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Gospel Lectionary: MS 8

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Object information


Gospel Lectionary


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).


History note: 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.

Place(s) associated

  • Milan ⪼ Lombardy ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1891)


Fifteenth-century, third quarter
Circa 1460 CE - Circa 1475 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support: composed of parchment

Techniques used in production

Penwork Illumination

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: dices ut pareret
  • Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 8
Primary reference Number: 118761
Project ID: 277
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 24 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Cistercian Use" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-09-19 16:59:49

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{{cite web|url=|title=Cistercian Use|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-09-19 16:59:49|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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