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les Enluminures

Noted Processional (Franciscan Use; Use of Rome)

In Latin and Spanish, decorated manuscript on parchment
Spain, Seville, dated 1620

TM 821

i (parchment) + 36 + i (parchment) folios on parchment, modern pagination in pencil, top outer corner, 1-72, complete (collation i-iii12), very faint ruling occasionally visible in crayon (justification 105-107 x 57-58 mm.), written in brown ink in an upright script imitating Roman type in fifteen long lines, or in five lines of text alternating with five five-line red staves with square musical notation in sepia ink, red rubrics, three-line plain red initials, two three-line sepia initials within square ornamental frames drawn in red and decorated in sepia (pp. 2, 26), text surrounded on each page with rectangular ornamental frames drawn in red and decorated in sepia, small drawing of a coat of arms in red and sepia on p. 1, some slight fading and rubbing on some pages without any loss of legibility, in fine condition overall.  ORIGINAL BINDING of dark brown calf, gilt-tooled with two concentric rectangular double-fillet and gilt stamped with rosettes and other floral and foliate designs, over pasteboard, gilt-stamped spine with three raised bands, parchment gilt along the edges, traces along fore-edge of upper and lower boards of two fore-edge ties anchored on the insides of the boards with pasted parchment patches but now lacking, some rubbing and loss of leather on the upper and lower boards and along their edges with more significant losses along the spine. Dimensions 142 x 97 mm.

This elegant, carefully decorated Processional was produced for the personal use of a Franciscan nun, Petronila Montalbo, at the behest of a Carmelite friar, Bartolomé de la Cueva, in seventeenth-century Seville.  Manuscripts copied so long after the advent of print are of special interest to historians of the book, and this manuscript presents many notable features, including its signs of ownership, border decoration, somewhat artificial script (perhaps modelled on typeface), and handsome original gilt binding.


1. Produced in Spain, probably Seville, in 1620, for (and possibly by?) one Fray Bartolomé de la Cueva, a Carmelite friar, for the use of a Franciscan nun.  An inscription on the book’s opening folio (p. 1) records these details and identifies the manuscript’s intended recipient as Petronila Montalbo, a nun at the Convent of Santa Clara in Seville.  This house of Poor Clares was founded in 1289 by Ferdinand III of Castile, an avid patron of the mendicant orders.  The relationship between a Carmelite Friar and a Franciscan Nun demonstrated by this inscription is interesting, and certainly warrants further inquiry.  He may have been a relative who presented the Processional to mark Petronila’s entry into her Convent, or her solemn profession.

Beyond this opening inscription, no features within the manuscript point specifically to a female user; there are several references to brothers – “fratres” (pp. 10, 63) and “fratribus” (p. 37) – in the rubrics, but none to sisters.  The manuscript is, however, clearly Franciscan, as indicated by its liturgical contents (see Huglo, 1999, p. 54*, tableau viii).  Furthermore, the coat of arms drawn beneath this inscription, containing five bleeding wounds drawn in red on a white ground, corroborates this book’s Franciscan character.  By the sixteenth century, blazons of this sort, representing the stigmata of St. Francis, were a common insignia of the Franciscan Order and could be found in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spanish monasteries (Domínguez Torres, pp. 79, 105 n. 45).  Although in some cases the text of manuscripts made for nuns was altered to reflect feminine use, this is not a unique case of a book for a nun that includes only masculine forms.


p. 1, incipit, “MANVAL DE las dos Processiones, de la Purificacion de nuestra Señora, y de el Domingo de Ramos.  A dona Petronila Montalbo Religiosa professa del Insigne Conuento de Sancta Clara de Seuilla Por fray Bartholome de la Cueua de la Orden de nuestra Señora del Carmen. 1620”;

pp. 2-25, [Procession for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (all texts noted)] incipit, “LVmen ad reuelationem gentium et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel ...”; p. 5, His expletis cantatur antiphona, incipit, “EXurge Domine adiuua nos et libera nos ...”; p. 9, Deinde fit Processio ...; p. 10, Præcedit thuriferarius cum thuribulo fumigante ...; p. 11, Antiphona, incipit, “ADorna thalamum tuum Sion ...”; p. 15, Antiphona, incipit, “REsponsum accepit Simeon ...”; p. 20, Ingrediendo ecclesiam Responsum, incipit, “OBtulerunt pro eo Domino ... V. Sicut scriptum. Finita Processione, Celebrans et ministri depositis violaceis, accipiunt paramenta alba pro missa de Beata Maria”;

