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Gradual: MS Charles Fairfax Murray 5

Object information

Current Location: In storage






PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i modern parchment flyleaf + 300 fols. (old foliation in red and blue capitals, I – CCLXXXXIII, on fols. 3r - 294v) + i modern parchment flyleaf, 486 x 332 mm (350 x 240 mm), 7 four-line staves ruled in red ink, 7 text lines ruled in faint brown-black ink, catchwords

BINDING: Late nineteenth-century binding in medieval style by Roger de Coverly, brown leather over wooden boards, one metal corner piece with a boss and four metal corner pieces with bosses on both covers, two leather straps on lower cover, two metal pins on upper cover.

fol. 1r-1v Rubric of instructions to scribes and to singers, Blessing of salt and water and the Asperges
fol. 2r-2v Gloria tones
fols. 3r-202r Temporal from Advent Sunday to Last Sunday after Pentecost
fols. 202v-236v Sanctoral of select feasts from that of St Andrew (30 Nov.) to All Saints (1 Nov.)
fols. 237r-285r Common of the Saints
fols. 285r-286v Dedication of a Church
fols. 286v-290r Mass of the Dead
fols. 290r-291v Mass of the Holy Trinity
fols. 291v-294v Masses and Sequences of the Virgin Mary
fol. 294v Rubrics for Votive Masses
fols. 295r-300r Mass for Corpus Christi (addition)
fol. 300v Suffrage for St Augustine and St Monica (sixteenth-century addition)

DECORATION: Nineteen historiated initials for the introits of the Mass, most in gold, some with bar borders inhabited by birds, human figures and grotesques: fol. 3r First Sunday in Advent, [A, 24 ll.] Christ Redeemer appears to the prophets, the Virgin and St John the Baptist, with two prophets holding scrolls in top corners of frame, and, in the bottom corners, a seated Augustinian canon teaching three others on the left and three Augustinian canons singing at a lectern on the right, with partial border extensions supporting grotesques, a peacock, a seated woman and two seated Augustinians writing; fol. 19v Christmas Day, [P, 12 ll.] Nativity with the midwives washing the Child, with a small partial border extension with a shepherd, accompanied by a dog, pointing to the letter; fol. 24r St John the Evangelist, [I, 6 ll.] Three-quarter figure of St John the Evangelist; fol. 28v Epiphany, [E, 12 ll.] Adoration of the Magi; fol. 31r Sunday after Epiphany, [I, 6 ll.] Man holding a shield; fol. 49v First Sunday in Lent, [I, 6 ll.] Bust of a male figure pointing to the text; fol. 143v Easter Sunday, [R, 19 ll.] Descent into Hell, Holy Women at the Tomb; fol. 162v Ascension Day, [V, 12 ll.] Ascension with two busts of Augustinian canons at the top gesturing toward the ascending Christ; fol. 169r Pentecost, [S, 17 ll.] Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit, with a stork and seated man on the partial border extension; fol. 192v Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, [I, 6 ll.] Kneeling Augustinian canon; fol. 197r Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, [I, 8 ll.] Bust of a man; fol. 202v St Andrew, [D, 12 ll.] Christ calling Andrew and Peter from their boat on Galilee; fol. 224r Assumption, [G, 6 ll.] Musician playing a viol and a partial border containing a bust of an Augustinian canon holding a book; fol. 225v St Augustine, [I, 22 ll.] St Augustine as bishop in a golden chasuble flanked by two standing Augustinian canons and holding out a scroll extending below to a group of Augustinian canons, and another scroll extending to another group of Augustinians in a medallion on the border extension, with six medallions in the frame containing Christ, the Virgin and four Augustinians, with large partial border extensions containing two magpies and an Augustinian urging on a black and white dog toward a deer; fol. 229v Nativity of the Virgin Mary, [S, 12 ll.] Birth of the Virgin; fol. 235r All Saints, [G, 12 ll.] Christ seated surrounded by saints; fol. 237r Common of Apostles, [E, 12 ll.] Saints Peter and Paul standing; fol. 250v Common of Many Martyrs, [I, 6 ll.] Kneeling man; fol. 268v Common of Confessors, [I, 6 ll.] Bust of a man holding a shield; fol. 295r Corpus Christi, [C, 6 ll.] Priest elevating the Host at an altar.

ORNAMENTATION: Over 150 illuminated framed initials [6-7 ll.] for almost all the introits of lesser Sundays and feast days, with foliate stems and infill with palmettes and leaves in blue, orange, green, yellow-brown, pink with occasionally some gold (e.g. fols. 4v, 14v, 60v, 92v), some with small partial border extensions incorporating acanthus and other leaves with stems on which perch grotesques and occasional human figures (e.g. fol. 31r); alterante red and blue pen-flourished initials [3 ll.].


History note: Purchased in Pisa by Charles Fairfax Murray (1849 - 1919) in 1870, when the book was claimed to have come from Certaldo, an abbey of Augustinian canons in Tuscany (note by Sydney Cockerell dated 1918 and pasted inside upper cover); sold to Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833 - 1898), his bookplate inside upper cover; his sale Sotheby’s, London, 3 June 1902, lot 238; purchased again by Charles Fairfax Murray (1849 - 1919); his gift, 1905.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1905) by Murray, Charles Fairfax


14th Century, Early#
Circa 1300 CE - Circa 1320 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: [prin]cipio et nunc et semper
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS Charles Fairfax Murray 5
Primary reference Number: 182091
Project ID: 1182
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 20 May 2021 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Gradual" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-03-04 17:02:15

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{{cite web|url= |title=Gradual |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-03-04 17:02:15|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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