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les Enluminures

Augustinian Missal (use of Rome)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment with musical notation
Northern Italy (Lombardy?), c. 1450-1470

TM 1101
  • 21 200 €
  • £19,200
  • $25,000

iii (modern paper) + 271 + iii (modern paper) folios on parchment, modern foliation in red ink, (the first 6 pages not foliated), 1-130 132-266, lacking f. 131 with the Crucifixion miniature, otherwise complete (collation i6 ii-xiv10 xv10 [-1, lacking one leaf after f. 130, with loss of text] xvi-xxvii10 xxviii6), horizontal catchwords, ruled in gray ink (justification 104 x 70 mm.), written in gray ink in gothic bookhand (Italian textualis) in single column on 32 lines, music in square notation on four-line red staves, 10 staves per page, rastrum 7 mm., rubrics in red, 1- to 3-line initials alternating in red or blue throughout, water damage in the margins and parts of text on ff. 1-63, the lower margins of ff. 7-10, 114-115 cut off, a small triangle cut off in the lower margins of ff. 130-134 (indicating the beginning of the Canon of the Mass), stains and signs of wear, but in overall good condition. Modern quarter binding in tan-colored calf with marbled-paper sides, title in gilt on the spine “MISSALE. / MANOSCRITTO / SEC. XIV,” corners rubbed and worn, the hinge of the front board broken, the paper covering the binding slightly tacky, but in overall good condition. Dimensions 158 x 115 mm.

Missals are relatively rare survivals, since they were often used until they fell apart. This is an excellent example of an important sub-genre, the portable mendicant Missal.  Made for the use of an Augustinian friar or nun, the manuscript was used by Franciscan nuns near Milan by the end of the fifteenth century, demonstrating how easily an Augustinian liturgical book lent itself for a new life within the Franciscan order.  Carefully copied, this small but substantial volume includes twenty pages with musical notation, a noteworthy feature.


1.  The manuscript was made for an Augustinian friar or nun in northern Italy, perhaps in Milan or nearby, c. 1450-1470, as suggested by a careful analysis of the liturgical evidence of its contents and supported by the evidence of its script. The inclusion in the calendar of the feast of St. Bernardino of Siena, canonized in 1450, allows a dating of the manuscript after 1450. The omission in the calendar of the feasts of St. Vincent Ferrer (29 June) and St. Catherine of Siena (29 April), included in the Roman calendar after their canonizations in 1455 and 1461, respectively, may indicate that the manuscript was written soon after 1450.

The text follows the use of the Roman curia. The litanies are very short but include all the major saints of the preaching and eremitical orders. The calendar is based on the Roman calendar but was clearly made for an Augustinian friar or nun, as is evident by these feasts: the feast of the Translation of the relics of St. Augustine, “patris nostri,” to Sardinia, in red and inscribed duplex (reflecting the fact that these feasts had their antiphons doubled; 28 February); St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, in red (4 May); the Conversion of St. Augustine, in red (5 May); St. Augustine, in red and inscribed duplex (28 August); and the Translation of St. Augustine from Sardinia to Pavia, “Translatio secunda beati patris augustini de sardinia papiam (sic, = paviam),” in red and inscribed duplex (11 Oct). The calendar also includes Franciscan feasts, but none are graded. 

During the fourteenth and fifteenth century there existed two feasts of the translation of the relics of St. Augustine. The Roman Church retained only the commemoration of the translation to Pavia, while in the Augustinian Order, both feasts of the translation were celebrated. At the General Chapter of 1343, the Augustinian Order fixed the second translation on October 11 (as found in our manuscript), although some Augustinian houses in Tuscany and Lombardy continued to observe February 28 as the translation feast to Pavia (Schrama, 2010). 

The gray ink and the rounded textualis script indicate Italian origin, while the superscript “i” in the abbreviation for “qui,” rather than a “q” with a line through the tail, suggests northern Italy. Nothing in the original text provides evidence for a more precise geographic location for the manuscript’s place of production. It might have been made in Milan or nearby, where it was found not long after it was made (see below). The feast of the patron saints of Milan, St. Gervasius and St. Protasius, are included in the calendar (19 June; not graded).

