TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Antiphonary and Lectionary (use of the Carthusians)

In Latin, manuscript on parchment
[Germany ?, c. 1450, 1475-1500, with later additions]

TM 19

227 folios, three blank, missing between ff. 34 and 35, perhaps 10 folios, else complete, two sets of original foliation, in red, in Arabic numbers from ff. 1-117 on ff. 11-116, and in lower case Roman numerals from f. i-cii on ff. 120-219, text written in brownish-black ink, on c. 19-24 lines (justification c. 130 x 87 mm., in a liturgical book hand (upright and formal, ff. 10-116v; sloping and rounded, ff. 120-224v), square musical notation on a 4-line black stave, ff. 10-116v, rubrics in red, lombards in alternating red and blue capitals stroked in red, some calligraphic ligne endings in red ink, 10 larger decorated initials, 4- 7-lines, in red and blue pigment with some white tracery, finding tabs mostly of red knotted leather, some of parchment strips, relatively thick parchment, occasionally torn, sometimes mended with red thread (e.g., f. 203), in excellent condition. Modern binding of brown leather in imitation of a medieval style, with 10 brass bosses, clasps, fasteners missing, edges stained red. Dimensions 180 x 130 mm.

Unusual in that it combines an Antiphonal and a Lectionary for an unidentified foundation of the Carthusian Order, the present manuscript was probably made in Germany, based on its script, decoration, and other codicological features. Carthusian musical manuscripts are less plentiful than are those of the Roman Rite.


1. Made for the use of a Carthusian foundation on the basis of the calendar (compare Grotefend, vol. 2, pp. 18-20), probably in Germany on the basis of the script, the style of the decoration, the use of red pigskin for the finding tabs, and the presence of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary in red in the calendar. Although the foliation is contemporary and appears to be in the same hand, the three sections were written at different times: the calendar and the Lectionary earlier (and probably together), likely c. 1450, judging from the script and decoration; and the Antiphonal later, probably the last quarter of the century, based on the script and decoration (the 4-line stave confirms a pre-1500 date). Nevertheless, the three parts appear to have been together since the Middle Ages.

2. Still in use in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when many additions were made to the calendar and throughout the text: Bruno (6 November and octave), Ignatius, Nicolas Tollentini, Francis etc.


ff. 2-7, Calendar, in black and red, KL calends in blue, of conventional Carthusian type, with Mary Magdalene (22 July), Bernard (20 August), the Feast of the Relics (8 November), Hugo of Lincoln in red (17 November). On January 8, the Dedication of the Church remains unidentified. Elizabeth of Hungary (November 19) in red suggests a German provenance. Many later additions to the calendar are also Carthusian such as Bruno (November 6)

f. 8, blank;

ff. 9-119 (ff. 25-35 missing), Antiphonal, rubric, Capit, "Deus charitas est ... exaudi orationem meam"; f. 10, rubric, Dominicis diebus ...; incipit, "nunc sante nobis spiritus ...explicit, "iustificationes tuas".; f. 11 [i], Temporal, rubric, De adventu domini ...; Introit, "Ad te levavi ..."; f. 87 [88], Santoral, rubric De S. Andrea apostolo; f. 106 [107] blank; f. 107 [108], Common of the Saints, beginning with rubric, De SS. Apostolorum, followed by the Common for the Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, etc., followed by three unnumbered folios with additions in different, later hands;.

Manuscript for the liturgical use of the Carthusians, probably for a foundation in Germany, consisting of three parts. The calendar is followed by the Antiphonal, with later additions, which is in turn followed by a Lectionary. Contemporary foliation in Arabic numerals for the Antiphonal starts over with foliation in lower-case Roman numerals for the Lectionary. The script, layout, and decoration of the calendar suggest that it was intended to accompany the Lectionary before the Antiphonal was added, probably a quarter century later.

Different from the liturgy of the Roman Rite, the Carthusian liturgy is that of twelfth-century Grenoble (where the mother house was located) with some additions from other sources. A type of Gregorian chant, the Carthusian chant is said to have a special character of its own, slow and plaintive. The rubrics say: "As the duty of a good monk is rather to lament than to sing ... we must so sing that lamentation, not the joy of singing, be in our hearts." (Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 3, p. 389). Because the number of monasteries is more restrictive, Carthusian choir books are rarer than are those of the Roman rite. It may be that their smaller format (a feature of the present book) is due to the fact that three monks sang from one book, instead of the entire choir as is the case with other orders.


Grotefend, H. Zeitrechnung des Deutschen Mittelalters und der Neuzeit, 2 vols., Hannover, 1892-98 (reprint 1984).

Online resources

Statutes of the Carthusian Order

The Carthusian Order