TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Missal (use of Rome)

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment with musical notation
Northern Italy (for use in Gubbio), c. 1320-1350; [added miniature] Southern Germany (Bamberg or W├╝rzburg?), c. 1450-1500

TM 787

i (parchment) + 266 + i (f. 267, lifted pastedown) + ii (parchment) folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil bottom outer corner recto, complete (collation i6 ii-iii12 iv-vi10 vii12 viii-xii10 xiii4 [ff. 123-126] xiv10 xv12 xvi-xxvi10 xxvii8), horizontal catchwords, center lower margin, a few flourished and two with colored initials (quire 8, f. 82v, and quire 26, f. 258v), a few leaf and quire signatures in red (f. 223 “bv” in red, very bottom, outer corner recto, and ff. 259-262, ‘b’ accompanied by horizontal slashes indicating the folio), ruled very lightly (often indiscernibly) in ink, full-length vertical bounding lines, prickings top and bottom margins, copied in a formal rounded gothic script (littera bonnoniensis) in two columns of  27 lines possibly by one scribe, two-line red or blue initials with pen decoration in the opposite color (red initials with lilac pen decoration on ff. 8 and 17, and in quires 14, beginning on f. 127, and 22-25, beginning on f. 209), four- to five-line parted red and blue or blue and powdered-gold, initials, infilled with intricate pen work in red or red and blue, highlighted in powdered-gold, eight folios (plus three partial folios) with square musical notation on three-line red staves, FULL PAGE MINIATURE, f. 126v, of Crucifixion with Mary and John, miniature slightly rubbed, minor staining on ff. 148-150, text remains legible,  ff. 127-130 with early vellum repairs to lower margins, quires 5-12 badly cockled (ff. 41-112v), the final leaf (lifted pastedown) browned and with rust stains, which are also visible, inside back cover, and on the two back flyleaves, but overall in good condition.  Bound in Germany in a later fifteenth-century bright pink (possibly “kermes stained”) leather over wooden boards, beveled on the inside, stamped in blind front and back with five circular stamps (center stamp, upper board now missing), and four smaller circular stamps in the outer corners (mostly completely effaced, bottom inner corner, back board: divided into quadrants, with a “B” visible), sewn on four double thongs, red and green head and tail bands, fastens back to front with two brass catches and clasps (straps are modern), holes in the upper cover suggest that the straps were once fastened to pins, both covers worn exposing the wood in places, joints worn especially on the upper cover, spine worn along bands, with small crack, but stable and largely unrestored; housed in a fitted box that is labelled “Missale Romanum (Franciscan Use), Italy, Bologna, c. 1315-1325.”  Dimensions 230 x 160 mm.

Made in Italy, probably for use at the Franciscan Convent in Gubbio where Francis once met and tamed the wolf, this fourteenth-century Missal includes numerous additions and other signs of use.  It was evidently in Southern Germany by the later fifteenth century, where it was bound in its present very attractive bright pink leather binding, and decorated with a moving full-page Crucifixion miniature.  It is a multi-layered artifact, interesting for its history, and as a fine example of a Franciscan Missal.


1.Evidence of script, minor decoration, and the calendar provide evidence that was copied in Northern Italy, probably in Padua or Bologna, in the second quarter of the fourteenth century, for a Franciscan convent in the Marches or Umbria, very likely in Gubbio.  It is, however, not impossible that it was made in Gubbio, or in another town in North Central Italy.

There are numerous Franciscan saints in the calendar including Francis and his translation (October 4 and May 25) in red, Anthony of Padua (June 13), duplex, Elizabeth (November 19), and Clare (August 12).  The saints included in the calendar suggest a date after 1317 and before 1350 (perhaps before 1343):  Louis of Toulouse is included (19 August), celebrated from 1317.  His feast, and the feast of Martha were raised to semi-duplex in 1319, but they are both in black here, and the feast of St. Yves (27 October), celebrated from 1350 is lacking.  The translation of Anthony of Padua (15 February), also celebrated from 1350, was added, and is graded duplex.  Trinity Sunday, observed by the Franciscans from 1343, is also lacking.  Oddly, several feasts celebrated from 1263 were also omitted, including the Visitation and Anne (both added in a later hand), and the Conception of the Virgin (also added, in a different hand).

