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les Enluminures

Noted Antiphonal for the Day Offices (Augustinian Use)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment, with added illuminated initials
Southern Netherlands or Germany, c. 1530-50 (before 1579)

TM 717

ii (parchment, palimpsest) + i + 84 + ii (parchment, palimpsest) on parchment (some folios, possibly all, are palimpsests with traces of ruling and text visible, e.g. ff. 23v, 26rv, 28rv, 31rv), modern foliation in pencil, top outer corner recto, (collation, i8 ii12 [- 11, one leaf after f. 18, which lacks a catch word, but with no obvious loss of text] iii4 iv10 v6 vi12 [-2, one leaf following f. 40, and -11 and 12, two leaves after f. 48, with no apparent loss of text] vii12 [-2, one leaf after f. 49, and -11 and 12 after f. 57, all apparently cancelled, although there is no catchword copied on f. 57] viii8 [-8, one leaf following f. 64, cancelled with no loss of text] ix6 x6 [-6, cancelled with no loss of text], xi8+1), catchwords on almost every folio in the  bottom inside margin on the verso, no other leaf or quire signatures, ruled in lead with full-length single vertical bounding lines, traces of ruling in ink also visible on some folios (e.g., ff. 12v, 14, 24, etc.) (justification 134-130 x 93-90 mm.), written in a bold late gothic bookhand, square musical notation on red four-line staves with five lines of text and five staves on each page (musical notation throughout, except ff. 76-84), red rubrics, majuscules highlighted in red, one-line alternately red and blue initials, larger initials, equivalent to one-line of text and music, alternately red and blue (some with decorative infill in the body of the initial), red, blue, or parted red and blue initials with pen decoration in contrasting colors, those on ff. 10 and 41 with gold highlights, seventeen initials cut from other manuscripts and glued in (described in detail below), including FOURTEEN ILLUMINATED INITIALS, TWO HISTORIATED INITIALS, ff. 13 (Ciborium) and 53 (Virgin and Child), and ONE ILLUMINATED INITIAL on f. 1 extending into a bar border in the inner margin, with an ILLUMINATED ACANTHUS BORDER in the three outer margins, minor inkburn on f. 1 (loss of two letters), contemporary correction on a small square of parchment glued over the original text and notation (now partially lifted) on f. 40. Bound in seventeenth-century (?) dark-brown leather over wooden boards, gold tooled with an outer border of a simple single fillet, with gold fleuron stamps in each corner, spine with three raised bands, once with two clasps (impressions only remain on the upper and lower boards), pastedowns of marbled paper, covering what appears to be a fifteenth-century manuscript leaf or scrap in a gothic cursive script probably in French (only a few letters visible, and it is impossible to judge if this is just a strip, or a larger fragment), overall in good condition, although the spine and both covers are somewhat worn and slightly warped. Dimensions 180 x 127 mm.

This small-format Antiphonal (or more properly, Diurnal), is a palimpsest copied on parchment leaves from earlier manuscripts that were erased for re-use, and it is decorated with seventeen illuminations meticulously cut out of earlier manuscripts of different origins and pasted in, including one very beautiful image of St. Anne and the Virgin and Child in camaïeu d’or. Although historians have explored manuscripts (and printed books) decorated with printed materials, manuscripts decorated with cuttings from earlier manuscripts are much rarer (and deserve careful study).


1. The evidence of the script and the pen decoration suggests this was copied in the Southern Netherlands, or possibly in Germany, in the sixteenth century, certainly before 1579 when the note was added on f. 1 (discussed below). Textual evidence tells us that it must date after 1457, since it includes the Transfiguration (6 August), and the inclusion of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus on f. 50 (observed by the Augustinians on 14 January), suggests a later date, possibly after 1530. The feast originated near end of fifteenth century, when it was observed in some dioceses in Germany and Belgium, among other places; it was granted to the Franciscans in 1530, and was not adopted officially until 1721 throughout the Church.

The use of catchwords on every page of this manuscript is also a sign of a later date, probably in the sixteenth century. Medieval scribes used catchwords (that is the first words of the following page copied at the end of a quire, usually in the lower margin) at the end of quires in Western manuscripts as early as c. 1000, and they were in wide-spread use by the twelfth century. The practice of copying the first words of the next page at the bottom of each page, however, and not simply at the end of a quire, is not particularly common in manuscripts, and as far as this writer is aware, has not been studied in the scholarly literature. One suspects that this is a practice found first in printed books that was adopted by occasional scribes. It is common in printed books in Italy by the mid-sixteenth century, although found occasionally earlier, and one sees it in printed books throughout Europe in the seventeenth century. The presence of this practice in this manuscript, therefore, seems to support a date in the sixteenth century. 

