"Initial R., historiated, a skeleton. Italian, late 14th century, on vellum, with inks, tempera and gold leaf. 530x315 mm. Written surface 396x242 mm. One leaf, with musical notation on four-line, red ink drawn, staves. The fragment, from a Gradual, is framed and glued on a board.
Contents. The fragment has been described by Elizabeth Leesti in Liturgical Manuscripts (p.35, no 7). It begins with the Introit for the Mass of the Dead: "Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine", and proceeds with Psalm 64:2 "Te decet hymnus Deus...".
Decoration The large historiated initial is the first letter of the word Requiem and contains the figure of a skeleton, standing against a blue ground, decorated with white hair-line scrolls. The initial lies on a square with gold leaf contour. A two-quarter foliated, multicolored border occupies the left and lower margin. Red, green, blue and beige predominate, while a large number of bezants, single or in triads, with short gold/brown comet tails extending from them, border the foliated composition. The top of the border enters the upper margin and ends as the head of a woman with braided hair, in profile. At the bottom sits a male child, naked and seen from behind. The letter T, first letter of the Psalm, has in its left the profile of a bearded man, drawn in brown ink."
(Holland, Anne Marie, compiler. "MS Medieval 64." Long Descriptions Ms Medieval Manuscript Antiphonals, Missals and Graduals. Digitization and Cataloguing Project- Antiphonals, Missals and Gradual. Updated December 6, 2018), 16.