Fragments from a gradual
Burgundy, France, ca. 1475

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink and paint

Notation: Square

This book is a compilation of eighteen leaves taken from the same medieval gradual. It has been suggested that the pages are from the same Carthusian house in Dijon as the Morgan Library’s M. 115: the calligraphic decoration is quite possibly by the same hand.
The opening shown here is to a page of music with a facing page of a liturgical calendar. The music is from Psalm 78: “Attendite popule meus legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei…” (Hear my law, O my people: incline your ears unto the words of my mouth). This text is used for the Masses for the Nineteenth through the Twenty-first Sundays after Pentecost. Two inhabited initials adorn the page: one is a caricature of a bishop wearing tinted glasses.

The facing page is an excellent example of a medieval liturgical calendar. It is graded: more important days or feast days are written in red ink; the rest are written in black. The red days are so-called “red-letter days,” and the term survives to our modern day. The KL at the upper left-hand side of the page is for the kalends of the month. Kalends was the term used by the ancient Romans for the beginning of the month, and the word calendar is derived from it. The columns on the left-hand side of the page contain the Golden Numbers, the Dominical Letters, and a countdown to the next month. Golden Numbers and Dominical Letters enable the medieval calendar user to calculate the date of Easter each year.

There is an added bonus in the post in that images have been added of the penwork on a page prior to the opening exhibited. The penwork includes a man in the moon.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 8

Link to larger image of gradual side of opening (verso).

Link to larger size of calendar side of page (recto).

Link to close-up of bishop grotesque.

Link to close-up of man-in-moon penwork.

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Two leaves from an Italian antiphonary

Italy, 12th century

Script: Rotunda

Notation: Similar to Beneventan

Parchment with ink and paint


The initial M on the top fragment begins the antiphon benediction for Lauds on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, “Magister, scimus quia verax es et viam dei in veritate doces” (Master, we know that You speak the truth and teach the way of God in all sincerity).

There are two staff lines used in this chant: the obvious one is red, the yellow one is barely visible.  The red line is the F line and the yellow line is the A line. These two leaves are not sequential: the top leaf has several selections from the Book of Matthew that are usually used during the 21st to 24th Sunday after Pentecost; the bottom leaf quotes Jeremiah 31:12 and Psalm 4.


The notation is very similar to Beneventan chant; however, Beneventan chant is accompanied by an entirely different script from the one seen in these leaves. Extant examples of Beneventan chant are also extremely rare, hence it is unlikely that these leaves are from a Beneventan monastery.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis Text Leaves 2:41


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Single leaf from the Buckland Missal:

Inhabited initial S, Pentecost

England, 1360-1380

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square


This initial begins the Introit for Pentecost, “Spiritus domini repleuit orbem terrarum …” (The spirit of the Lord fills the whole world). This leaf and Lewis E M 66:1b were cut from a manuscript that is now housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford and is known as the Buckland Missal. Another leaf from the missal has been found in Toledo, Ohio, at the Toledo Museum of Art. Another six leaves cut from the book have been lost.

The Buckland Missal is a noted missal. A missal is a complete book for the Mass: it unites in a single book the contents of earlier, separate books used for the Mass. A noted missal includes the musical notation for the chants used in the Mass.

This manuscript can be dated to ca. 1360-80.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:1A



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Leaf from a gradual:

Initial S with Pentecost

Flanders, ca. 1325

Script: Gothic

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square


This initial begins the Introit for the feast of Pentecost, “Spiritus domini replevit orbem terrarum …” (The spirit of the Lord fills the whole world).

Pentecost is the feast that celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ apostles.  The Virgin Mary appears in the center of the group: this was standard iconography from the twelfth century on.  Prior to the twelfth century, the apostles were depicted without her.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:9