Another notable feature of this manuscript is the fact that all the painted decoration (the initials throughout the volume, as well as the border on f. 1), were meticulously cut out of earlier manuscripts and glued into this book (discussed in detail below). The evidence suggests that this was done while the book was being made and was part of the original plan for the manuscript. The initials were cut from manuscripts of different origins (German, Netherlandish and French), ranging in date from the middle of the fifteenth century, with the latest dating c. 1510.

This volume was clearly copied for Augustinian Use; note the Office for “our holy father St. Augustine”, on f. 45 and St. Monica, Augustine’s mother, on f. 33; the Office of the Dead is Use of Rome, which was common to the Franciscans and Augustinian Hermits, as well as to a number of dioceses in Italy (and elsewhere; see Ottosen, 1993, pp. 134-140, and 269-275). 

There is nothing within the text to indicate whether this was copied for a house of women or men, although it is true that we know of many examples of nuns producing hybrid books, using cuttings from printed books and manuscripts to decorate their books.

In addition to the use of decoration cut from earlier manuscripts, it is notable that manuscript is a palimpsest, that is it is copied on leaves from an earlier manuscript (or manuscripts), that were thoroughly erased or washed, and re-used. The text visible on the back flyleaves appears to be the Office of the Dead, the text beginning with Job 10:5-6; square musical notation is visible as the under-text on f. 75, and it seems likely that f. 75 and the two back flyleaves were both taken from the same manuscript, most likely a fifteenth-century Psalter or Breviary; further research could verify whether all the leaves are palimpsest, and whether the palimpsest leaves were taken from the same source, or originated from several manuscripts.

2. f. 1, written in a tiny script on the first two staff lines: “Bene qui le fait/ Bene [dixit?] 1579.”

3. Signature in ink, l’Abbé Lefèvre, Brussels 1842, front flyleaf, f. iii; he also signed his name below the first line of text on f. 1.

4. The abbé Jules Bonhomme, curé de Saint-Jean Baptiste de Grenelles, Paris, and chaplain to the Fort de l’Est, Paris, musicologist and author of numerous liturgical studies including Principes d’une véritable restauration du chant Grégorien (Paris, 1857) and the introduction to Les principaux chants liturgiques conformes au chant publié par Pierre Valfray en 1669 traduits en notation musicale (Paris, 1875). His signature (?), front flyleaf, f. i, in ink, dated 1876; and his pencil note, again dated 1876, front flyleaf, f. iii.


ff. 1-4, incipit, “Christe fili dei viui miserere nobis alleluia alleluia. Qui surrexisti a mortuis. …”;

The little responsory for Prime during Paschal time, Ascension, Pentecost, De beate marie virginis, Trinity Sunday, Assumption, Epiphany, Sundays, Transfiguration, and Advent.

ff. 4-14, Settings for the “Benedicamus”, said at the conclusion of hours of the Office, for ferial days until sabbato in albis (the Saturday following Easter), for solemnities, for Marian feasts, for double feasts, for semi-duplex and simple feasts, and for ferial days; f. 5v, “Alleluia Euouae …”,

for Paschal time at Compline, for Sundays at Vespers, and in Paschal time (feria ii-vi, and sabbato), ff. 6v-7v, incipit, “In manus tuas domine commendo spiritum meum …”, for Compline in Paschal time, and per annum; f. 7v, incipit, “Alleluia euouae. Surrexit dominus de sepulchro …”, for Eastertide and Sundays from Dominicis in albis until the Ascension …; f. 9, Responsorium brevis for Terce, Sext and None; f. 10, In festo penecostes ad primam, antiphona, incipit, “Cum cumplerentur euouae …; f. 11v, In festo sancte trinitatis ad primam antiphona, …; f. 13, In festo corporis Christi ad primam antiphona, incipit, “Sapientia …;

ff. 14-30v, Temporale for Prime, Terce, Sext and None from the first Sunday in Advent to Palm Sunday, including f. 19, Christmas, f. 21v, Circumcision, and f. 22, Epiphany;

