LARGE FOLIO ANTIPHONAL, 1600, WITH MANY LOVELY HISTORIATED INITIALS IN PERIOD BINDING
ANTIPHONAL. Spanish antiphonal. Spain, 1600. Elephant folio (15 by 22-1/2 inches), original full brown calf over original wood boards, original metal furniture.
Very striking example of Spanish Church antiphonal, penned in 1600 during the Bishopric of Don Francisco de Reynoso in the city of Cordova for use in the church in the town of Cabra. In original binding retaining metal furniture, with historiated initials and musical staves and text on 199 vellum leaves.
Antiphonal singing, the singing of Roman Catholic liturgical music, chant melodies and text by two alternating choirs, was introduced into the West in the 4th-century by St. Ambrose. "Books with wooden boards were heavy and were given bosses and skids to protect the covering material from damage when the books were placed flat on wooden desks or shelves" (Fine and Historic Bookbindings, 161). The use of metal furniture was reduced after 1500 as book production increased, but throughout the 17th-century important books and manuscripts, such as religious texts, continued to be bound in this particular style for prominent display and use. On the first leaf is text in Spanish noting that the book was produced in 1600 during the bishopric of Don Francisco de Reynoso in the city of Cordova (Reynoso was bishop of Cordova from 1597 to his death in 1601) for use in the church in the town of Cabra (about 45 miles from Cordova) during Mass and Vespers. Owner signatures and notations on front pastedown.
Expected soiling and wear to leaves, with early restoration to vellum extremities, tear with loss to leaf 121; occasional later text and notes on some leaves replacing earlier erasures, a few with simple illuminations to initials. Contemporary binding with expected wear, particularly to spine ends; protective leather straps present on three of the raised bands, one attached only at one end. A wonderful early antiphonal.