pp. 25-71, [Procession for Palm Sunday (all texts noted)] DOMINICA in Ramis Palmarum, ad Processionem Officium. Antiphona, incipit, “OSanna Filio Dauid: benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini ...”; p. 27, Deinde Sacerdos stans in cornu Epistolæ non vertens se ad populum ...; p. 29, [Responsum] incipit, “IN monte Oliueti orauit ad Patrem ...”; p. 32, Interim dum cantatur Responsum Diachonus ponit librum Euangeliorum super altare ...; p. 35, incipit, “SAnctus, Sanctus , Sanctus ...”; p. 37, Completa benedictionem dignior et fratribus accedit ad altare ...; p. 38, [Antiphona] incipit, “PVeri Hebreorum portantes ramos oliuarum obuiauerunt Domino ...”; p. 39, Antiphona, incipit, “Pueri Hebreorum vestimenta prosternebant in via ...”; p. 41, Postea fit processio et primo celebrans ...; p. 42, Ad Processionem antiphona, incipit, “CVm appropinquaret Dominus Ierosolymam ...”; p. 50, Antiphona, incipit, “Cum audisset populus quia Iesus venit Ierosolymam ...”; p. 55, Antiphona, incipit, “Ante sex dies solemnis Paschæ ...”; p. 58, Antiphona, incipit, “Occurrunt turbȩ cum floribus et palmis ...”; p. 60, Antiphona, incipit, “Cum Angelis et pueris fidelis inueni ...”; p. 61, Antiphona, incipit, “Turba multa quȩ conuenerat ad diem festum clamabat Domino ...”; p. 63, In reuersione Processionis, ad Ecclesiam ...; p. 64, [Versiculus] incipit, “GLoria, laus et honor, tibi ...”; p. 67, Postea Subdiaconus hastili Crucis percutit portam ...; p. 68, [Responsum] incipit, “INgrediente Domino in sanctam ciuitatem ... V. Cum ramis. finis”; [p. 72, blank].

This is a noted Processional, a liturgical book containing the chants, rubrics, and texts necessary for liturgical processions.  The text in this compact volume follows Franciscan Use (that is, Use of Rome), and as such it contains chants and texts for only two Processions, for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (Candlemas, on 2 February) and Palm Sunday.  Franciscan Processionals include fewer processions than manuscripts copied for other religious orders (Huglo, 1999, p. 38* and tableau viii, p. 54*).

Made for the use of a Franciscan nun, Petronila Montalbo, at the Convent of Santa Clara in Seville, this book continues a tradition attested in the later Middle Ages and early Renaissance.  The Processionals used by the nuns at 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 this period for nuns to have their own small-format Processionals. This manuscript suggests that Franciscan nuns at Santa Clara might have followed this tradition nearly a century later.

Processionals are among the most recent of types of liturgical books. A very few examples are known from as early as the tenth or eleventh century (see Huglo, 2001, p. 388), but the vast majority date from the thirteenth century and later.  Unlike the Gradual or the Antiphonal, a Processional is not an “official” service book, but rather a book for the personal use of singers.  The processional antiphons found in the Gradual were transferred to a smaller book that could be carried during procession, the liber processionarius or processionale.  Processionals are of particular interest to musicologists, since they can contain text and chants not found in other liturgical manuscripts.

Although the modern liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church preserves only a few processions, processions were an important part of the liturgy during the Middle Ages and into the early modern era in both secular churches and within religious orders. Processions, for example, were preceded the celebration of the Mass on each Sunday, were an important part of the liturgical observances on saints’ days and on other important liturgical occasions, and were assembled in times of need, to ask for rain, avert famine, or in the face of other catastrophic events. Rites of death and burial were also accompanied by processions.  The Palm Sunday procession reenacting Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, one of the two processions included in the present manuscript, is a notable example that is still celebrated, albeit usually in abbreviated fashion, in churches today.

Music manuscripts continued to be copied long after the advent of printing, and care was clearly lavished on the production of this diminutive and personal book. Handsome red and sepia borders adorn each page with one of several patterns, always matched by the border on the facing page, and similar designs frame the opening initials of the two Processions contained within the volume.

This manuscript is particularly remarkable for the pains taken over its handsome script that seems to imitate typeface.  Traces of horizontal ruling marking both the upper and lower bounds of each line of text might account for the striking evenness of this lettering, but its regularity and the small breaks in many of its letterforms are evocative of stenciling, a practice that flourished in the production of liturgical manuscripts in France and Germany from the mid-seventeenth into the nineteenth century. A close examination of this book’s lettering tends to argue against its production by stenciling, particularly on account of the presence of closed letterforms that do not appear to have been touched up; stencil-templates must avoid contiguous shapes that would cause them to fall apart.  Still, it warrants closer examination as a potentially early instance of stenciling or, more probably, an aesthetic fore-runner of this fascinating practice.


Domínguez Torres, Mónica.  Military Ethos and Visual Culture in Post-Conquest Mexico, Farnham, Surrey, Ashgate, 2013.

Gy, Pierre-Marie. “Collectaire, rituel, processional,” Revue des sciences philosophiques et theologiques 44 (1960), pp. 441-69.

Huglo, Michel. “Dominican and Franciscan Books:  Similarities and Differences between their Notations,” trans. Barbara Haggh, The Calligraphy of Medieval Music, ed. John Haines, Brepols, 2011, pp. 195-202.

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

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

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

Kindel, Eric. “Recollecting Stencil Letters,” Typography Papers 5 (2003), pp. 65-101.

Kindel, Eric, ed. “The Description of Stencilling by Gilles Filleau des Billettes: Transcription and Translation,” Typography Papers 9 (December, 2013).

Moorman, John. A History of the Franciscan Order from Its Origins to the Year 1517, Chicago, 1988.

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

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

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.

Online Resources

Thurston, Herbert. “Processions,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 12, New York, 1911

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

TM 821