TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Evangeliary, with musical masses for Christmas, Epiphany, and Easter

In Latin, manuscript on parchment and paper
[northern France, Beauvais ? Reims ?, c. 1280-1300; with later additions, Italy or perhaps Spain ? 1593 and early 17th century]

TM 50

214 folios, collation (i-xiv12, xv12-1, xvi12, xvii4, xviii8-1, xixx4, xxi2, xxii4, lacking ff. 1, 14, and xxviii [text apparently complete]), f. 191 ff. added at various dates, f. 197 ff. on paper, medieval portion written on 19 lines in two columns, ruled in brownish-black ink (justification c. 220 x 142 mm.), music on 9 lines with 4-line red staves with square notation, in a formal Gothic liturgical bookhand, in black ink, rubrics in red, interlinear musical notations (neumes) in red for the text and black for the rubrics, contemporary foliation (begins incompletely with 2, skips 14) of two types, the Temporal in Arabic in the upper right corners in red, the Sanctoral in Roman, in the outer left margins in red (missing f. xxviii of the Sanctoral), large blue and red alternating initials with alternating penwork and blue and red geometric ascenders, with SIX VERY LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS, in blue, orange, pink, and burnished gold leaf, containing dragons, beasts, and birds, with illuminated ascenders and descenders (approximately 160-221 mm. in length), the first one (f. 1) rubbed and damaged, numerous repairs, overall rubbed, dirty, much used over at least four centuries, perhaps in several different locations, but almost wholly intact. Bound in dark brown leather at the beginning of the seventeenth century, trimmed at the upper margin, blind-ruled and blind-stamped fleuron in the center of the upper cover, over thick wood boards, edges squared, sewn on five thongs, on spine "Evangelia," with two cloth book markers still in place, binding lacking bosses and clasps, worn but sound, in a modern (nineteenth-century) red velvet box. Dimensions 280 x 195 mm.

Unrecorded late thirteenth-century Evangeliary that includes musical masses with plainsong notation as well as interlinear neumes throughout the entire text. Rich though rubbed illumination in colored pigments and burnished gold leaf testifies to a once-deluxe manuscript that bears a remarkable similarity to the Beauvais Missal executed in 1285 in northern France. Signs of wear are consistent with its continuing use over four centuries.


1. Although it has not been possible to determine the liturgical use of this Evangeliary, textual and stylistic indications point to its execution for a foundation in Northern France, perhaps in Paris, but more likely to its North. Its style finds its origins in the Parisian workshops from mid-century (compare the much finer Evangeliaries of the Ste. Chapelle, BnF, MS lat. 8892 [the First Evangeliary], MS lat. 17326 [the Third Evangeliary]; and London, British Library, MS Add. 17341 [the Fourth Evangeliary] (see Trésor de la Sainte Chapelle, nos.35-37, 42). Our Evangeliary does include the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross particular to the Ste. Chapelle, but it does not include the other special feasts of the royal foundation, such as the Crown of Thorns, the Relics or the Consecration of the Church. An emphasis on St. Dominic in the liturgy suggests a foundation with Dominican interests (and would explain the transportation of the book outside France to another Dominican center in the sixteenth century). Stylistic comparisons–the thickness of the decoration, the modeling of the animals, the formation of the decorative motifs–suggest northern France, and comparisons are especially intriguing with the Beauvais Missal (now dismantled, its leaves in many major museums), a gift to a church in the city of Beauvais, written for Robert de Hangest, a canon, about 1285. This date seems right for the present manuscript as well.

2. Dated 1593 on f. 193v, and perhaps in Spain by the sixteenth century, where the "Index Evangeliorum de Sanctis" beginning on. f. 197 was added with some marginal additions: Ignatius of Loyola (d. 1556), Catherine de Ricci of Florence, Dominican (1521-1590), Translation of Dominic, Camillus Lellis, Spanish Capucine (d. 1585), Charles Borromeo of Milan (d. 1584), Louis Bertrand, Dominican (d. 1581), etc.

