TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Processional (Use of Rome; Cordeliers of St.-Marcel)

In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on parchment
France, Paris, dated 1534

TM 383

ff. iv (paper) + i (parchment) + 85 + iii (paper) folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil, top, outer corner recto, (collation, i2 ii-ix8 x8 [-5 before f. 71, excised with loss of text] xi4 xii8[-2, following f. 78, and -7 and 8, probably cancelled] xiii2+1 [f. 85, single]), no catchwords or signatures, ruled in pale red ink with full-length vertical bounding lines and the top and bottom horizontal rules full across (justification 113-110 x 75-72 mm.), written in a formal liturgical gothic script in eighteen long lines on text pages, or with six four-line red staves and six lines of text, majuscules in text highlighted in pale yellow, red rubrics, musical notation on red four-line staves, numerous one-line brushed gold initials on alternating rose and blue grounds, two-line brushed gold initials on diagonally parted rose and blue grounds with brushed gold highlights (f. 32v, larger initial of this type), polished gold initials, equivalent to one-line of text and music, heavily outlined in black, infilled and on grounds of dark pink and blue with silver and white highlights, full border, f. 2, of realistic violets, an urn, a tassel, and pink and green acanthus on a gold ground, scattered with tiny black ink circles, edged in black, ff. 71-76, symbols of death painted in the bottom margins, f. 1, coat-of-arms (burely of thirteen argent and sable), in a fine green laurel wreath; f. iv, coat-of-arms, per pale, the sinister per fess; argent three ducks sable; argent chevronny three pieces azure; and azure two mullets argent and one heart (?) or; in excellent condition, bottom margin f. 75, cut away. BOUND IN A VERY FINE SIXTEENTH-CENTURY GOLD-TOOLED FANFARE BINDING, in olive-brown morocco, probably faded from the original citron, over pasteboard, smooth spine, once with clasps, upper and lower boards (holes remain), gilt edges, both covers and the spine are intricately gold-tooled with graceful fillets, scrolls and leafy sprays, with stamps of the dove surrounded by rays (symbol of the Holy Spirit, used by l’Ordre du St. Esprit; see Hobson, 1970, p. 31, only used after the founding of the Order in 1578), cherub-heads, and two center medallions, on the front, the Crucifixion, and on the back, the Annunciation, lettered “Ave Gratia Plena”; these same medallions reproduced in Hobson, 1970, p. 32, fig. 39 and fig. 40, and are also found on his no. 153, printed in Paris in 1586 (see Hobson, p. 22, and p. 31, noting the Crucifixion stamp is found on bindings from 1577-1586), housed in a nineteenth-century black leather case lined with blue silk. The binding is in very fine condition, with slight damage to the outer corners and at the top and bottom of the spine. Dimensions 168 x 109 mm.

This is one of only four known Processionals, and the only one not in an institutional collection, from the convent of the Cordeliers of St.-Marcel in Paris. Although not as well-known as the Processionals from Poissy, these Processionals are textually and musically even more important, and notably include a polyphonic trope. (Polyphonic music is music written for more than one voice; a trope is an interpolation of new material into an existing chant.). Commissioned by the bishop, later Cardinal, Charles Hémart de Denonville, for his sister, Louise, this Processional is bound in a beautiful fanfare binding.


1. Written and decorated in Paris in 1534 for Charles Hémart de Denonville (1493-1540); a note added at the end of the text on f. 82, records the date of the manuscript. After studying civil and canon law, Charles Hémart had a distinguished ecclesiastical career; he was Bishop of Maçon (1531), served as an ambassador to the Holy See for King François I, and was made a Cardinal in 1536. Charles presented the manuscript to his sister, Louise (here spelled Loyse) de Hémart, who was a nun at convent of the Cordeliers of St.-Marcel in Paris, a house of Observant Franciscans in 1534 following the rule of Isabelle de France (see ff. 2, 82, 82v). The text indicates that it was written for nuns (the liturgical directions speak of the sisters, feminine forms are used in the prayers, and the contents are related to other surviving Processionals from St.-Marcel), and we can be sure that Charles had the manuscript made for his sister.

The Monastery of St.-Marcel was founded c. 1270-5 by Margaret, widow of St. Louis, king of France (see Moorman, 1983, pp. 641-642). This is one of four surviving Processionals from St.-Marcel (see Guilloux, 2012; Paris, Bibliothèque national de France, MS lat 10581, Claremont California, Claremont College, Honnold Library, Crispin MS 14, and Philadelpia, Free Library, MS E.180), and the only one not in an institutional collection.