Saints in the calendar suggest this was made for the use of a convent in the Marches or nearby in Umbria, most likely in Gubbio.  Ubaldus, bishop of Gubbio, is included in red on May 16, and the feast of John the Baptist, the patron saint of Gubbio, begins with a prominent initial in the Sanctorale (f. 196v).  There was an early Franciscan presence in Gubbio (the town where St. Francis himself tamed the wolf), and the Convent of St. Francis was founded there in 1240 (Moorman, 1983, p. 212). 

There are a number of others saints in the calendar (either original or as early additions) from towns in this region fairly near Gubbio including:  Paternian, bishop of Fano (added in a near contemporary hand, July 10); Julianus (very early formal addition on June 22), Julianus of Istria? minor patron of Rimini); Terentius of Pesaro (probably original, but possibly a very early, formal addition, September 24);  and Gaudentius of Rimini (early, formal addition, October 14).

2. Contemporary and later corrections to the text point to the attentive use of this book by the friars (discussed in detail, below).

3. Fifteenth-century additions to the calendar suggest that this was later used in Northern Italy in the diocese of Trent; they are in a very quickly written cursive gothic script:  January 15, Romedius (Trent); May 20, Bernardinus of Siena; May 28, Sisinnius, Martyrius and Alexander (Trent); June 5, Boniface; June 26, Vigilius, bishop of Trent; July 9, translation of S. Nicholas (?); and July 26, Anne (additional entries on April 30 and August 25 are difficult to read, and have not been deciphered).

4. By the fifteenth century, c. 1450-1500, this must have made its way further north to Southern Germany where it was bound and the Crucifixion miniature was inserted, perhaps in Bamberg or Würzburg.  There were additional saints added to the calendar by another writer at this time, also in a cursive gothic script:  July 2, Visitation; July 4, Udalricus (or Ulric), bishop of Augsburg, and the translation of Augustine and translation of Martin; July 7, Willibald, bishop of Eichsätt, the apostle to Bavaria; July 8, Killian, bishop of Würzburg; July 12, Hermogenes and Fortunatus (venerated in Udine).  On October 16, Gallus (or Gall) (Switzerland) was added in a neat italic script, and on September 6, Magnus (possibly in another hand).

5. Belonged to Monsignor Domenico Gravina, with his eighteenth-century armorial bookplate engraved by Garofalo (small portion missing), inside front cover, perhaps a relative of the theologian Dominico Gravina, born in Sicily in c. 1573, and died in Rome in 1643.

6. London, Sam Fogg, Cat. no. 12, Medieval Manuscripts (1989), no. 17, and Cat. no. 15, Text Manuscripts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1992), no. 14.

7. Acquired by Joseph Pope (1921-2010), the Toronto investment banker and prominent collector of medieval manuscripts from Sam Fogg (Pope, 1999, MS 12, and Stoneman, 1997, p. 170); his sale, London, Sotheby’s, July 5, 2011, lot 71.

8. Numerous annotations from dealers and owners, including: inside front cover, “21” within a circle, in pencil; in another hand, “os” within a circle in pencil, with “4324” and “55/?48/8”;  third hand, within a circle, “21, safe.”


Inside front cover, [fifteenth-century addition in a quick cursive gothic script], Prayers for the Mass for the Virgin and All Saints within Paschaltide; front flyleaf, f. i [fourteenth or fifteenth-century gothic noting hand, probably from Italy],  Iste sunt xiii misse quesumus siquis deuote dixerit uel diceri fecierit [sic] sub scripto modo sunt dubio obtinebit a domino graciam dominus Innocencius papa fecit, incipit, “In prims quod qualibet missa dicitur cum litaniis et ad qualibet missam ardeant xii eadem benedicti …” [followed by a list of masses, First Sunday in Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and so forth], concluding with a prayer (incipit,” Domine ihesu christe Nazarene crucifixi respice tribulacionem …”); front flyleaf, f. i verso, [formal Italian gothic script and in cursive gothic scripts in two hands], added Mass prayers, collects, and a prayer to St. Helen.

ff. 1-6, calendar, with Franciscan saints including Francis and his translation (October 4 and  May 25) in red, Anthony of Padua (June 13), Elizabeth (November 19), and Clare (August 12); overall, very close to the early Franciscan calendar printed in Van Dijk, 1963 (also see Provenance, above).