ff. 31-53v, Sanctorale from Philip and James (1 May) to the Annunciation (25 March), including the Exaltation of the Cross (3 May), Monica (4 May), Apparition of Michael (May 8), Dedication of Michael, John the Baptist (24 June), John and Paul (26 June), “Passione Petri Pauli” (29 June), Commemoration of Paul (30 June), Visitation (2 July), Peter in chains, Invention of Stephen (3 August), Transfiguration (6 August), Lawrence, Assumption (15 August), Decollation of John (29 August), Nativity of Mary (8 September), “In festo pater noster Augustine” [sic] (f. 45, usually 28 August), Exaltation of the Cross (14 September), All Saints (1 November), Martin (11 November), Cecelia, Clement, Andrew (30 November), Conception of the Virgin, Lucy (13 December), Holy Name of Jesus (14 January), Agnes, Purification (2 February), and Agatha (5 February).

The dates included here are the dates on which these feasts were commonly observed; there are of course no dates within the Sanctorale of the manuscript. We may note, however, that the placement of two feasts is difficult to explain; perhaps they are due to scribal error, but possibly they are intentional and thus significant liturgically (and proper to this house or diocese?). The Dedication of the basilica of St. Michael was commonly celebrated on 10 October (and TM 380, an Augustinian Breviary on this site includes the feast on that date in red in the calendar). Here the feast is seemingly in May or June (there was a feast for St Michael on 9 June in Constantinople, so perhaps it was celebrated in June in other locations).

Also puzzling is the placement of the feast for St. Augustine following the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on 8 September and before the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September). The usual feasts of St. Augustine in Augustinian sources include his translation on 28 February, his conversion on 5 May, his birth on 28 August, and his second translation on 11 October. 

ff. 53v-68, Common of Saints, concluding with the Dedication of a Church and Guardian Angel (Angeli coustodis);

ff. 68-70v, Processional hymns for Easter with musical notation, incipit, “Salue festa dies toto venerabilis ... ad celos ampla trophea refers. Salue”; Versus pro introductione olei, incipit, “Ostende nobis domine miersicordia tuam alleluia”;

The famous Easter processional hymn, based on the poem by Venatius Fortunatus, used widely in the later Middle Ages; here with adaptations for the Ascension, and Pentecost; the final stanza here (incipit, “Eripis in numerum populum de carcere mortis … “) is marked “vacat” in the hand that added the following text for St. Joseph.

ff. 71-73v, In festo sancti joeph ad primum, incipit, “Jbant Evovae …”; ff. 74-75v, blank staves;

Noted texts for the Prime, Terce, Sext and None for St. Joseph added by a later hand on folios left blank, but ruled and with red four-line staves, at the end of the volume.

ff. 76-84, The nine lessons from the Office of the Dead, use of Rome; not noted; the scribe did not finish copying the text, which now ends imperfectly in the versicle following the final lesson, although the following verso is blank, incipit, “Parce mihi domini … V. Dies illa, dies ire calamiatis et miserie, dies magna et amara ualde dum//” [f. 84v, blank].


All painted initials and the borders on f. 1 are executed on separate sheets of parchment and glued in; it is clear that several different manuscripts of different origins (German, Netherlandish, and French), dating from the mid-fifteenth century to c. 1510, were the source for these initials:

f. 1 (“Christe fili dei”), begins with a large pink initial, equivalent to two-lines of text and music,  decorated with white highlights including curling three-dimensional leaves and outlines, infilled with maroon decorated with gold scrolls, on a polished gold ground, edged in green and surrounded by fine pen scrolls, extending into a narrow blue and polished gold bar border in the inner margin, and a wider scatter border in the three outer margins of blue and gold acanthus, green leaves, and small gold balls with black ink tendrils and stems, with a stag in the lower margin, a hybrid man (a monk?) above a leaf in the outer margin, and a bird in the upper margin [slightly trimmed]; the initial could be German in origin; the border from a French manuscript from the 1470s.