2. In 1603 the book was owned by another noble member of this house, Judith de Forgues (see front flyleaf, f. iv). 

3. The manuscript was apparently in England by the late nineteenth century. It was described as being listed in the Tregaskis Catalogue, number 300, lot 166 by Hobson (see Binding discussion below); it was no.113 in another English Sale, clipping from the sales catalogue in English, pasted inside front cover; and it was sold at Sotheby’s Sale, 13 July 1921, no. 547, clipping pasted on front flyleaf, f. i.

4. The Schoenberg Database records two further sales, with some confusion; cf. Schoenberg Database, no. 16017, where it is listed as a Book of Hours, Pearson Sale, 1922, Cat. 162ex, no. 72; and Schoenberg Database no. 27327, Van Der Perre Sale, 22 November 1957, no 538 (see below; this last entry seems very unlikely).

5. Harry A. Walton of Covington, Virginia, who acquired the manuscript in 1945 from J. D. Hughes, Manchester, England; his manuscript A.1 (described in Faye and Bond, 1962, pp. 517-518, and in Huglo, 2004, vol. II, no. US-22, 482).


f. iv, incipit, “Ce processional est de present concede a lusage de soeur Judith de forgues, Religieuse en ce present monastere des Cordelieres Sainct Marcel les Paris et feit profession audi lieu le 13 Avril 1603 agee di dix huict a dix neuf ans. Dieu veuille quelle si puisse bien acquitter du devoir ou elle s’est obligee. Sevr Dv Tige De Foy”;

f. 2 [f. 1rv, blank], incipit, “Tres reuerend pere en dieu monseigneur Charles de Hemart Euesq[ue] de Mascon a concede et donne ce present liure a tres deuotte en Iesu Christ Loyse de hemart sa soeure Religieuse au monaster des Cordeliers de Sainct Marceau les Paris. Priant la bonte souuerain[n]e que du tresor celest il luy soit guerdo[n]ne en la vie prosperite et sancte. Et apres son trespas le repoz des bien eureulx”; [f. 2v, blank];

ff. 3-9v, Procession for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, In festo purificationis beate marie finita tercia sacerdos indutus sine casula … Deinde duas sorores eas accelas sororibus in suis locis manentibus distribuunt, et cum inceperunt distribuere cantat ant., incipit, “Lumen ad reuelationem genitum …”; f. 3v, Ant., incipit, “Exurge dominus …”; Ps. Incipit, “Deus auribus …”; f. 4, Fit processio et cantatur, Antiphona, incipit, “Aue gratia plena …”; f. 5, R [sic], incipit, “Adorna thalamum tuum …”; f. 6, A., incipit, “Responsum accepit symeon…”; f. 7, R., incipit, “Obtulerunt ..”; f. 7v, V., incipit, “Postquam impleti sunt …”; f. 9v, Prosa, incipit, “Iuiolata integra et casta es maria …”;

ff. 10v-25v, Procession for Palm Sunday, In die palmarum completa tercia et aspersione aque more solito sacerdos indutus procedit sine casula cum ministris indutis et ramis in medio ante altare, A choro cantatur antiphona, incipit, “Osanna filio dauid benedictus …”; f. 11, R., incipit, “Collegerunt pontifices …”; f. 12, V., incipit, “Unus autem ex ipsis cayphas …”; f. 14v, Postea due sorores ramos sororibus distribuunt in suis locis morantibus interim a choro cantatur An., incipit, “Pueri hebreorum portantes …”; f. 14v, Ant. incipit, “Pueri hebreorum vestimenta …”; f. 15, Postea fit processio et cantatur antiphone …, incipit, “Cum appropinquaret dominius hierosolimam …”; f. 17v, incipit, “Cum audisset populus …”; f. 19, Ant, incipit, “Ante sex dies …”; f. 20, Ant, incipit, “Occurunt turbe …”; f. 21v, incipit, “Gloria laus …”; f. 24v, R., incipit, “Ingrediente dominus …”; f. 25, V., incipit, “Cumque audisset ….”;

ff. 25v-39v, Maundy Thursday, Feria quinta in cena domini post refectionem hora competenti facto signo cum tabula conueniunt sorores ad faciendum mandatum …., Ant., incipit, “Mandatum nouum …”; f. 27, Ant, incipit, “Dominus iesus postquam cenauit …”; f. 27v, “In diebus illis mulier …”; f. 32v, “Domine tu michi lavas pedes …” f. 35, “Ubi caritas et amor deus est …”;

ff. 39v-66, Finita missa sacerdos sine casula cum ministris et subdiaconis cum cruce et omnes alii gradu suo veniant ordinate cum luminaribus … sequentem, incipit, “Non intres in iudicium cum ancilla tua domine …”; f. 40, Qua finite cantrix incipit Responsorium, incipit, “Subuenite sancti dei occurrite angeli ..”; f. 64, incipit, “Libera me domine de morte eterna in die illa tremenda …”;

