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1st Sunday in Advent

  • Object:

    Manuscript

  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (illuminated)

  • Date:

    ca. 1330 (illuminated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment

  • Museum number:

    8992

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 25

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This is a page from a Gradual. The Gradual contained the musical parts of the Missal, the book containing the services of the Mass. The initial A is historiated (that is, with a figurative picture, istoire being the term for a story). It shows the Annunciation, in which the Angel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary to announce the birth of Jesus Christ. In the outer margin an angel holds a scroll bearing an inscription, 'gift of Katerina of Gouda and Maria Ursi, nuns'. Around the borders of the page are birds, a butterfly and grotesque figures.

From the last decades of the 13th century, it was common for the ornament that framed the text to be inhabited by regiments of grotesque figures. These were half-man and half-beast. They were depicted alongside animals and birds that were realistically represented. Interspersed among the birds and animals were dragons' bodies and grotesque faces. Occasionally, there is a link between the grotesques and the text, but often there seems little more than incongruous romping. This choirbook was made for a community of Dominican nuns. Female grotesques playing musical instruments are shown under the praying figures of the nuns.

Physical description

Netherlandish illuminated manuscript on parchment. Opening leaf from a Dominican Gradual with historiated initial 'A' depicting Annunciation with two angels playing musical instruments. In the outer margin an angel holds a scroll bearing a Latin inscription, 'gift of Katerina of Gouda and Maria Ursi, nuns'. Around the borders of the page are birds, a butterfly and grotesque figures.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (illuminated)

Date

ca. 1330 (illuminated)

Artist/maker

Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment

Dimensions

Height: 18 1/4 in, Width: 13 in, Height: 47 cm, Width: 32.2 cm

Historical context note

Data taken from notes compiled by Rowan Watson. The full text of the entry is as follows:

'8992 ([-])
DOMINICAN GRADUAL
Opening leaf, with historiated initial A (Upper register: Annunciation, architectural canopy; lower register: 5 kneeling Dominican nuns) ; in margins ivy-leaf decoration, medallions with heads, grotesques playing musical instruments, birds, butterfly;
angel in outer margin has scroll with inscription "[gift of Katerina of Gouda and Maria Ursi [De Beer?], nuns]".

[1st Sunday in Advent]

NL (South) c. 1330

Bought from Weale, 1883
Pub: 1923 cat, 8-9'

Descriptive line

Illuminated manuscript on parchment. Opening leaf from a Dominican Gradual with historiated initial 'A'. In the outer margin an angel holds a scroll bearing a Latin inscription, 'gift of Katerina of Gouda and Maria Ursi, nuns'. Around the borders of the page are birds, a butterfly and grotesque figures. Netherlands. c.1330.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Edge, Kevin. The Art of Selling Songs : Graphics for the Music Business, 1690-1990. London : Futures Publications, c.1991.
The full text of the entry is as follows:

'PLATE 1.16 : Opening leaf of a gradual. 1st Sunday in Advent. Des: anon. Netherlandish illuminated manuscript on parchment. c.1330. 47.0 x 32.2 8992. The Latin inscription on the scroll held by the angel on the right states that it was donated to the Dominican Nunnery by Sister Katerina of Gouda and Sister Mari Ursi. A manuscript of this quality would be executed by the best scribes and illuminators (religious or secular) available at this date. (Note the portative organ, rebec, gittern and bagpipes of which the last three are secular instruments).'

Materials

Ink; Parchment; Dutch metal

Techniques

Drawing; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Birds; Music; Angels; Butterfly; Musical instruments; Grotesques; Bagpipes; Nuns; Organ; Rebec; Gittern

Categories

Religion; Christianity; Manuscripts

Collection code

PDP

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Qr_O94028
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