Gradual (Palm Sunday)

Cover to upper and lower boards, and spine


Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. P 4.1

Ruth Mullett and Nigel F. Palmer, 2016

Remarks by the Editor:

Description by Ruth Mullett, Nigel F. Palmer, and Franziska Schnoor (November 2018). 

Summary: Bod-Inc. A-413. A single leaf from a Gradual employed by an early nineteenth-century German bookbinder as covering material for the upper and lower boards of an incunable printed in folio. Stained dark blue, rendering both text and music virtually illegible.

This is one of a group of seven fragments, all deriving from the same manuscript (see under Contents).

General Information

Date of Origin: 15th century

Script, Hands:

A late-medieval Textualis formata (Northern Textualis formata). 

Original Condition

Dimensions (Page Height): at least 520 mm

Dimensions (Page Width): at least 340 mm

Height of Written Area: at least 390 mm

Width of Written Area: at least 260 mm

Number of Lines: at least 9

Number of Columns: 1

Ruling: Ruled for a four-line stave.

More about the Condition:

Dimensions: The measurements of the dimensions of the leaf are approximate. 520 x 340 mm. Written area: 390 x 260 mm. Inner margin: 50 mm. Upper margin: 45 mm. Outer margin: 40 mm. Lower margin: 80 mm. Height of the stave: 22 mm.

Layout: The standard one-column layout for a Gradual designed for use in choir, with lines of text beneath a four-line stave, ruled in red, and employing gothic square notation for the music.  

Current Condition

More about the Current Condition:

Function in host volume: Covering material pasted to the upper and lower boards, and spine, of the host volume, evidently the work of the nineteenth-century German bookbinder c. 1830 discussed below.

Condition: Text and music are virtually indecipherable by the naked eye due to dark blue staining. Scratched. Fragment is aligned sideways in relation to the host volume. The fifth line of text, which was folded over the spine of the host volume, is rubbed away and lost.

Book Decoration


On this leaf the gradual and gradual verse are introduced by large initial letters (blue and red), without decoration but the full height of the line of text and stave. These occur throughout the fragments that we have identified from the Gradual, but the only decoration distinctive enough to permit an assessment of a possible dating is that pasted to the boards of Auct. 1Q inf. 1.51 (Bod-Inc. N-098), which has an illuminated initial N with Knospenfleuronnée infilling and pen-flourishing, as well as a pen-work scribal initial. Datable on the basis of the fleuronnée to c. 1450-75 (ex inf. Maria Theisen).


  • Content Item
    • Text Language: Latin
    • Title: Gradual (Palm Sunday)
    • Content Description:

      The fragment is taken from a large-format Gradual. Only one side of the fragment, most likely a recto, is visible, as the leaf remains pasted to the boards.

      (upper board) ‘||quisti Gr<aduale> Tenuisti manum dexteram meam | ... v<ersus> Quam bonus israhel| (lower board) [deus rectis cor]de mei autem ... zelaui in peccato|ribus pacem pec||’.  

      The last word of the introit (‘dereliquisti’ Ps 21:2), followed by the gradual and gradual verse from the Mass for Palm Sunday; CANTUS g00846 and g00847. See, for example, Missale ad usum Sarum, ed. Dickinson, cols 262-63; Missale Romanum Mediolani 1474, ed. Lippe, p. 135. For the music, compare Graduale Triplex, p. 133.  The last line of text on the upper board is lost, although the music is preserved.

      For our readings we have made use of images derived from hyperspectal data obtained by David Howell (Bodleian Libraries); see Additional Images. 

    • Remarks:

      This is one of a group of seven fragments, all deriving from the same manuscript, that were used by a nineteenth-century bookbinder for the bindings of the following volumes:

      Auct. O inf. 1.64 (Bod-Inc. C-346)    1 cutting                  Common of Virgin Martyrs

      Auct. P 4.1 (Bod-Inc. A-413)            1 leaf                       Palm Sunday

      Auct. 1Q 5.46 (Bod.-Inc. B-422[1])   2 cuttings and strip  Palm Sunday (procession before Mass)

      Auct. 1Q inf. 1.51 (Bod-Inc. N-098)  1 cutting                  Tuesday and Wed. of Holy Week

      Auct. 2Q 6.48 (Bod-Inc. B-90[2])      1 leaf                     Monday, 3rd week of Lent

      Auct. 4Q 6.76 (Bod-Inc. C-445)         1 cutting                 Ascension Day

      Auct. 6Q 3.26 (Bod-Inc. T-233)         1 leaf                      Trinity Sunday (?)

      With one exception, the fragments pasted to the boards are stained dark blue; for the exception, Auct. 2Q 6.48 (Bod-Inc. B-090[2] etc.), that has no staining and which thus alone is easily readable, see Additional Images. 





(Host volume) 

1. Würzburg Franciscans (inscription on sig. Ai recto).

2. Purchased by the Bodleian Library at Sotheby’s in London on 3 May 1832, lot 217.

Host Volume

Title: Aristotle's Physics.