Funeral and Burial Rites (Ordo commendationis anime), see Guilloux, p. 50, annexe 5.

ff. 66-70v,, incipit “Fregit victor virtualis/ hic franciscus triumphalis … Christum clauis conclauatum ca//”

Sequence in honor of St. Francis, ending imperfectly; Analecta hymnica medii aevi, volume 55, no. 133, pp. 155-156.

ff. 71-77, incipit “//celi thronis defunctum in dei lege ... Iohannes ardens lucerna patriarcheque faciundi/ Petre reserans superna paule doctor magne mundi/ …” [f. 77v, blank, with empty staves];

Polyphonic troped response for the dead, “Bone Jesu dulcis”, here beginning imperfectly, with two settings; among the saints mentioned are Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernardinus of Siena, Bonaventure, Claire, and Elizabeth of Hungary; see Guilloux, pp. 38-41.

f. 78, Prayer in French, incipit, “Louenge hon[n]eur de cueur deuocieux/ … Tout le moyen ou bon desir Je acquiers/” [see below, f. 82v];

f. 78v, incipit, “Arma regis glorie tii commendentur omnes terre populi laudent …, Cruci corone spi”//;

Office for the Crown of Thorns (De sancta corona); ending imperfectly at the beginning of the antiphon; see Guilloux, pp. 30-33.

ff. 79- 82, Litany (not noted), including Berard among the martyrs, and Francis, Anthony, Louis and Bonaventure among the Confessors. [Concluding with an inscription in another hand] incipit, “Lan mil v et trente quatre fut faict ce liure et donne a soeur Loyse de Hemart en intention quel prie dieu pour tous ces pare[n]s et amys. Requiesquant in pace, Amen”;

St. Berard was canonized in 1481, and St. Bonaventure in 1482.

f. 82v, Prayer in French, also found on f. 78 and copied in the same hand, incipit, “Louenge honeure de cueur deuotieux, … Tout le moyen ou bon desir Je acquiers. Loyse de Hemart”;

ff. 83-85, incipit, “Letare puerpera leto… Iesu lapsos respice pie matris precibus emendatos effice cunctis celi ciuibus. Amen” [Added in another hand] incipit, “Si de dieu queres Iouissance/ Souuereyne uous de uestre aliance”; [f. 85v, blank].

Noted Sequence for the feast of the Circumcision, 1 January; see Guilloux, pp. 36-37, and Analecta hymnica medii aevi, vol. 54, no. 102.

Processionals include the texts and chants necessary for liturgical processions.  They are among the most recent of types of liturgical books; although there are very early and rare examples from the tenth and eleventh centuries, and some examples from the twelfth century, most Processionals date from the thirteenth century and later. They were almost always copied in a small format, and were meant for the personal use of members of the choir. Processionals are of particular interest to musicologists, since they can contain text and chants not found in other liturgical manuscripts.

This is one of only four known Processionals from the convent of the Cordeliers of St.-Marcel in Paris, a house of reformed Franciscans following the rule of Isabelle of France. The Convent was founded c. 1270-5 by Margaret, the widow of King Louis IX of France. The sophisticated musical and liturgical life of this royal foundation has been the subject of a recent scholarly study (Guilloux, 2012). In addition to processions for the Purification and Palm Sunday, the Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony, the Mandatum (Huglo, 1999-2004, p. 38* and tableau viii, p. 54*), and the funeral and burial rites (all from the Franciscan liturgy), these Processionals include a very rare example of a polyphonic trope from the response for the Dead, “Bone Jesu dulcis.“ (Polyphonic music is music written for more than one voice; a trope is an interpolation of new material into an existing chant). This trope, a lengthy poem set for two voices, addresses Christ, the Virgin Mary, the angels, apostles, martyrs, and other saints. It is of particular interest as a rare example of polyphony in a manuscript from a female religious house, and it also shows the transmission of tropes after the Middle Ages.

As Guilloux, p. 42, has observed, the impressive variety of musical forms in this manuscript suggests the musical life at St.-Marcel was particularly sophisticated. In addition to traditional plain chant and the polyphonic trope, this Processional, and the other Processionals from St.-Marcel included an example of cantus fractus, a rhythmicized form of plainchant (“Letare puerpera leto“), and a Franciscan Sequence with dramatic content (“Fregit victor rex“). Guilloux concludes, “cette variété, alliée à une certaine virtuosité mélodique et à un raffinement liturgique confirme notre intuition première quant à la haute qualité des pratiques musicales et chorales à Saint-Marcel, qualité dont les processionnaux ne presentment sans doute qu’un pâle reflet“ – underlining the importance of these four surviving Processionals as evidence of the rich and sophisticated musical and liturgical life at St-Marcel.

