archaic illumination combining Romanesque-style figures with beast and foliate decoration of Moorish appearance. The figures and scenes were supplied with no thought to their suitability to the text but to make a handsomely written, but serviceable, artefact into an attractive thoroughly medieval artwork
Thalhofer, Handbuch der kath. Liturgik, II, Freiburg, 1893, pp. 509-36.
The Roman Ritual translated by Philip T. Weller, STD