ff. 7-116v, In christi nomine amen.  Incipit ordo missalis secundum consuetudinem romane curie, … ;

Temporale from the first Sunday in Advent through Holy Saturday.  The Passion readings include one-line alternately red or blue initials, with simple pen decorations, marking the different tones (C, S, and a cross):  ff. 82v-86, Passion reading, Palm Sunday; ff. 87v-90, Passion reading for feria iii after Palm Sunday, (Christ’s lament, “he loy he loy …,” with staves drawn for notation that was never added on f. 89v); ff. 92v-95v, Passion, feria iv; ff. 99-101v, Passion for Good Friday.

ff. 116rv, General Rubrics [Van Dijk, 1963, vol. 2, pp. 248-251].

ff. 116v-118v, Quando sacerdos parat se ad missam celebrandam secundum consuetudinem romane ecclesie dicat hos psalmos, scilicet “Quam dilecta tab.” …”

ff. 118v-125,  Noted Prefaces;

ff. 125rv, Infraction prayers for Christmas (incipit, “Communicantes et noctem …”), Epiphany, Ascension, Pentecost, and other occasions; [ending f. 125v, top column b; remainder blank];

f. 126 [Added in a formal hand], Gloria in excelsis; Credo in unum deum;

f. 126v, Crucifixion miniature added in the fifteenth century on an originally blank verso;

ff. 127-131v, Canon of the Mass;

ff. 131v-177, Temporale from Easter until  the 24th Sunday after Pentecost [lacks Trinity Sunday];

f. 177, [Added prayers], incipit, [D]eus qui iustificas impium et non uis mortem peccatorum …”; incipit, “[H]uius quesumus domine uirtutem misterii …”; incipit, “[P]viricent nos quesumus domine sacramenta …”;

ff. 177v-222v, Sanctorale from the Vigil of Andrew (29 November) to Catherine (25 November);  three-line parted initials at f. 196v, nativity of John the Baptist, f. 206v, Lawrence, and f. 208, Assumption.

ff. 223-264v, Common of saints followed by votive Masses;

ff. 265-266v, Blessings of salt and water; followed by additional Mass prayers, added in a contemporary, formal hand (for the dead; and pro helimonias facientibus);

f. 266v-267, [f. 267 is a singleton once used as a pastedown before re-binding in the fifteenth century], incipit, “Vidi aquam egredientes de templo …”;

Antiphon begins on f. 266v, and then concludes on the following leaf in another hand.

f. 267v [Added in three hands], Prayers for mother and father, and for water [the third is largely illegible].

This manuscript is a Missal – the liturgical book for the celebrant that includes all the texts necessary to celebrate the Mass.  From the thirteenth century on Missals were the predominant book used by the celebrant during the Mass, and include the prayers for the celebrant, as well as the biblical readings, read or chanted by the sub-deacon or deacon, and the texts sung by the choir (in this case mostly without musical annotation apart from the Prefaces and parts of the Canon).  As is stated in the opening rubric, this is a Missal following the Use of the Roman Court (secundum consuetudine romane curie), the use followed by the Franciscan order since the thirteenth century. 

The origins of the Franciscan Order can be traced back to its charismatic founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who presented himself and his small group of followers to Pope Innocent III in 1210, and were granted permission to live Francis’s radical vision of a life of complete apostolic poverty. From these humble beginnings, the Franciscan Order grew rapidly, attracting members across Europe.  Since they were an international order, the need for a uniform liturgy was felt from an early point in their history, and the Rule of 1223 specified that the Friars were to follow the Office “according to the order of the Roman Church.”  This “order of the Roman Church” –actually the liturgy used at the Papal Court – became the basis for the Franciscan liturgy.  The Franciscan Use, or Use of Rome, was destined to have a great influence on the subsequent history of the Roman liturgy, since it was the basis for the liturgy mandated by the Council of Trent to be used throughout the Roman Catholic Church.

This Missal is of particular interest because of the many and varied signs of use it now includes.  The calendar, as discussed above (Provenance), was continually updated.  The text also includes a number of corrections showing how attentively this Missal was used by the friars.  For example, on f. 167, in the reading from Ephesians 4, the end of verse 2 was omitted and then supplied in a contemporary or slightly later hand; the scriptural reading from Micah 7:14 was also corrected, probably by a contemporary, who added text skipped by the scribe, who had copied “hereditas” in verse 14, and then continued with the text following “hereditas” in verse 18.  See also f. 37v, lower margin, correction copied in a formal script, with a red initial; and ff. 174, and 214, examples of early corrections in two different hands.  On f. 169v, a rather scrawling cursive hand supplied the end of the prayer.  Other users added texts; for example, on f. 61, prayers and secret added in lower margin (see also f. 58v).  On f. 290 there is a note directing the user to another folio.

