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In your search: Category:illuminated*


Gospel Lectionary

Maker(s) &

, production, Italy, Lombardy, Milan, or Chiaravalle Abbey


illuminated manuscript


Cistercian Use; liturgical use
other; type of text


circa 1460 circa 1475


fifteenth-century, third quarter


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i medieval parchment flyleaf + 262 fols. (foliated 1-204, 204* (inserted paper leaf, no watermark), 205-221, 221* (inserted paper leaf, no watermark), 222-260) + i medieval parchment flyleaf, 272 x 197 mm (203 x 134 mm), 16 long lines, ruled in black ink, catchwords, musica in three-line red staves with square neumes.

BINDING: Sixteenth century, brown leather over oak boards, sewn on four supports, blind-stamped four out of original five brass bosses on each cover (top left boss on both covers lost), traces of two fastening devices, edge-plate and decorative metal strip on both covers, four medieval woven cream silk bookmarks attached to headband, both pastedowns are from a late fourteenth-century Missal; rebacked.

fols. 1r - 185v Gospel readings for the Temporal
fols. 185v - 229r Gospel readings for the Sanctoral (including a contemporary paper leaf written in the same or very similar hand to that of the main text, fol. 204*, and a half-width paper sheet of printed text entitled Rosarii Virginis, fol. 221*)
fols. 229r - 246r Gospel Readings for the Common of the Saints
fols. 246r - 253r Gospel Readings for Votive Masses
fols. 253r - 254r Gospel Reading for St Bernard
fols. 255r - 259v Blessing of the Paschal Candle, the Exultet, with musical notation, by a different scribe
fol. 260r Liturgical directions for texts to be recited when kissing the Gospel Book, when genuflecting, followed by a list of the apostles and the regions to which they preached, by a different scribe

DECORATION: Historiated initial on violet ground: fol. 253v [I, 4 ll.] St Bernard with crosier and book, mitre on ground.

ORNAMENTATION: Two silver initials [2 ll.] on dark red and blue ground with delicate silver scrolled foliate overlay for introduction (In illo tempore) to first reading (fol. 1r) and Exultet (fol. 255r); red and blue initials [1 - 2 ll.] with geometric, foliate and abstract penwork decoration in blue or violet, occasionally with pen flourishes forming partial borders, for introduction (In illo tempore) to readings; one-line silver initial on blue ground for first reading (fol. 1r); one-line red and blue pen-flourished initials for opening of readings and sections in Exultet; rubricated incipits and explicits (some added in outer margin) and notes to cantors in Exultet; a few blue paraph marks and first initials for readings; black penwork initials highlighted in yellow for verses

Red and blue penwork initials [2 ll.] on the pastedowns (leaves from a late fourteenth-century Missal with fine large script).


illumination; whole


parchment; support
ink; medium
pigment; medium




bought; 1891;


Cistercian abbey of Chiaravalle, diocese of Milan, as revealed by the inscription on fol. 260r: Iste Liber Evangeliorum est sancte Marie carevallis de Mediolano quem si quis furatus fuerit vel malitiose retinuerit a Christo in perpetuum anathema sit, and by the Dedication of the Church in the Sanctoral on 2 May, the date of the dedication of Chiaravalle; in the collection of Francesco Giovio (1796-1873) according to Ferrari 1993, 296; Milanese bookseller c.1880; Sotheby’s, London, 10 November 1880, lot 1340; purchased for the Museum in 1891.


Giovio, Francesco; previous owner
Cistercian abbey of Chiaravalle; original owner


secundo folio; dices ut pareret


James, Montague Rhodes, Dr. 1895. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Pressp. 13-14

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, 167, no. 1022

Morgan, Nigel. Panayotova, Stella. Reynolds, Suzanne. 2011. A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part Two. Vols. 1-2: Italy and the Iberian Peninsula.London: Harvey Miller Publishers
cat. no. 133

Ferrari, M.. Zerbi, P.. 1993. Dopo Bernardo: biblioteche e "scriptoria" cistercensi dell'Italia settentrionale nel XII secolo.Milan:
Source Title: San Bernado e l'Italia, Atti del Convegno di Studi(1990) : 253-306

p. 277, 289 n. 134, 296.


MS 8.f.253v
MS 8.f.255r


Object Number: MS 8
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 118761; input: 2005-05-31; modified: 2017-04-03)


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