Date of Origin/Publication: Printed c. 1492-5.

Place of Origin/Publication: Printed and bound in Germany.

Shelfmark: Auct. P 4.1


Information on host volume from Bod-Inc, vol. 1, p. 247 (Bod-Inc. A-413), with additions. 

A single incunable printed in chancery folio:

Aristoteles, Physica, trans. William of Moerbeke [Leipzig: Martin Landsberg, c. 1492-95]. (Bod-Inc. A-413; ISTC ia01020200; GW 2441). 90 fols. Extensive interlinear and marginal glosses in parts of the book.

Binding: A nineteenth-century pasteboard binding, probably c. 1830, the work of an unidentified German bookbinder who employed dark blue-stained manuscript leaves as covering material. Both upper and lower boards display the Bodleian’s gold-tooled engraved oval centrepiece with the coat-of-arms of the University.

Notes: This volume is one of twenty-one incunables that have been identified in the Bodleian collection whose boards are covered with the dark blue-stained manuscript leaves or cuttings characteristic of the abovementioned, as yet unidentified German bookbinder. This item is one of two such books acquired by the Bodleian in 1832, the other being a copy of Philelphus, Epistolae (c. 1500) formerly in the library of the Carmelites at Dinkelsbühl (Auct. 2Q 5.63 [Bod-Inc. P-269]; cf. Catalogue 3 May 1832 at Sotheby’s, lots 217 and 675). Auct. 1Q inf. 1.24 (Bod-Inc. V-125), of unknown provenance, was purchased in 1833. In 1837 seven incunables now in the Bodleian were offered for sale at Sotheby’s, all from the collection of a certain J. T. Hand, who signed many of his books (sometimes giving a date), only one with dark blue staining: Auct. 1Q inf. 1.50 (Bod-Inc. F-018A) ‘1834’; Auct. 1Q inf. 1.33 (Bod-Inc. W-014) ‘1835’; Auct. 2Q 6.11 (Bod-Inc. A-087) ‘1836’ (stained and dated). In addition to Auct. 2Q 6.11, the following items with dark blue-stained covers, not dated by Hand, were purchased at this sale by the Bodleian: Auct. 1Q inf. 1.49 (Bod-Inc. A-214); Auct. 1Q inf. 1.50 (Bod-Inc. F-018A); Auct. 1Q inf. 1.51 (Bod-Inc. N-098); and Auct. 2Q inf. 2.32 (B-127). The date of acquisition of Auct. 1Q 5.46 (Bod- Inc. B-422[1], from the library of the Würzburg Franciscans like Auct. P 4.1) and Auct. 1Q inf. 1.33 (Bod-Inc. W-014), both on offer at the 1837 sale, is not known for certain. Five further incunables with dark blue-stained covers were acquired by the Bodleian in 1840: Auct. O inf. 1.64 (Bod-Inc. C-346), Auct. 6Q 3.11 (Bod-Inc. G-101), Auct. 6Q 3.13 (Bod-Inc. A-142), Auct. 6Q 3.26 (Bod-Inc. T-233; formerly in the library of the Jesuits at Mindelheim), and Mason II 34 (Bod-Inc. M-210; formerly in the library of the Franciscans at Freiburg i. Br.). Auct. 1Q 5.57 (Bod-Inc. A-097[2]), which is listed in an 1840 Sotheby’s sale catalogue, may also have been acquired at this time. Auct. 2Q 6.64 (Bod-Inc. A-380) was purchased from an unknown source in 1842, Auct. 1Q 5.63 (Bod-Inc. B-422[2]) in 1843. Auct. 4Q 4.2 (Bod-Inc. A-603[1]) was in the possession of the collector N. H. Ellacombe in 1846, but did not come to the Bodleian until 1859. Auct. Q inf. 1.25 (Bod-Inc. A-423) was purchased at Quaritch’s in London in 1884, after previously having been in private ownership. Auct. 4Q 6.76 (Bod-Inc. C-445) was purchased at Quaritch’s in 1886. Finally, Auct. 4Q 3.7 (Bod-Inc. S-227) was purchased at an uncertain date in the second half of the nineteenth century, probably in the 1850s or 1860s.            

In addition to the dark blue-stained volumes, the library possesses at least five items with fragments on the book covers that passed through the hands of the same bookbinder, but without staining. A Sammelband of thirteen items Auct. 2Q 6.48 (Bod-Inc. B-090[2] etc., offered for sale by Thomas Thorpe in 1842, date of acquisition not known), is identifiable on the basis of a fragment of the same Gradual as Auct. P 4.1 (see above). Four incunables can be assigned to the group on the basis of fragments of the same Würzburg Missal as Auct. Q inf. 1.25 (for which see our forthcoming description) namely: RR.w.379 [RSL] (Bod-Inc. G-258, purchased by Richard Heber at Evans’ auction 6 February 1832, acquired at a later date by the Radcliffe Library, Oxford); Douce 128 (Bod-Inc. F-100, from the library of the Freiburg Capuchins, received with the Douce bequest in 1839); Auct. 1Q 7.56 (Bod-Inc. H-122[1], acquired in 1867); Don. e.425 (Bod-Inc. R-050, purchased in 1957). For acquisition details of all these items, with reference to sale catalogues and Bodleian records, see the descriptions in Bod-Inc.            