This is a book that was clearly used for many years; nonetheless, it survives in very good condition for such a volume.  Many of its folios, in fact, show very little sign of use.  The pages of the Canon in contrast, ff. 127-131v, are darkened, some have been repaired in the lower margin, and there is noticeable dirt left behind for all the priests who handled this book (the pages are dirtiest in the outer margins about two inches above the bottom corners, showing us how this book must have been held).  The Canon consists of the texts said by the celebrant at every Mass, regardless of the time of year or the feast being celebrated.  Signs of use on these pages are thus not unexpected.  The comparative freshness of the pages in most of the rest of the volume is harder to explain.


Full-page Crucifixion miniature, f. 126v, added in the fifteenth century on an originally blank verso, with Mary in a blue dress with a white mantle lined in red, and John, in green, with a red mantle; set in a landscape with hills in the background, the sun and the moon above; Christ is depicted visibly bleeding from his wounds on his hands, feet and chest.

The style of the Crucifixion miniature suggests it was painted in the later fifteenth century in Southern Germany, possibly Bamberg or Würzburg.  It can be compared with works attributed to the Master L.Cz, probably Lorenz Katzheimer, a Bamberg print maker and artist, active c. 1480-1505 (see Stange, vol. ix, fig. 223, Tormenting of Christ, now in Nuremburg, and fig. 224, Crucifixion, private collection,  p. 107; more remotely, cf. vol. 10, fig. 163, p. 104, Agony in the Garden, now in the Passau Museum, by Rueland Frueauf, workshop or follower, Regensburg, c. 1470, and p. 107, fig. 170, Crucifixion, now in Vienna, from Passau).


There is little doubt that this Missal was rebound in the fifteenth century in Germany in its present pinkish-red leather blind-stamped binding.  The stamps are unfortunately worn and not readable, and they have not been identified.  As was the custom in Germany, the book fastens from back to front.  It is possible that this binding re-uses the boards from its earlier Italian binding (note the holes for pins on the upper board, and the bevel on the inside edges and spine).


Hughes, Andrews. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office, Toronto, 1982.

Jungmann, Joseph. The Mass of the Roman Rite: Origins and Development, tr. F.A. Brunner, New York, 1950.

Moorman, John. A History of the Franciscan Order from its Origin to the Year 1517, Oxford, 1968.

Moorman, John.  Medieval Franciscan Houses, 1983.

Palazzo, Eric.  A History of Liturgical Books from the Beginning to the Thirteenth Century, translated by Madeline Beaumont, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1998.

Pope, Joseph. “The Library That Father Boyle Built,” in A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in Honor of Leonard E. Boyle, O.P., ed. Jacqueline Brown and William P. Stoneman, Notre Dame, 1997, pp. 157-162.

Pope, Joseph. One Hundred and Twenty-Five Manuscripts.  Bergendal Collection Catalogue, Toronto, 1999.

Stange, Alfred.  Deutsche Malerei der Gotik. Berlin, 1934-1961.

Stoneman.  William P.  “A Summary Guide to the Medieval and Later Manuscripts in the Bergendal Collection, Toronto” in A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in Honor of Leonard Boyle, O.P., edited by Jacqueline Brown and William P. Stoneman, Notre Dame, 1997, pp. 163-206.

Van Dijk, S. J. P. and J. Hazelden Walker.  The Origins of the Roman Liturgy. The Liturgy of the Papal Court and the Franciscan Order in the Thirteenth Century, Westminster, Maryland, 1960.

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

Online Resources

Thurston, Herbert. “Missal,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 10, New York, 1911.

Jean-Baptiste Lebigue. “Les livres de la messe. Le missel,” in Initiation aux manuscrits liturgiques, Ædilis, Publications pédagogiques, 6, Paris-Orléans, IRHT, 2007 

Introduction to liturgical manuscripts:
“Celebrating the Liturgy’s Books”:

TM 787