2.  At the end of the fifteenth century the manuscript belonged to a Franciscan nun of the Order of Saint Clare at the Monastero di Santa Chiara in Abbiategrasso, in the outskirts of Milan. The calendar includes the consecration feast of this convent’s church on 12 October: “Consecratio ecclesie sancte Clare monasterii abiatensis duplex maius,” added by a hand that is nearly contemporary with the original scribe. The convent of Santa Chiara (St. Clare) in Abbiategrasso was founded in 1476 by Bona of Savoy, Duchess of Milan, who obtained from Pope Sixtus IV the authorization to introduce thirty-four Clarissan nuns from a convent in Crema (near Milan) to the old Cistercian convent dedicated to St. Martin in Abbiategrasso. The nuns who were already at this convent adopted the rule of St. Clare (Puccinelli, Online Resources). The convent was suppressed in 1782.

The same person, who added the feast of this convent in the calendar, also added the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin (21 November).  This feast was introduced into the Roman Missal in 1472. (We may note that this addition is thus additional evidence suggesting the likelihood that our manuscript was copied before 1472).

3.  Ink stamp on f. 1, illegible.

4. The manuscript was part of the famous collection amassed by Baron Horace de Landau (1824-1903): his engraved bookplate with the monogram of his initials is found on the front pastedown, with the number “77” assigned to this book. Horace de Landau, a Hungarian citizen, was named the Rothschild bank’s representative in Turin in 1862. When he retired in 1872, he decided to devote himself to collecting manuscripts, books, and art and built a library with more than 60,000 volumes, considered one of the most beautiful in Europe (see “Villa Landau-Finaly” in Online resources). The collection included important illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, bibles and liturgical books, first and rare editions, poetry collections, medical, surgical and mathematical treatises, miniatures, and engravings; a catalogue was published in 1885-1890. After Baron Landau’s death the collection was inherited by his niece, Florence Finaly (1877-1938), who continued to augment it. She was married to Henri de Cossette, Vicomte de Cossette, whose armorial bookplate is pasted on the recto of the first flyleaf. Selections of the Landau-Finaly library was sold at Sotheby’s in 1948-1949.


ff. I-VIv (six unnumbered leaves), Calendar (saints included are discussed in Provenance, above);

ff. 1-130v, [Temporale from the first Sunday in Advent until Holy Saturday, use of Rome], Incipit ordo missalis secundum consuetudinem Romane curie. dominica prima de adventu. Statio ad sanctam mariam maiorem. Introitus, incipit, “Ad te levavi animam meam, Deus meus in te confide ...”; including on ff. 120v-121 the litanies of Holy Saturday; ending imperfectly in the Sanctus hymn on f. 130, “...depraecamur supplice confessione dicentes, Sanctus [sanctus sanctus...]//”;

Lacking f. 131 containing, on the recto, the end of the Sanctus, and on the verso, the opening of the Canon of the Mass with the miniature of the Crucifixion.

ff. 132-135v, Canon of the Mass, incipit, “Te igitur...”;

ff. 135v-182, Temporale continues from Easter Sunday until the twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost; [f. 182v, blank];

ff. 183-233v, [Sanctorale from St. Andrew (30 November) to St. Katherine (25 November), use of Rome], Incipit proprium sanctorum de missali secundum curiam Romanam per totius anni circulum ...;

ff. 233v-257, [Common of Saints], Incipit commune sanctorum de missali ...”;

ff. 257-258, Dedication of a church and dedication of an altar;

ff. 258-266v, Votive Masses, ending on f. 266v with a Mass for a friend, Missa pro amico.

The roots of the Hermits of St. Augustine (now known as the Augustinian Friars) go back to a number of eremitical groups in Italy in the twelfth century, but the Order adopted a mendicant lifestyle in the thirteenth century.  After the approval of their constitutions by Pope Alexander IV in 1256, the Order grew quickly and founded many houses throughout Europe.  Throughout the later Middle Ages, they were known for their learning. The Augustinians followed the liturgy of the Papal court, first used and popularized by the Franciscans, and the “cross-veneration” of saints between the mendicant orders was quite frequent in the fifteenth century (cf. Calendoscope, Online Resources).  As this Augustinian Missal included the important Franciscan offices, it was easily adopted for new use by the Clarissan nun who acquired it at the end of the fifteenth century. Thus, in addition to supporting the study of these two preaching orders, the manuscript is of interest for examining the relationship between the Augustinian and Franciscan liturgies in the later Middle Ages (historians exploring this topic have included Welch, 2016, and van Dijk, 1963, who drew on both Franciscan and Augustinian sources in his seminal study of the Roman liturgy).