Sixteen smaller initials, equivalent to one-line of text and music, all glued down, and then decorated with red pen work:

f. 2 (text for Trinity Sunday), small gold initial, infilled and on a blue ground with white highlights;

f. 8v (for the Ascension), gold initial, filled with blue and maroon on ground that follows the shape of the initial;

f. 11v (Trinity Sunday), gold square with a red initial painted on it, edged in blue;

f. 13 (Corpus Christi), blue initial, infilled with a gold monstrance displaying the host on dark red, on a gold ground; possibly from a German or Dutch manuscript, c. 1450-1500;

f. 15 (Temporale, first Sunday in Advent), larger gold initial on dark red ground with gold scroll work, edged in blue; possibly from a French manuscript (Paris?), c. 1500;

f. 21v (Temporale, Circumcision), gold initial, filled with half blue, half maroon with white tracery, on a divided ground of the same colors;

f. 31, (Philip and James), larger white-highlighted pink initial infilled with a vine scroll with pink, orange and blue trilobe flowers on a polished gold ground following the shape of initial, edged in black; probably from a French or Southern Netherlandish manuscript, c. 1460-70s;

f. 31v, (Exaltation of the Cross), white-highlighted blue initial infilled with green and pink leaves on a square gold ground, edged in red (similar in style to the initial, f. 31);

f. 40, (Visitation), gold initial infilled and on a ground of red with white tracery, edged in blue;

f. 49, (Conception of Mary), Gold initial, infilled with blue on a red ground, outlined in red;

f. 49v, (Lucy), Gold initial, infilled with half blue, half maroon, on similar ground;

f. 53 (Annunication), carefully modeled light blue initial, infilled with an image of the Anna Seldbritt (St. Anne holding the Virgin and the Child) in camaïeu d’or (dark gold with highlights of a brighter gold) on bright orange, on a deep blue square ground, edged in gold; although similar in style to initials in manuscripts painted by Jean Bourdichon (c. 1459-1521) in Tours, Nicholas Herman suggests that this is more likely Flemish in origin, c. 1510 (we thank him for his assistance);

f. 53v, (Common of Saints), gold initial infilled with blue with white scrolls on mauve ground;

f. 62, (One confessor and pontiff), gold initial, infilled in red on a blue ground (pasted over part of the rubric);

f. 64, (One virgin and martyr), gold initial infilled in blue on mauve ground;

f. 66, (Dedication of a church), gold initial infilled with half blue and half maroon on similar ground.

It seems impossible to be absolutely sure when these initials were added to the manuscript, but overall, the evidence suggest that this manuscript was intended from the outset to include these added initials, and they were therefore glued in when the manuscript was being made. We can observe that they have pen-work borders very similar to the initials on f. 4v, for example, which are clearly original. The fact that many of the leaves used here are clearly palimpsests (that is leaves from earlier manuscripts with the texts erased and re-used for a new purpose) is another interesting aspect to the circumstances of this manuscript’s production.

Moreover, there are other cases of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts that include initials from earlier manuscripts glued in quite early in their history. Manuscripts with initials pasted in from other manuscripts include: London, Victoria and Albert, Reid MS 51, a German Collectar, and a Commentary on the Mass in German c. 1596, sold at Sotheby’s, 29 November 1990, lot 126, with earlier cut-out initials. Books from Syon Abbey also show that the practice was common there. British Library, Add. MS 5208, and Royal MS 2 A.XIV, and Oxford Bodl., MS Rawl. C. 781, have missing initials that may have been cut by the nuns for re-use; London, St. Paul’s Cathedral MS 5, Oxford, St. John’s College, MS 167, and Oxford Bodl. MS Rawl D. 403 have inserted initials (See Alexander, 1992, p. 49; De Hamel, 1991; McKitterick, 2003).              

The practice of pasting printed woodcuts and engravings into manuscripts has received much more attention in the scholarly literature. It was also known from the mid-fifteenth century, and was particularly common in religious houses. Recent excellent studies on the practice of inserting prints in manuscripts include Areford, 2002; Erler, 1992, Hindman, 2009; Parshall and Schoch, 2005; and Weekes, 2004; see also Hindman and Farquhar, 1977).  Manuscripts decorated with cuttings from manuscripts rather than printed books or engravings seem to be less common, and have not yet been the subject of a systematic study.

