(Besançon: ca. 1330). 292 x 216 mm. (11 1/2 x 8 1/2"). Double column, each column with 13 four-line staves of music above lines of text in a small gothic book hand.
Rubrics in red, NUMEROUS CALLIGRAPHIC INITIALS in black and red, EACH LEAF WITH FROM THREE TO SIX WHIMSICAL FACES EMERGING FROM THESE CAPITALS, additional large initials in red or blue with penwork in the contrasting color (but no faces), two leaves with very large puzzle initials with extensive penwork decoration in red and blue. One leaf with three sides of a small tab cut out of the fore margin and secured under a flap as a page marker. A few of the initials slightly trimmed at the top margin, some light general soiling, a few minor smudges, otherwise clean, well-preserved, and very pleasing.
More commonly found in 15th century manuscripts, the kind of delightful anthropomorphized capitals seen here generally do not appear as early as ca. 1330. When they are found, these emergent faces tend to resemble each other more closely than is the case in the present leaves, where the individual drawings seem to depict distinct persons or at least a particular rank or type of personage. For example, one of the larger initials, opening a hymn to St. Catherine, depicts what appears to be a nun in a habit; another initial is pure whimsy, with a man's face shown fully frontal, his tongue sticking out at us. The faces display a surprising range of emotions with just a few penstrokes: they are by turns angry, wistful, surprised, dismayed, kindly, or jolly. The doodles here show us in a distinctive and delightful way the need in Medieval scriptoria for diversion in the midst of tedium. (ST14016)
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PJP Catalog: 74.022