(183x128mm) Original leaf from a Renaissance manuscript Gradual. Eight lines in red ink with text, in a fine humanist hand, and musical notation in black ink (on a four-line stave), on animal vellum. Headings, rubrics and ruling in red.
One large illuminated initial in blue and white on a gold ground with a floral motif with strawberries (symbol of perfect righteousness), a bee (symbol of virtue) and a ladybug (symbol of the Virgin Mary). Five illuminated initials, and two versals in liquid gold over grounds of blue or red with gold tracery.
The large illuminated “B” begins the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel: "Benedicite..." (Bless the Lord, all ye his Angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders. Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, all ye his Angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders).
France, c. 1550 – From the Royal Workshop of Henri II.
Graduals contain the musical chants for the proper of the Mass: introits, graduals, tracts, alleluia, offertory and communion verses, and sequences for special feasts. They may also include chants for the ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and for the introductory ‘asperges’ rite.