The daily prayer of the Church or the Divine Office was celebrated by members of the secular clergy and religious orders throughout the day and night at the offices of Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline.  The Antiphonal is the book that included all the musical propers, that is the text and music that were unique to a particular feast or liturgical occasion, for the day and night offices, including antiphons, responsories, and invitatories. (The Ordinary for the Office, texts said without variation each week, was included in Psalters and as a part of Breviaries). This book includes the musical texts for the day offices only and therefore can be called a Diurnal – or perhaps more properly, an Antiphonal for the day Offices (to avoid confusion with a Breviary including only the day Offices). This division of the Office texts between day and night services was a practical choice, since the text and music for the night Offices was much more extensive. The overall organization of this manuscript, however, is unusual and certainly difficult to explain, since it includes feasts for the Temporale (or Proper of Time, that is Sundays and festivals commemorating the life of Christ) for the first half of the liturgical year from Advent in November until Palm Sunday, just before Easter, and the Sanctorale (or Proper of the Saints, including feasts celebrating the Virgin Mary) for most of the year, beginning with Philip and James (1 May), and concluding with Agatha (5 February).

The roots of the Hermits of St. Augustine (now known as the Augustinian Friars) go back to a number 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. There were Convents of Nuns associated with the Order, with varying degrees of formality, from the thirteenth century. Some foundations simply adopted the Rule of St. Augustine, but other houses, like the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Siena, were more closely aligned with the Hermits of St. Augustine, and followed the Rules and Constitutions of the Order, and often depended upon the Friars for direction and supervision. 


Alexander, J. J. G. Medieval Illuminators and Their Methods of Work, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1992.

Areford, David. The Viewer and the Printed Image in Late Medieval Europe, Visual Culture in Early Modernity, Ashgate, 2010.

De Hamel, Christopher. Syon Abbey: the library of the Bridgettine Nuns and Their Peregrinations after the Reformation: An essay, Otley [England], printed for The Roxburghe Club, 1991.

Erler, Mary. “Pasted-in Embellishments in English Manuscripts and Printed Books, c. 1480-1553”, The Library, sixth series 14 (September 1992), pp. 185-206.

Gutiérrez, David. The Augustinians in the Middle Ages, 1256-1356, translated from the Spanish by Arthur J. Ennis, Villanova, Pennsylvania, Augustinian Historical Institute, Villanova University, 1984.

Hamburger, Jeffrey, Robert Suckale, et al. Krone und Schleier. Kunst aus Mittelalterlichen Frauenklöstern, Essen/ Bonn, 2005.

Hamburger, Jeffrey. Nuns as Artists. The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent, California Studies in the History of Art 37, Berkeley/ Los Angeles/ London, 1997.

Harper, John. The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century, Oxford, 1991 (repr. 2001).

Hindman, Sandra, and James Douglas Farquhar.  Pen to Press: Illustrated Manuscripts and Printed Books in the First Century of Printing, College Park, University of Maryland, 1977.

Hindman, Sandra. Pen to Press. Paint to Print. Manuscript Illumination and Early Prints in the Age of Gutenberg, Les Enluminures, 2009.

Hughes, Andrew. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office. A Guide to their Organization and Terminology, Toronto, 1982 (repr. 1986, 1995).

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

Landau, David and Peter Parshall. The Renaissance Print 1470-1550, London and New Haven, 1994.

Lepape, Séverine and Kathryn Rudy. Les origins de l’estampe dans l’Europe du Nord c. 1400-1470 (exh. cat.), Paris, Musée du Louvre, 2013.

McKitterick, David. Print, Manuscript, and the Search for Order, 1450-1830, Cambridge, and New York, Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Ottosen, Knud. The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead, Aarhus, 1993.

Parshall, Peter and Rainer Schoch et al. Origins of European Printmaking: Fifteenth-Century Woodcuts and their Public, Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art in association with Yale University Press, New Haven, 2005 (catalogue of an exhibition).

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.

Weekes, Ursula. Early Engravers and their Public: the Master of the Berlin Passion and Manuscripts from Convents in the Rhine-Maas Region, ca. 1450-1500, Turnhout, Harvey Miller, 2004.

Online resources

Heimbucher, M. “Hermits of St. Augustine”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07281a.htm

The Augustinian Hermits:
www.augnet.org (Order of St. Augustine, with extensive history);

Associazione Storico-culturale S. Agostino:

Manuscripts sold 25 June 2012, many from the collection of the abbé Jules Bonhomme, see

Jean-Baptiste Lebigue, “Livres de l’office Les propres de l’office”, in Initiation aux manuscrits liturgiques, Ædilis, Publications pédagogiques, 6, Paris-Orléans, IRHT, 2007

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