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; production


Frank McClean


illuminated manuscript


Cistercian Use; liturgical use
breviary; type of text


circa 1235 circa 1250


thirteenth century, second quarter


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + 366 fols. + ii paper flyleaves, 104 x 150 mm (68 x 122 mm), 29 long lines, ruled in plummet, leaves lost after fols. 92, 234, 366

BINDING: Nineteenth century, vellum over pasteboards.

fols. 1r - 77r Psalter
fols. 77r - 84 Canticles and Athanasian Creed
fols. 84r - 86v Office of the Dead
fol. 87r Office for recovery of the Holy Land (addition)
fol. 87v Two collects (addition)
fols. 88r - 92r Hymnal
fols. 93r - 95r Offices for Saints Agatha, Lucy and Mary Magdalene
fols. 95r - 100v Hymnal
fols. 101r - 214v Temporal from the Vigil of Advent Sunday to Good Friday
fols. 215r - 234v Sanctoral from the feast of St Stephen (26 Dec.) to the feast of St George (23 April)
fols. 235r - 301v Temporal from Holy Saturday to twenty-eighth week after Pentecost
fols. 302r - 362r Sanctoral from the feast of St Benedict (21 March) to the feast of St Thomas the Apostle (21 Dec.)
fols. 362v - 366v Common of Saints

DECORATION: Historiated initial ornamental palmettes on green ground: fol. 1r Psalm 1, [B, 14 ll.] Three-quarter length figure of King David; grotesque faces as infill to initials (e.g. fols. 20r, 34v, 65v, 83r)

ORNAMENTATION: Ornamental initials [6-8 ll.] in blue and red with foliage motifs in yellow and green against parted yellow and green backgrounds for the liturgical divisions of the Psalter (e.g. fols. 12v, 26v, 33v, 51r); alternate blue and red penwork initials [2-3 ll.] with red and blue pen flourishing for minor text divisions, some with partial extensions in side margins (e.g. fol. 50v) and occasionally with dragons and lions in the lower margins (fols. 3v, 19r, 53r, 57r).

Place (legacy):

Italy, production, region


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1904; McClean, Frank


McClean, Frank; previous owner


The decorative initials and extensions are early examples of pen flourishing in Italy, but no exact parallels can be found to suggest the region where the manuscript was made. The one historiated initial (fol. 1r) and the ornamental initials are not sufficiently characteristic to help with localisation. The Sanctoral contains saints specific to the Cistercian Calendar (Backaert 1950-1951): William of Bourges (10 Jan.), Robert of Molesmes (29 April) on fol. 308r (misread by James as the earlier entry for Cuthbert, Coberti), Peter of Tarentaise (8 May), Bernard of Clairvaux (20 Aug.) and Malachy of Armagh (3 Nov.). The Franciscan St Elizabeth of Hungary, canonised in 1235, who was incorporated into the Cistercian Calendar, is in the Sanctoral in the original hand, so the book must postdate 1235. The responsories and versicles of the Office of the Dead follow the Cistercian use, and the manuscript is important as an early example of an Italian Cistercian Breviary. A remarkable textual feature is the later addition of the Kyrie for the recovery of the Holy Land and Jerusalem (fol. 87r), probably added after 1244 when the city fell to the Ayyubides of Egypt.


secundo folio; est salus et super


James, Montague Rhodes, Dr. 1912. A descriptive catalogue of the McClean Collection of Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Pressp. 70-71

Frere, W. H.. 1894 - 1932. Bibliotheca Musico-Liturgica: A Descriptive Hand List of the Musical and Latin-liturgical MSS. Preserved in the Libraries of Great Britain and Ireland..London:
II, no. 993

Talbot, C. H.. 1952. Cistertian Manuscripts in England.
Source Title: Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciensis Reformatorum 14 208-212 (1952) : 264-277
p. 273


Object Number: MS McClean 36
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 182088; input: 2011-03-20; modified: 2012-08-29)


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