3. Vitalis de Granzial, his exlibris on the front pastedown.


Liturgical book containing those portions of the Gospels which are read during Mass or in the public offices of the Church, with square musical notation on four-line staves and interlinear neumes throughout the text.

ff. 1-3, Rubric, Modus legendi evangelium in his que infra ponuntur et in similibus principia, incipit, "Dominus vobiscum ..." (Rubrics follow for media vox, inferior vox, inferiori voce, de superiori voce, etc.);

ff. 4-61v, Beginning of the Temporal with Advent, Rubric,Dominica prima in adventu domini. Sequencia sancti evangelii secundum matheum; incipit, In illo tempore...";

ff. 61v-112v, Easter season readings, Rubric, Dominica in ramis palmrum distributis ramis diaconus benedictione ...; incipit, In illo tempore Dixit ihus discipulis suis ...";

ff. 112v-123, Easter, Rubric, In die sancto paschie secundum marcum; incipit, In illo tempore Marie magdalene et maria iacobi ...";

ff. 123-124v, Ascension, Rubric, In die ascensionis secundum marcum; incipit, In illo tempore Recumbentibus undecim discipulum apparuit ...";

ff. 124v-150v, Pentecost, Rubric, In die pentecostes secundum iohannem; incipit, "In illo tempore Dixit ihus discipulis suis. Siguis ..."; (followed by the Feast of the Trinity, crossed out, ff. 128v-130v);

ff. 150-51v, Dedication of the Church, Rubric, In die consecrationis ecclesie et in anniversario eiusdem. Secundum lucam; incipit, In illo tempore Ingressus ihu perambulabat ...";

ff. 151-152, Beginning of the Sanctoral with the Vigil of St. Andrew, Rubric, In vigilia sancti andree apostoli secundum iohannem; incipit, "In illo tempore. Stabat iohannes ...";

ff. 152-192v, Rubric, In die secundum Mattheum; incipit, "In illo tempore. Ambulans ihus ..."; (ff. 163, Translation of St. Dominic, and Dominic again on f. 170; f. 173v, Exaltation of the Holy Cross; ff. 176, Remigius, Archbishop of Reims; Franciscus [d. 1226], and Dyonisius);

ff. 193-193v, Rubric, Evangelium de Rosario, Secundum Lucam (text dated 1593);

ff. 194-196, List of saints, alternating in red and black;

ff. 197-202, Index Evangeliorum de Sanctis;

ff. 203-209v, Added readings for feasts;

ff. 210-211v, Index evangeliorum de tempore

ff. 212-214, blank.

The Evangeliary developed from the early Christian practice of making notes in the margins of biblical manuscripts to indicate the Sunday or the festival on which that particular passage would be read. A list of such passages and their corresponding dates, known as the Capitulare lectionum, was then added at the end of the manuscript. Soon the Capitulare developed into the Evangeliary, a special book containing only particular passages from the Gospels, arranged in the order of the liturgical year. These Gospel passages were sung or intoned by the bishop at the Eucharist throughout the church calendar.

What is interesting about the present manuscript, and evidently unusual, is the inclusion of neumes for the entire text (none of the Ste. Chapelle Evangeliaries preserve this feature). The neume was a symbol that specified pitch and manner of performance and that dates from the ninth century. There is an introduction to the musical usage of the manuscript (ff. 1-3). By the twelfth century notation in neumes was mostly replaced by plainsong notation and the modern musical stave, as also occurs in the present manuscript for the major feasts.


Six large illuminated initials introduce the major sections of the manuscript as follow:

f. 1, initial D (ominus) (rubbed and partially cut away in rebinding);

f. 4, initial I (n illo), the length of the page, a bird-like motif embedded in the decoration, the descender extending into the lower margin;

f. 61v, initial I (n illo), terminating in a bird with a dragon's body, whose open beak extends into the center margin, a descender extending below the text;

f. 112v, initial I (n illo), terminating with a beast (weasel?) swallowing a gold ball, the descender extending below the text;

f. 151, initial I (n illo), with a cat (?) and dog's (head) embedded in the decoration, their bodies composed of wings, a descender along the entire margin, with burnished gold leaf;

f. 152, initial I (n illo), of the same type as f. 151, burnished gold leaf;

Compare the decoration, the use of red and green, the interlocking swirling forms, the descenders terminating with ivy leaves to that in the Beauvais Missal, a special gift to a church in the city of Beauvais written for Robert de Hangest, a canon, about 1285. Script, the layout, the number of lines per page, and the size of the books are so close that it is tempting to consider them companion volumes.


Fliegel, Stephen. The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection of Manuscript Illuminations, Cleveland, Museum of Art, 1999 (entry on the Beauvais Missal).

Paris, Museé du Louvre, Le trésor de la Sainte-Chapelle, Exh. Cat., Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001;

Online resources

illustration of the Beauvais Missal