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Breviary: MS McClean 38

Object information

Current Location: In storage






PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + i medieval parchment flyleaf (foliated i) + 6 Calendar leaves (foliated ii – vi) + 311 fols. + i medieval parchment flyleaf (foliated 312) + i paper flyleaf, 172 x 122 (116 x 74) mm, 2 columns, 26 lines, ruled in black ink, catchwords, musical notation on four-line staves ruled in black ink.

BINDING: sixteenth century, blind-stamped brown leather over wooden boards, sewn on 5 supports, central panel on upper cover with Christ standing, holding orb and blessing, with cross on his shoulder and devil at his feet, above and below panel P[AR]S HYEMA[LIS] 1577, on lower cover Sacrifice of Isaac with inscription DEUS TEMPTAVIT ABR[AHAM], border of roll ornaments, IUDIDIT (sic), EVA with a scull, IUSTITIA, Virgin and Child, one leather strap with meatal clasp (out of original three) on lower cover, one metal catchplate (out of original three) on upper cover.

CONTENTS: fols. ii – vii Calendar; fols. 1r – 95v Psalter with Antiphons; fols. 95v – 105r Canticles; fols. 105r – 106v Litany; fols. 107r – 120r Hymnal; fols. 120r – 126v Prayers and Collects; fols. 129r – 311r Temporal ending with Easter Eve.

DECORATION: Seventeen historiated initials [5 – 7 ll.] in white-patterned blue and pink with figures set against burnished gold grounds, and partial bar borders terminating in foliage and inhabited by animals, birds, and grotesques, at major text divisions: fol. 2r Psalm 1, [B, 6 ll.] David enthroned and playing harp; fol. 15v Psalm 26, [D, 6 ll.] man standing and pointing to eye; fol. 24v Psalm 38, [D, 6 ll.] man walking with staff over his shoulder; fol. 32v Psalm 51, [Q, 5 ll.] David seated holding sword and orb; fol. 33v Psalm 52, [D, 6 ll.] Fool with club eating cake; fol. 42r Psalm 68, [S, 6 ll.] Christ holding orb and blessing above David in water; fol. 52v Psalm 80, [E, 6 ll.] David playing bells; fol. 62v Psalm 97, [C, 6 ll.] two clerics singing at lectern; fol. 63v Psalm 101, [D, 5 ll.] cleric kneeling before altar; fol. 72v Psalm 109, [D, 6 ll.] Christ seated, holding orb and blessing; fol. 107r Hymnal, [O, 6 ll.] Throne of Mercy Trinity; fol. 109r Hymn for Advent, [C, 4 ll.] Christ as Logos and Creator; fol. 116v Hymn for All Saints, [I, 10 ll.] Christ with saints; fol. 117r Hymn for the Common of apostles, [E, 4 ll.] three apostles; fol. 129r Temporal, [E, 7 ll.] seated prophet with blank scroll; fol. 162v Christmas, [P, 7 ll.] Nativity; fol. 190r Epiphany, [S, 6 ll.] Adoration of the Magi.

ORNAMENTATION: Blue or pink white-patterned initials [3 ll.] filled with foliage, animals or human heads on gold grounds and extensions supporting or terminating in animals, birds, hybrids and foliage; alternate gold and blue initials [1 – 2 ll.] with violet or red pen-flourished infill and extensions, and gold and blue baguettes.


History note: Edwin Henry Lawrence; his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 9 – 12 May 1892, lot 537; purchased by Frank McClean (1837 – 1904); his bequest, 1904

Place(s) associated

  • Cologne ⪼ Germany

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


Fourteenth century, first half
Circa 1322 CE - Circa 1340 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 38
Primary reference Number: 170703
Project ID: 17
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 2020 Last processed: Monday 25 July 2022

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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