TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Gradual, Summer Part (Dominican Use)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment and additions on paper
The Netherlands, Utrecht?, c. 1450 with later additions dated 1702

TM 513

252 ff. (missing ff. 238-239), missing a few leaves (collation, i12, ii12, iii12, iv12, v12, vi12, vii12, viii12, ix12, x12, xi12, xii4 [inserted paper leaves], xiii12, xiv12, xv12 [quire complete but misbound], xvi12, xvii12+2 [with 2 ff. inserted paper leaves], xviii6+2 [with 2 ff. inserted leaves], xix11 [12-1, missing xi], xx10 [12-2, missing v and x], xxi10 [12-2, missing x-xi], xxii12 [14-2, missing iii and v]), on parchment but with a few later inserted leaves on paper (ff. 133-136 [dated 1702]; ff. 188-189; ff. 207-208), some contemporary quire signatures (letters) in red on the verso of the last leaf of each quire, written in a Gothic liturgical script in brown to darker ink, square musical notation throughout on 4-line red staves, contemporary foliation in red and Roman numerals placed in colored roundels in the outer margin of the recto of each leaf, rubrics in red, later 17th- or 18th- c. headings in red in the second portion of the codex, numerous calligraphic cadels, some grotesques, anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures (e.g. ff. 19v, 32v, 81, 81v, 84, 204 et passim), alternating red and blue larger painted initials (some up to 3-staves high, e.g. fol. 46v), nine later (17th- or even 18th- c.) large initials painted in a variety of colors introducing major liturgical sections (ff. 2, 26v, 32, 41, 97, 99v, 124v, 142, 188), one of these initials (f. 32) with letter formed by a winged dragon in green and orange, highlighted in white, another with a stylized bird (f. 97), three drawings added in the margin (f. 103v, instruments of the Passion; f. 218, Crucifixion and cross set in the painted initial; f. 254, Virgin and Child, colored in wash), parchment finding tabs. Bound in a contemporary half-binding of dark brown leather over thick wooden boards, back originally sewn on five raised thongs, brass clasps (catches wanting), traces of brass bosses on upper cover, three out of four bosses on lower cover, single metal cornerpiece on upper cover, later pastedowns (now largely detached) from a 17th or 18th c. imprint (theology or casuistics) (Binding in its unrestored condition, but nonetheless original; boards completely detached in need of restoration; some thumbing and a few waterstains affecting legibility in a few instances). Dimensions 290 x 195 mm.

This Gradual for Dominican Use is interesting for its near-contemporary condition, its contemporary foliation in Roman numerals placed in little colored roundels in the middle of the outer margin and three pen drawings added in the margin (Passion Instruments, Crucifixion, Virgin and Child). Preserved in its original binding, the manuscript contains proof of continued use over the centuries, with later additions on paper and painted introductory initials “modernized” in later centuries.


1. Copied in the Netherlands, likely the north based on paleographic and decorative elements. The manuscript for the general use of the Dominicans was rapidly annotated and adapted for local use, with a number of saints added in the margins suggesting the manuscript was destined for use in the region of Utrecht. Amongst these saints, one notes Saint Willibrod (f. 140v), Adalbert (f. 102), Bonifatius (f. 108), Odulphius (f. 108), Lambert (f. 128), Lebuin (f. 111 and 141), and Wenceslas (f. 128v).

The liturgy follows that of a Dominican Gradual and contains the chants for the office of Saint Dominic (f. 120, In festo beati dominici…), as well as the office for the translation of Saint Dominic (f. 107), and again antiphons for the Feast of Saint Dominic, In utroque festo beati dominici (f. 227). Added in the margin (f. 126v) are the antiphons and versicles for the office of Saint Louis, another important Dominican saint. Also worth pointing out are the chants for the Office Saint Peter Martyr (f. 102) and of Saint John the Baptist (ff. 108v-109v), both typically favored by Dominicans.

2. This Gradual contains a plethora of elements testifying to continued use throughout the centuries, well into the 18th century. The illuminated large initials introducing the major sections (i.e. ff. 2, 26v, 32, 41, 97, 99v, 124v, 142, 188) were clearly repainted or simply painted later in the 17th century (?) where space had been planned for decorated or illuminated initials. There are supplementary leaves on paper that have been inserted in the 18th century, some dated 1702 (f. 136), corrected or rather supplementing the earlier 15th century antiphonary.


