Leaf from a Missal

Manuscript Cutting
2nd quarter 14th century (made)
Leaf from a Missal thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is a page from a Missal, a service book containing the texts necessary for the performance of the Mass. Professionally made books used decorative initials, such as the initial Q on this fragment, to signal the main divisions of a text. There was usually a hierarchy of initials within any book to designate sections, chapters, paragraphs and other breaks. The initials were added either by the scribe or by a specialist, in spaces left blank by the scribe. The latter was increasingly the practice in the later Middle Ages. The important initials might be historiated (that is, with a figurative picture, istoire being the term for story) or decorated. The initial on this page shows St John the Evangelist writing at a desk within a chapel. It is a visual reference to the content of the text - the beginning of the Gospel of St John.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment
Brief Description
Leaf from a Missal showing St John writing at a desk, Perugia, 2nd quarter of the 14th century. A duplicate number MS.1490 was assigned to this object in error and was subsequently cancelled.
Physical Description
Recto: historiated 7-line initial I St John writing at a desk, beneath him a figure with a tall striped hat, long-billed bird in margin.

Inc: In principio erat verbum…

Beginning of St John’s Gospel.

11 lines on 1 column.
Dimensions
  • Height: 245mm
  • Width: 165mm
  • Text block height: 140mm
  • Text block width: 110mm
Production typeUnique
Object history
Part of a group of cuttings which were bought for £38.9.0 from Carl Ewald Rappaport (his stamp) in Rome in 1911, entered in the register on 22 March 1911 (now E.371-378-1911).

Cuttings from the same manuscript in the V&A collection: Museum nos E.377-1911, E.378-1911, CIRC.156.1911, CIRC.157-1911.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is a page from a Missal, a service book containing the texts necessary for the performance of the Mass. Professionally made books used decorative initials, such as the initial Q on this fragment, to signal the main divisions of a text. There was usually a hierarchy of initials within any book to designate sections, chapters, paragraphs and other breaks. The initials were added either by the scribe or by a specialist, in spaces left blank by the scribe. The latter was increasingly the practice in the later Middle Ages. The important initials might be historiated (that is, with a figurative picture, istoire being the term for story) or decorated. The initial on this page shows St John the Evangelist writing at a desk within a chapel. It is a visual reference to the content of the text - the beginning of the Gospel of St John.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Catalogue of Miniatures, Leaves, and Cuttings from Illuminated Manuscripts. Victoria and Albert Museum. Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, by S.C. Cockerell and C. Harcourt Smith (London: HMSO, 1923, 2nd edition).p. 75.Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, Accessions 1911, London, Printed for His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1912
  • Subbioni, M., La miniatura perugina del Trecento: contributo alla storia della pittura in Umbria nel quattordicesimo secolo, 2 vols., Perugia: Guerra, 2003.Vil. 1, p. 61, pl. LVII.
Other Number
1490 - Cancelled number
Collection
Accession Number
E.378-1911

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record createdFebruary 23, 2004
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