Leaf from a Breviary

Medieval (Gothic)
late 13th century

Place of Manufacture: Europe, France


Overall (page dimensions): 20 x 13.8 cm (7 7/8 x 5 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tempera, ink, and gold on parchment

Not On View





One of three codicologically unrelated leaves from a breviary, a liturgical book comprising hymns, psalms, readings, anthems, and other prayers for the reading of the Daily Office.

2 columns of 28 text lines or 9 staves in Latin. Bounding lines very light plummet, full length to upper edge. Heightened notation (puncta and virga only) on a four-line black staff, C-clef indicated, F-line in red.

Written in a Gothic bookhand in black ink with red rubrics. One-staff or one-line initials throughout in red with blue filigree or vice versa. Two 6-line foliate initials in gold and colors with bars into margins, with grotesques and birds in colors. 15.299 recto: seven-line initial [E] in colors with bars into upper, inner and lower margins in colors and gold with grotesques and birds, historiated with King David seated playing hanging bells.


Prior to 1915, with Quaritch [see note 1]; sold by Quaritch through Edward Waldo Forbes (1873 - 1969) and purchased by Dr. Denman Waldo Ross (1853 - 1935), Cambridge, MA [see note 2]; 1915, gift of Denman Waldo Ross. (Accession date: March 4, 1915)

[1] Most probably, Bernard Quaritch (1819-1899), a bookseller and collector in London, England. He founded his company, Bernard Quaritch, Ltd., in 1847. Following his death in 1899, the company was inherited by his son. [2] Forbes was the Director of the Fogg Museum at Harvard University. In addition to MFA leaves 15.300 and 15.301, he also owned two other leaves from the same manuscript.

Credit Line

Denman Waldo Ross Collection