ff. 1-1v, Antiphons sung before the aspersion with holy water;

ff. 2v-141v, Temporale and Sanctorale, intermixed, Temporale begins with Easter Sunday to Pentecost; first Introit for Mass on Easter Sunday, rubric, In die sancto pasche officium, introit, “Resurrexi et adhuc tecum…”; Introit for Mass on Pentecost, rubric, In die sancto pentecosten, introit, “Spiritus domini replevit orbem…”; Sanctorale contains a number of celebrations, including: In festo sancte trinitatis officium (f. 41); In festo corporis Christi officium (f. 42v); rubric, In die consecracionis et in anniversario dedicacionis ecclesie et per octavum officium (f. 96v), “Terribilis est locus…”; Tyburcii et Valeriani (f. 99v); Sancti Georii martyris (f. 100v); Sancti Vitali, martyris (f. 102); In festo beati petri martyris officium (f. 102); In invencione crucis (f. 103v); De corona domini (f. 105v); In translationem sancti dominici officium (f. 107); In vigilia sancti johannis baptiste (f. 108v); In festo visitacionis marie (f. 116); In festo beati dominici confesso[r] officium (f. 120); In vigilia sancti laurencii officium (f. 121); In vigilia assumpcionis beate marie (f. 124); In festo nativitatis beate marie (f. 127); rubric, In commemoracione omnium fide defunctorum; ff. 133-136, inserted later leaves (dated 1702), incipit, “Sequentia, Dies irae dies illa solvet…”; antiphons for the Sanctorale, rubric, Sanctorum martirum quattuor coronatorum officium

ff. 141v-187, Common of the Saints, beginning with rubric, In communi unius vel plurimorum apostolorum. Officium; incipit, “Michi autem nimis honorati…”; ending with rubric, In communi unius virginis officium (f. 177); rubric, De sancta cruce officium (f. 186v);

ff. 187v-194v, Settings for the Saturday Mass of the Virgin, added later heading, De B.V. Maria in Sabbatho; rubric, A festo pasche usque ad festum trinitatis in sabbatis de beata virgine. Officium; ff. 188-189v, inserted later leaves (Missa SS. Rosarii ex novo missali), Missa SS. Rosary, “Salve radix sancta…”;

ff. 194v-206v, Kyriale, settings for duplex and simple feasts, rubric, In festo toto duplici; heading, De simplici (f. 201), rubric, In dominicis diebus et festis (f. 201v); In missis matutinalibus et per octavas (f. 203v); In missis defunctorum (f. 206);

ff. 207-208, inserted later leaves (Gloria Paschale), incipit, “Gloria in excelsis deo…”;

ff. 209-254,  Sequences for the Temporale and Sanctorale, intermixed, for Easter, beginning “Victime paschali laudes…”; Pentecost (f. 212); Corpus Christi (f. 218), rubric, De corpore Christi [drawing in the margin]; Dedication of a Church (f. 220v), In dedicatione ecclesie; Annunciation (f. 222); Visitation (f. 225v); In utroque festo beati Dominici sequentia (fol. 227); Assumption (f. 229v); De sancto Augustino episcopo (f. 230v); Nativity of the Virgin Mary (f. 233v); All Saints (f. 235v); In commemoracione beate virginis tempore paschali (f. 237v); A festo sancte trinitatis usque ad adventum in sabbatis quando de beata virgine agitur sequencie (f. 238v).

This manuscript is the summer part of a two-volume Gradual, a liturgical book which contains all the chants for the Proper of the Mass (the texts that change daily or seasonally which are known as the Propers) and in many cases those of the Ordinary of the Mass (set of texts that are generally invariable, although the chants varied). One finds here some of the variable chants (Introit, Tract, Alleluia, Offertory and Communion) for parts of the Temporale and Sanctorale and for the Common of the Saints, with Temporal and Sanctoral here intermingled, as is quite common (the chants of the Proper of the Saints (Sanctorale) are intermingled with those of the movable feasts of the Proper of the Time (Temporale).

This Gradual contains the chants only for Sundays and Major Feasts from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, thus the summer part, the winter part from Advent to Easter probably bound separately. It contains some of the variable chants (Introit, Tract, Alleluia, Offertory and Communion) for the major Feasts and for the Saints. The terminology found in some of the rubrics designating the introit as an “officium”, (e.g., f. 1, in die sancto paschae officium), is worthy of note, but is not uncommon in late medieval Mass books.

The Dominican liturgy was relatively fixed and set from the fourteenth century onwards but needed to be adapted to specific local devotions. This Gradual is a fine example of the continued use of an ancient liturgy, still used and adapted well into the eighteenth century.


Bonniwell, William R. A History of the Dominican Liturgy, New York, J. F. Wagner, 1944.

Hesbert, R. J. Antiphonale Missarum Sextuplex, Brussels, 1935.

Hughes, A. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: a Guide to their Organization and Terminology, Toronto, 1982.

Huglo, M. Les livres de chant liturgique, Turnhout, Brepols, 1988.

Huglo, Michel. “Dominican and Franciscan Books: Similarities and Differences between their Notation”, in The Calligraphy of Medieval Music, ed. Johan Haines, Musicalia Medii Aevi 1, Tournhout, Brepols, 2011.

King, Archdale, Liturgies of the Religious Orders, Milwaukee, Bruce, 1955.

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”

Dominican Liturgy;
A Mirror for Dominican Material Published on the New Liturgical Movement

Hieronymus de Moravia. Tractatus de musica, ed. S. M. Cserba, Freiburger Studien zur Musikwissenschaft, vol. 2, Regensburg: Pustet, 1935, 3-179

Mandonnet, P, “Order of Preachers”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1911