We know this Processional was owned, or more properly, used by two well-born Franciscan nuns from St.-Marcel, Louise de Hémart and Judith de Forgues. Louise probably had the manuscript bound in its present ornate binding, and added prayers on ff. 78 and 82v. The Processionals used by the nuns at another royal abbey, the Dominican house of St.-Louis at Poissy, are well-known from the studies by Joan Naughton and others (about thirty-one are known to date), and are evidence that it was the fashion during the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance for nuns to have their own small-format Processionals. This manuscript proves that high-born Franciscan nuns at St.-Marcel also followed this tradition.


The manuscript is skillfully decorated in a restrained fashion, including a full scatter border on f. 2, with realistic violets, an urn, a tassel, and pink and green acanthus on a gold ground, scattered with tiny black ink circles, and symbols of death in the bottom margins of ff. 71-76, painted in somber grays and browns; through f. 74, each symbol is shown hanging from pink, green or blue ribbons, which also frame the symbol; subjects as follows: f. 71, crossed bones; f. 71v, sickle and a stake; f. 72, shovel and a sickle; ff. 72v-73, bones; f. 75, black shield scattered with silver motifs, with bones crossed behind; f. 74, skull; f. 75, bottom margin cut away; f. 76, shovel and sickle.


The manuscript is bound in a very beautiful sixteenth-century gold-tooled fanfare binding; listed in Hobson, 1970, p. 15, no. 41, as Tregaskis, Catalogue 300, no. 166; motifs on the binding suggest that it probably dates from the 1580s and therefore it was bound while it was owned by Loyse de Hémart.

Although earlier descriptions attributed this binding to Nicholas or Clovis Ève, prominent binders who worked for King Henry III of France (Nicholas was active ca. 1578, and Clovis, between ca.1596 until his death in 1634-5), there is no evidence to support this assertion. For examples of bindings attributed to the Ève binders, see the British Library, Online Database of Bookbindings (http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/bookbindings/Results.aspx): Davis 446, Ève bindery; c19a19, Nicholas Ève, c41c13, Clovis Ève, and c42c13, Clovis Ève.


Dreves, Guido and Clemens Blume. Analecta hymnica medii aevi, Leipzig, 1886-1922, reprint New York and London, 1961.

Faye, C. U. and W. H. Bond. Supplement to the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, New York, The Bibliographical Society of America, 1962.

Guilloux, Fabien. “Musique et liturgie aux cordelières de Saint-Marcel. À propos de quatre processionnaux manuscrits (15e-17e siècles)”, Archivum franciscanum historicum 105 (2012), pp. 9-50.

Gy, P. M. “Collectaire, rituel, processional”, Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 44, 1960, pp. 441-69.

Hobson, G. D. Les reliures à la fanfare …, deuxième édition augmentée ... par Anthony Hobson, Amsterdam, Gérard Th. Van Heusden, 1970.

Huglo, Michel. “Processional”, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, London, 2001, vol. 20, pp. 388-393.

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume I, Autriche à Espagne, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (1), Munich, 1999.

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume II, France à Afrique du Sud, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (2), Munich, 2004.

Moorman, John. Medieval Franciscan Houses, St. Bonaventure, New York, Franciscan Institute, 1983, pp. 641-642

Naughton, Joan. “Books for a Dominican Nuns’ Choir: Illustrated Liturgical Manuscripts at Saint-Louis de Poissy, c.1330-1350”, in The Art of the Book. Its Place in Medieval Worship, eds. Margaret Manion and Bernard Muir, Exeter, University of Exeter Press, 1998, pp. 67-109.

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.

Yardley, Anne Bagnall. “Clares in Procession: The Processional and Hours of the Franciscan Minoresses at Aldgate,“ Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 13 (2009), pp. 1-23.

Yardley, Anne Banall. “Full weel she soong the service dyvyne: The Cloistered”

“Musician in the Middle Ages”, in Women Making Music: The Western Art Tradition, 1150-1950, ed. J. Bowers and J. TicK, Urbana 1986, pp. 15-38.

Yardley, Anne Bagnall. Performing Piety: Musical Culture in Medieval English Nunneries, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Online resources

British Library, Database of Bookbindings

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

General introduction to liturgical processions
www.newadvent.org/cathen/12446b (New Catholic Encyclopedia, “Processions”)

Naughton, Joan. Manuscripts from the Dominican Monastery of Saint-Louis de Poissy, PhD Dissertation, University of Melbourne, Department of Fine Arts, 1995

Charles de Hémart de Denonville, “The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church; Biographical Dictionary, Pope Paul III (1534-1549), Consistory of December 22, 1536 (III)