Missals provide the text and instructions for celebrating the Mass, and our manuscript also includes over twenty pages of noted music for chanting the sung parts: ff. 74, 81v, 86v, 191, 98, 100, 104-108, 122-131, 134. The music is written in square notation on four-line red staves.

The nuns of the Order of St. Clare (known as Poor Clares) followed the religious ideals of charity and poverty established by Clare of Assisi, who founded the Order in 1212. Female religious houses were an important sociocultural aspect in medieval and early modern Italy. The diocese of Milan supported a thriving monastic life for women: by 1564 “there were some forty-five convents in the city [Milan] and another forty-five outside the city walls.” (Macy, 2011, p. 349). Our manuscript would enliven studies on manuscript culture, on celebrating the Mass in the Middle Ages, on medieval liturgy and music, and more specifically on Augustinian and Clarissan nuns and convents in Italy.


Andrews, F. The Other Friars: The Carmelite, Augustinian, Sack and Pied Friars in The Middle Ages, Woodbridge, and Rochester, 2006.

De Landau, H. Catalogue des livres, manuscrits & imprimés composant la bibliothèque de M. Horace de Landau, 2 vols, Florence, 1885-1890.

van Dijk, S. J. P., ed. Sources of the Modern Roman Liturgy: The Ordinals of Haymo of Faversham and Related Documents, 1243-1307, 2 vols. Leiden, 1963.

Harper, J. The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century: A Historical Introduction and Guide for Students and Musicians, Oxford, 1991.

Klapisch-Zuper, C. Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy, tr. L. Cochrane, Chicago, 1985.

Knox, L. Creating Clare of Assisi: Female Franciscan Identities in Late Medieval Italy, Leiden, 2008.

Leroquais, V. Les sacramentaires et les missels manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France, 3 vols, Paris, 1924.

Macy, L. “Geronimo Cavaglieri, the Song of Songs and female spirituality in Federigo Borromeo’s Milan,” Early Music 39:3 (2011), pp. 349-357.

Mangione, T. “Le Clarisse e la Signora: politica e devozione di Bona di Savoia,” Rinascimento ritrovato: La chiesa e il convento di S Maria di Abbiategrasso, Milan, 2007, pp. 263-279.

Prosdocimi, L. Il diritto ecclesiastico dello Stato di Milano dall’inizio della signoria viscontea al periodo tridentino (sec. XIII-XVI), Milan, 1941.

Saak, E. “The Creation of Augustinian Identity in the Later Middle Ages,” Augustiniana 49:1/2 (1999), pp. 109-164.

Schrama, M. “The Commemoration of the Translation of the Relics of Saint Augustine,” Between Lay Piety and Academic Theology: Studies Presented to Christoph Burger on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, ed. by U. Hascher-Burger, A. den Hollander and W. Janse, Leiden, 2010, pp. 55-77.

Sebastiani L. “Monasteri femminili milanesi tra Medioevo ed età moderna,” Florence and Milan: Comparisons and relations, ed. by S. Bertelli, N. Rubinstein and C. Smith, Florence, 1989, pp. 3-15.

Sevesi, P. Le Clarisse in Milano e il Monastero di S. Chiara, Milan, 1930.

Sevesi, P. “Rievocazione dei monasteri delle Clarisse nell’Archidiocesi di Milano,” Memorie storiche della diocesi di Milano IV (1957), pp. 213-226.

Welch, Anna. Liturgy, Books and Franciscan Identity In Medieval Umbria, Medieval Franciscans 12, Leiden and Boston, 2016.

Zarri, G. “Monasteri femminili et città (secoli XV-XVIII),” La chiesa e il potere politico dal Medioevo all’età contemporanea, eds. G. Chittolini and G. Miccoli, Storia d’Italia, Annali 9, Turin, 1986, pp. 359-429.

Online Resources

Calendoscope database by Denis Muzerelle, IRHT-CNRS, Paris

The Augustinian Hermits

www.newadvent.org/cathen/07281a.htm (Catholic Encyclopedia, “Hermits of St. Augustine)

Order of St. Augustine, with extensive history


Puccinelli, E. “Monastero di Santa Chiara”

“Villa Landau-Finaly”

TM 1101