A Very Scarce Example of a Complete Early Processional, In Fine Original Pigskin by a Well-Known Ulm Binder

(Bavaria or Germany: ca. 1470). 185 x 125 mm. (7 3/8 x 4 7/8"). [56] leaves, COMPLETE. Single column, with six staves of musical notation composed of four-line staffs and a line of text underneath, or a mixture of staves and several lines of text, all written in an angular gothic book hand.

CONTEMPORARY ALUM-TAWED PIGSKIN OVER BEVELLED WOODEN BOARDS BY JOHANNES HAGMAYER, covers with several sets of three-line blind rules and tools consisting of rosettes, roosters, eagles, and owls, central panel on upper cover containing a palmette tool enclosed by a mandorla with a flower tool in each corner, panel on lower cover with an "X" shape surrounded by four owl tools, raised bands, fore edge with single brass clasp and catch plate. Rubrics and staves in red, numerous one-line black and/or red initials at the beginning of verses, first page with a slightly larger than two-line "P" in red and filled with filigree designs. Front pastedown with contemporary manuscript notes in Latin by Franciscan Brother Johannes Dillingen dated 1478 (see below), followed by an additional note in German but in the same hand, giving information about the arrangement of the volume's contents; front flyleaf with note of ownership of the Dominican Klosterkirche Maria Medingen and an additional illegible note in German in the same hand. For the binding: EBDB tools: s000768; s000773; s000778; s000782; s000783; s000784; s000790; s0001918; workshop: w000017; Kyriss 46; Schwenke-Schunke II, p. 262. See also: Husby, "Another 'per me': A Richenbach Binding Discovered in the Huntington Library" in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Vol. 105, No. 3 (2011), p. 307. Binding with some general light soiling and a couple small stains, upper cover with one small hole in the center and spine with a few tiny wormholes, paper pastedowns with a few minor worm trails, a couple of vellum leaves showing some wrinkling, occasional minor stain or drop of candle wax, a two-inch marginal tear to one leaf, but on the whole AN APPEALING, UNSOPHISTICATED ITEM IN A REMARKABLE STATE OF PRESERVATION, the binding entirely sound and with clear impressions of the tools, and the contents clean and bright throughout.

Still in its original Medieval binding, with endpapers bearing contemporary inscriptions telling us about its early life, this is a superb example of a completely unsophisticated manuscript of a sort infrequently seen for sale, and one that is little changed from the days it was first put to use. The manuscript is composed of prayers and music to accompany liturgical processions throughout the year, beginning with a song for Palm Sunday. Made to be portable and given simple decoration, this manuscript would have been well suited for the personal use of a member of a religious community, and evidence here points to its belonging to persons from more than one order. According to an early note on the front pastedown, from at least 1478 it was in the possession of a Franciscan friar and cantor calling himself Johannes of Dillingen, who says that he has corrected this "little book" as best he can, and that no one ought to attempt to change anything unless that person be an expert in the service of the order, or has been a cantor for more than six years. It seems unusual that his additional note about what the manuscript contains is not in Latin, but in German; this possibly suggests he is taking into consideration a second, less educated audience that would need the vernacular to understand how to use the book. It is also unusual that, in addition to his notes at the front of the volume, Brother Johannes has signed "dillingen" in the margins of several pages where he edited or added content. We know from the front flyleaf inscription that at some point early on, perhaps even from the time of its creation, this manuscript belonged to the Dominican sisters of Maria Medingen--a convent formally founded in 1246 and located just a few miles from Dillingen, in a Bavarian town midway between Stuttgart and Munich. It is not entirely clear which owner came first, though perhaps Brother Johannes' editorial changes suggest that he was adapting for subsequent use in his own Franciscan community a processional originally made for Dominican nuns. The binding here is of great interest. We know it was made by Johannes Hagmayer of Ulm (active 1470-87), based on the presence of eight different tools identified in the German database of blind-stamped bindings, Einbanddatenbank [EBDB] (see identification numbers above), which finds 16 incunabula and one manuscript bound by Hagmayer in German libraries. The Morgan Library holds a 15th century German devotional manuscript on paper bound by him, the catalogue record noting that it "chiefly was purchased for its binding." (Morgan Library MS M.793) In a study of Ulm-area binders of the late 15th century, Husby notes that of the five binderies in Ulm identified by gothic bindings expert Ernst Kyriss, only Hagmayer's stood out for its unique tools. Fortunately, the binding shows no signs of repair and even retains the original clasp and catch plate; it is in especially remarkable condition, given that it seems to have been used with some regularity. The contents are in an equally impressive state, and the presence of small drops of wax located on the occasional vellum leaf is a palpable and rather charming reminder of the setting in which the manuscript would have been employed. Early processionals are quite scarce on the market, especially complete and in well-preserved original bindings.