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Antiphoner: MS 45

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Object information

Current Location: In storage




Artists: Battista Rosa, Giovanni and assistants
Scribe: Ballo, Giovanni (Iohannes Ballus)




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + 134 fols. (foliated i, 1-133) + i paper flyleaf, 627 x 440 mm (445 x 286 mm), 5 four-line musical staves ruled in red ink, with 5 text lines in between ruled in pale black ink, equivalent in all to 30 lines.

BINDING: Seventeenth century, brown stained paper over wooden boards, sewn on five supports, leather spine and corner pieces nailed to boards, remains of metal furniture (probably chain attachments) on upper and lower covers

CONTENTS: fols. i verso-133v Antiphons, versicles and responsories for the Sanctoral from the Decollation of St John the Baptist (Aug. 29) to All Saints (Nov. 1)

DECORATION: Five historiated initials, two with full wide borders (fols. 1r, 12r) and three with partial borders (fols. 44r, 71v, 101r), containing blue, orange, purple and green acanthus leaves and gold scrolls, at the antiphons to the psalms of First Vespers: fol. 1r Decollation of John Baptist, [A, 12 ll.] Beheading of John the Baptist, with border cartouches containing shields of the Dominican Order and Fabrizio Pignatelli surmounted by crowns, and three historiated oval corner medallions (the fourth one has been excised) showing St John the Baptist's head on a charger, a reed-cross twined with a scroll and a scallop shell on a table, and St John the Baptist at his prison window; fol. 12r Nativity of the Virgin, [H, 12 ll.] Birth of the Virgin, with border cartouches containing shields of the Dominican Order and Fabrizio Pignatelli surmounted by crowns, and three historiated oval corner medallions (the fourth one has been excised) showing three half-length figures of prophets; fol. 44r Exaltation of the Cross, [O, 11 ll.] St Helena holding the Cross; fol. 71v St Michael, [D, 12 ll.] St Michael fighting the dragon; fol. 101r All Saints, [O, 12 ll.] Christ of the Resurrection holding the Cross, flanked by the Virgin Mary and Saints.

ORNAMENTATION: Large gold framed border blocks containing gold, green, orange, blue and purple-pink acanthus leaves on coloured rinceaux grounds running up the full length of the outer borders at the responsory to the first lesson of Matins or at the opening antiphon for Lauds (fols. 6v, 16v, 35v, 47v, 66v, 75r, 95v, 105v, 127v); gold, red or blue initials [5-6 ll.] on coloured foliage grounds within gold frames (e.g. fol. 6v).


History note: Made for the Dominican church of Santa Maria della Sanità in Naples under the patronage of Fabrizio Pignatelli, Marchese di Cerchiara and from 1600 Prince of Noia: Hunc librum una cum ceteris Illustrissimus et eccellentissimus Dominus Fabritius Pignatellus nomine Princeps, grandi pecunia, sed maiore pietate, in Beatam Virginem Sanitatis, Cura et diligentia R. P. F. Dominici Guglielmini Neapolitani, opera uero ac labore Fratris Johannis Balli fieri mandauit. mdciiii (fol. 133v), the date MDCIIII is also recorded at the end of two opening rubrics (fols. i verso, 11v); passed at unknown dates to San Domenico Maggiore, Naples, and then to the Marquess of Lorne, John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell (1845-1914), who became ninth Duke of Argyll in 1900; purchased for the Museum in December 1888, together with MSS 43 and 44, from the bookseller, Kerr and Richardson, Queen Street, Glasgow, for £15 (note found in MS 43 and now kept on file).

Place(s) associated

  • Naples

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1888) by Kerr and Richardson (bookseller)

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: ac tenuit Johannem
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 45
Primary reference Number: 176362
Project ID: 301
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 8 October 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Antiphoner" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-23 01:56:08

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