Spanish-language inscriptions and annotations suggest this antiphoner’s origin and use in Spain, although no date or place of origin or use is recorded or known. Prior to arrival at the University of Sydney library in 2017, its most recent ownership was in northern Europe.
The volume has been part of a set, as indicated by the Spanish inscription on the inside front cover: “Tiene los Reyes y las os Libro .3. Bisperas” (It has the Kings [Epiphany] and the Os [O antiphons] Book 3 Vespers). The book’s presentation suggests its design to follow immediately from the previous book in the set.
The binding appears original, and the book is complete apart from the loss of one folio. Arabic numerals are employed for the foliation and are placed top right recto of each folio. This appears to be the original foliation. Gathering numbers remain visible at bottom right corner of many folios. Initials indicate hierarchy of chants with the two most important categories employing both red and blue ink; black initials often with yellow highlighting are also used. The book shows signs of use and wear, and folios have been repaired sometimes with the addition of patches taken from other manuscript pages (including some showing more modern musical notation).
On the middle of the verso side of the book’s final folio is a blank patch. Hidden beneath this pasted paper attachment is a colophon written in Spanish and probably dating from the time of copying of the book. The text refers to the involvement of two women in the book’s preparation. They, along with the unnamed scribe, ask to be remembered by the users of the book in their prayers.
Inventory and description by Kathleen Nelson, The University of Sydney.
Completed September 2019.
Nelson, K. "Seeking History and Identity for an Antiphonal (Fisher Library RB Add. Ms. 413)". In David Andrés Fernández and Jane Morlet Hardie (Eds.), Into the Diaspora: Essays on Medieval and Early Modern Liturgical Music Manuscripts at the University of Sydney, (pp. 147-183). Kitchener: The Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2020.