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Leaf from a Dominican Antiphoner thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E , Case I, Shelf 81, Box V

Leaf from a Dominican Antiphoner

Manuscript Cutting
1300-1325 (made)
Place of origin

This is a page from an Antiphoner. This book contained the choral parts for the cycle of Offices celebrated by a monastic or other community. Its size enabled the whole choir to read the music at once. The initial O is historiated (that is, with a figurative picture, istoire being the term for a story). It shows God the Father enthroned with a Crucifix and a dove. The dove represents the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. Around the borders of the page are animals 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 friars, and thus a very scholarly one. In the border, a monkey is catching a bird with a rope; at his feet a cage encloses another bird.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment
Brief description
Leaf from Antiphoner with historiated initial U depicting the Holy Trinity, Northern France or Southern Netherlands, 1st quarter of the 14th century.
Physical description
Feast of the Holy Trinity.

Recto:

Historiated initial O depicting the Trinity ('Gnadenstuhl' type). Hare, bird and dragon in the border. In the lower border: seated monkey catching a bird with a rope (partially rubbed off), a cage enclosing a bird beside him; winged human-headed hybrid.

Rubric: In festo sancte Trinitatis ad Vesperas super psalmos.

Text: O beata et benedicta et gloriosa Trinitas...

Verso:

Rubric: Ad matutinas. Invitatorium.

7 lines of music (staves of 4 red lines, 24 mm) and text.
Dimensions
  • Height: 485mm
  • Width: 320mm
  • Text block height: 340mm
  • Text block width: 225mm
  • Stave height: 24mm
Production typeUnique
Object history
Part of cuttings purchased in batches from William Henry James Weale in 1883, 95 on 9 April 1883, 258 on 17 April 1883, 20 on 20 February, for the total sum of £96.7.2 (now Museum nos 8972-9042).Part of cuttings purchased in batches from William Henry James Weale in 1883, 95 on 9 April 1883, 258 on 17 April 1883, 20 on 20 February, for the total sum of £96.7.2 (now Museum nos 8972-9042). Price paid for this leaf, together with 8997B: 14s. Information from Register of Drawings.

A duplicate number MS.3 was assigned to this object in error and was subsequently cancelled.



Cuttings from the same manuscript in the V&A collection: Museum nos 8997A, 8997B, 8997C, 8997D, 8997E, 8997F, 8997G, 8997H.



Cuttings from the same manuscript in other collections: London, British Library, Yates Thompson MS 25 (Resurrection); 3 leaves formerly Yates Thompson MS LXXXIIIA (see Descriptive Catalogue 1907).
Subjects depicted
Summary
This is a page from an Antiphoner. This book contained the choral parts for the cycle of Offices celebrated by a monastic or other community. Its size enabled the whole choir to read the music at once. The initial O is historiated (that is, with a figurative picture, istoire being the term for a story). It shows God the Father enthroned with a Crucifix and a dove. The dove represents the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. Around the borders of the page are animals 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 friars, and thus a very scholarly one. In the border, a monkey is catching a bird with a rope; at his feet a cage encloses another bird.
Associated objects
Bibliographic references
  • Catalogue of illuminated manuscripts : Part II, Miniatures, leaves, and cuttings, by S.C. Cockerell and E.F. Strange (London: HMSO, 1908, 1st edition).pp. 9-10.
  • 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).pp. 7-8.
  • A Descriptive Catalogue of Twenty Illuminated Manuscripts, Nos. LXXV to XCIV (Replacing Twenty Discarded from the Original Hundred) in the Collection of Henry Yates Thompson, Cambridge: University Press, 1907.no. LXXXIIIa pp. 75-78 (cutting from same manuscript).
  • Janet Backhouse, The Illuminated Page: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Painting in the British Library (London: British Library, 1997).no. 83 (BL cutting).
  • Medieval Mastery: Book Illumination from Charlemagne to Charles the Bold 800-1475 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2002).no. 48 (BL cutting).
Collection
Accession number
8997C

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Record createdFebruary 26, 2004
Record URL
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