Rare English Antiphonal with Grand Initial
Type: Leaves & Fragments
English Antiphonal with Large Initial and Complex Decorative Borders. Single folio on vellum. Southern (perhaps southeastern) England, ca. 1450: 466 mm x 261 mm. While the texts conform to Sarum Use, the rubrics might be localizable and may reflect an Augustinian focus. Ruled in diluted black ink. Double column, 51 lines (17 staves). Square neumes on four-line staves in red (11 mm). Decoration: a very large initial I of “Ingressus angelus” in colors on gold grounds, as well as a thick bar border in gold and colors extending the length of the margin with similar extensions and swags filling the upper and lower margins; staff-high strapwork initials with penwork designs and human faces; single- and multi-line blue initials with red penwork; alterating red and blue versal initials; rubricated. Texts: chants, prayers, and rubrics for First Vespers (V1) and Matins (M) of the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March). As a double and a major Marian feast, this occasion was likely among the most ornately decorated in the manuscript. The following table summarizes the notated contents:
|Recto A1||[Orietur sicut sol ]||V1 A||004195||Begins midway through.|
Alleluia for Paschaltide.
Cue for Psalm.
|Recto A2||Ave maris stella||Hymn V1;|
|008272||Mode 1 melody|
|Recto A3||Ave maris stella||V1 Hymn;|
|008272||Mode 4 melody|
|Recto A4||Ingressus angelius||V1 Mag. A. V1||003339||Alleluia for Paschaltide. Cue for Magnificat.|
|Recto B1||Ave Maria||M I.||001042||Alleluia for Paschaltide. Cue for Venite.|
|Recto B2||Prophetae praedicaverunt||M A. 1.1||004392||Alleluia for Paschaltide. Cue for psalm.|
|Recto B3||Rorate caeli desuper||M A. 1.2||004668||Alleluia for Paschaltide. Cue for psalm.|
|Recto B4||Egredietur virga||M A. 1.3||002613||Alleluia for Paschaltide. Cue for psalm.|
|Recto B5||Ingressus angelus||M R. 1.1||006963||Ornate capital I serves as a visual cue to help cantor turn back responsory after reading the first lesson. Alleluia for Paschaltide.|
|Verso A1||Benedicta tu||M V. 1.1||006963a|
|Verso A2||Suscipe verbum||M R. 1.2||007744|
|Verso A3||Paries quidem filium||M V. 1.2||007744b|
|Verso A4||Maria ut audivit||M R. 1.3||007130|
|Verso A5||Quomodo fiet istud||M V. 1.3||007130c|
|Verso A6||Ecce veniet deus||M A. 2.1||002549||Cue for psalm.|
|Verso B1||Super solium David||M A. 2.2||005064||Cue for psalm.|
|Verso B2||Super te Jerusalem||M A. 2.3||005065||Cue for psalm.|
|Verso B3||Dixit angelus||M R. 2.1||006466|
|Verso B4||Ecce concipies||M V. 2.1||006466a|
|Verso B5||Ecce concipies||M R. 2.2||006579|
|Verso B6||Hic erit magnus||M V. 2.2||006579a|
|Verso B7||Dabit illi dominus||M R. 2.3||006390|
While much of the Office for the Annunciation is held in common by the Roman and Sarum rites, the assignment of certain chants is unique to Sarum Use. The recto begins with an incomplete antiphon of First Vespers, [Orietur sicut sol salvator mundi et] descendit in uterum virginis sicut imber super gramen. An Alleluia is indicated during Paschaltide, as the feast’s date of 25 March may fall before or after Easter on any given year. Assigned in the Roman rite to the Vigil of the Nativity, the use of this antiphon for the Annunciation is shared with GB-Cu Mm.ii.9 (the “Barnwell Antiphoner,” from the Augustinian abbey of St. Giles, Barnwell, near Cambridge) and the Sarum “Great Breviary” of 1531. Similarly, on the verso Matins antiphon 2.3, Super te Jerusalem orietur, is an assignment found only in Sarum books such as the Barnwell Antiphoner, and GB-AB 20541 from Wales. While these antiphons confirm the Sarum Use and suggest an Augustinian focus, the rubrics themselves may indicate a localized practice. Two melodies are given for the hymn Ave maris stella, with extensive rubrics explaining its performance on Marian feasts throughout the year, and for the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin sung as daily devotion. These rubrics are provided because the Annunciation is transmitted in the Temporale section of the manuscript. Its celebration on 25 March would represent the earliest calendar date on which this hymn would be encountered in the manuscript. (The Purification, celebrated on 2 February, would appear later in the book, in the Sanctorale section, which may have been a separate volume altogether.) The rubrics for the hymn vary somewhat from those of the printed Sarum Breviary, and may represent a localized version of the Sarum use.
Matthew Cheung Salisbury has proposed a three-stage model of standardization and variation in the Sarum Office. The first stage, established from 1320 on, followed the spread of the Salisbury Cathedral pattern. Texts from this first pattern survive, in some manuscripts, into the fifteenth century. The second stage resulted from an effort to harmonize and reform the Salisbury pattern associated with Henry Chichele, archbishop of Canterbury from 1414-1443. Chichele’s reform aimed to simplify the office, making it more generally applicable to other venues. Cheung writes that the second stage “ … borrows richly from the texts of the Ordinals, though their relationship to any particular redaction of the Ordinal is never clear.” The third stage, an outgrowth of the second, adapted the Sarum Office to specific contexts, creating new local patterns. Individual manuscripts might reflect changes made for functional reasons or as a result of episcopal, synodal, or regional liturgical prescriptions (see Cataloguing Discrepancies: The Printed York Breviary of 1493 (Toronto, 2011), pp. iv-v). Hence, extensive comparison of the rubrics for the hymn Ave maris stella to those of other manuscript breviaries, antiphoners, and ordinals may help to identify the origin of this noble fragment.
Provenance: from an old European collection, with a British export license allowing permanent export.
Condition: recovered from a binding and therefore slightly worn, creased and damaged as depicted. The lighter pigments look rubbed and somewhat chalky, and the gilding is worn or missing in some cases. The fragment has been cut down. It has older paper and glue residue on the verso.