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Pontifical Offices: MS McClean 54

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Current Location: In storage


Pontifical Offices




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, iv flyleaves (foliated i-iv, the first a pastedown) + i flyleaf with list of contents (fol. v) + i blank flyleaf (foliated vi) + 49 fols. (original foliation in Roman numerals in red ink, fol. 49 a pastedown), 254 x 188 mm (160 x 113 mm), two columns, 21 lines, ruled in brown-black ink, catchwords in brown penwork frames

BINDING: Fifteenth century, brown goatskin over wooden boards, blind-tooled in mudéjar style, the upper cover has strapwork enclosing two squares, the lower cover strapwork enclosing four rectangles, the roundels on the strapwork have a metallic lustre, two modern velvet straps with clasps attached with brass-headed nails; the same binding is found on Baltimore, WAG, MS 421 (note by A. R. Hobson in annotated copy of James 1912a).

fol. v recto - v verso List of Contents (contemporary addition)
fols. 1r - 3r Blessing of Salt and Water on Sundays, and the Asperges
fols. 3v - 6r Ordo for Confirmation
fols. 6r - 8r Ordo for First Tonsure
fols. 8r - 8v Ordo for Clipping of the Beard
fols. 8v - 9r On the Four Orders of the Church
fols. 9r - 15r Ordination of Ostiarii, Lectors, Exorcists and Acolytes
fols. 15v -19r Blessings for chalices, patens, vestments, altar cloths and corporals
fols. 19r - 32r Ordo for the reconciliation of churches and cemeteries
fols. 32r - 35r Ordo for the visitation of parishes
fols. 35r - 40v Pontifical Mass for the Dedication of a Church
fols. 40v-45r Benedictions for the main feasts of the year

DECORATION: Seven historiated initials, their initial stems blue with white decoration, framed with gold, with full (fols. 1r, 3v) or small partial (fols. 8v, 15v, 19r, 28r, 32r) band borders containing acanthus foliage, stylised flowers, gold balls with black bristles, angels, standing and seated young men, dragons and grotesque animals and fantastic birds: fol. 1r Blessing of Salt and Water, [E, 4 ll.] Scallop shell in grisaille, with two male secular figures kneeling in the border and holding a shield azure a sun rayed or, with a bezant charged with a lion rampant gules, surmounted by a black bishop's hat and crozier; fol. 3v Order of Confirmation, [O, 5 ll.] Three-quarter-length figure of a bishop blessing and holding crozier, with two angels in the border holding the same shield ; fol. 3v Order of Confirmation, [P, 5 ll.] Bishop seated between two laymen and anointing with holy oil the forehead of a kneeling boy; fol. 8v Four Orders of the Church, [D, 4ll.] Half-length figure of a bishop blessing and holding crozier; fol. 15v Blessing of church vessels, [P, 3 ll.] Head of a bishop; fol. 19r Ordo for the reconciliation of churches and cemeteries, [E, 5 ll.] Church exterior; fol. 28r Ordo for the reconciliation of churches and cemeteries, [D, 3 ll.] Half-length figure of a bishop blessing and holding crozier; fol. 32r Ordo for the visitation of parishes, [P, 4 ll.] Half-length figure of a bishop blessing and holding crozier.

ORNAMENTATION: Two initials [3 ll.] in gold, blue and pink-red with white ornamental patterns, with small partial band borders containing acanthus foliage, stylised flowers, gold balls with black bristles, and a fantastic bird (fols. 30v, 35r); numerous initials [2 ll.] of the same type for the various prayers and readings, but with very small spray extensions of gold balls with black bristles.


History note: Juan Soler, Bishop of Barcelona (1458-1464); François Denis Secousse (1691-1754), bibliophile (eighteenth century bookplate inside upper cover, with his arms and inscription in capitals below, Dionys. Franc. Secousse, Eques. in Paris. Curia Patron. et e Reg. Human. Litter. Acad.); sale of his library in 1755; Revd. J. C. Jackson; his sale, Sotheby’s, 13 Dec. 1895, lot 195; Frank McClean (1837-1904); his bequest, 1904.

Place(s) associated

  • Burgos ⪼ Spain

Acquisition and important dates

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


15th Century, third quarter#
Circa 1458 CE - Circa 1464 CE

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: Exorcismus salis
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 54
Primary reference Number: 178384
Project ID: 787
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 August 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) "Pontifical Offices" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-30 14:27:32

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