Many of these volumes passed through the hands of the private collector J. T. Hand, for whom see Bod-Inc., vol. 6, p. 2873, but in view of the fact that two items were purchased by the Bodleian as early as 1832 and 1833, already with their dark blue-stained bindings, and the evidence that it is not until 1834 that such books can be shown to have been acquired by J. T. Hand, it can safely be assumed that the twenty-six incunables with the work of this binder came on the market in or before 1832. Hand’s acquisitions must have been sold by the same book-dealer as the early purchases by the Bodleian. Whereas all but one of these volumes contain just a single incunable, many of them show the signs of having been extracted from a Sammelband, and it seems likely that the dismemberment and rebinding of these volumes, which may be presumed to have come onto the market in the context of the depredation of the southern German monastic libraries in the Napoleonic era, and after the dissolution of many of the monasteries, was undertaken to meet the needs of the book trade. Books from the Würzburg Franciscan library were sold at an anonymous sale in London on 8 February 1832 (whence, indirectly, two manuscripts in the Douce collection, MSS. Douce 58 and 133 came to the Bodleian; cf. Mairhofer, Medieval Manuscripts from Würzburg, pp. 89-119); further research into the dispersal of manuscripts and incunables from Würzburg in this period may shed light on the history of these books.         

Some of the items bound by the anonymous German bookbinder have nineteenth-century endleaves and pastedowns with watermarks that may provide clues to where he was working. Two of these watermarks can be traced back to papermills near Fulda. The watermark ‘AUFENAU WS’ in Auct. 6Q 3.13 (Bod-Inc. A-142) very probably refers to the papermaker Wilhelm Schönecker who bought the papermill near Aufenau on the river Kinzig in 1825 and can be traced there until 1836. Aufenau is situated in southern Hesse, about forty kilometres south-west of Fulda. See von Hößle, ‘Bayerische Papiergeschichte, Nr. 123’. The watermark ‘FRIEDRICHSTHA| J BAUS’ in Auct. 1Q inf. 1.51 (Bod-Inc. N-098) and Auct. 4Q 6.76 (Bod-Inc. C-445) most likely refers to a papermaker of the name of Baus at the papermill Oberbach-Neufriedrichsthal on the river Sinn. The papermill was situated between Oberbach and Riedenberg in northern Bavaria, about twenty-five kilometres north-west of Bad Kissingen and about thirty kilometres south-east of Fulda. No exact dates for his activity are known, but since Baus’ eldest son took over the mill in 1858, it can safely be assumed that Baus sr. owned it around 1830. See von Hößle, ‘Alte Papiermühlen der hessischen Länder’.

Some of the dark blue-stained bindings employ fragments derived from the same manuscripts for the covers. For the group of eight fragments from the same fifteenth-century Gradual, see above under Contents. For two volumes whose boards are covered with leaves from the same thirteenth-century Peter Lombard manuscript, see our forthcoming description of Auct. 1Q 5.57 (Bod-Inc. A-097[2]), with reference to Auct. 2Q inf. 2.32 (Bod-Inc. B-127). Three volumes, Don e.425 (Bod-Inc. R-050), Douce 128 (Bod-Inc. F-100), and RR.w.379 [RSL] (Bod-Inc. G-258), all make use of vertical strips from the same thirteenth-century Glossa ordinaria manuscript as covering for the spine (see also below for Cambridge University Library, Inc.4.A.10.4[4626]). The largest group, however, consists of eleven volumes (as well as a narrow strip pasted to the spine of Auct. 2Q inf. 2.32 [Bod-Inc. B-127]) where the binding fragments are taken from a parchment Missal for the use of the diocese of Würzburg, probably copied towards the end of the fifteenth century and very closely related, in content, letter forms and format to the printed Missale Herbipolense, editions of which were printed repeatedly between c. 1481 and 1503 in the Würzburg workshop of Georg Reyser, for which see Engelhart, ‘Die frühesten Druckausgaben’ (2001); for full details, see our description of Auct. Q inf. 1.25 (Bod-Inc. A-423). For a further leaf from the Missal, see below under Princeton University Library.

We have identified a number of incunable bindings in other collections with similar dark blue-stained manuscript fragments over pasteboard, which are likely to be the work of the same binder:

Cambridge, University Library: Inc.3.A.4.10[535] Johannes de Turrecremata, [Basel: Johannes Solidi], c.1473-1474, ISTC it00537000; GW M48254; Inc.3.A.4.25[4558] Gerardus de Monte, Cologne: Theodoricus Molner, c.1485, ISTC ig00169000; GW 10682 (provenance: J. Salkeld sale, London, March 1865; Arthur Dillon, 12th Viscount Dillon; H.J. Chaytor); Inc.4.A.10.4[4626] Tenor fraternitatis de memoria mortis, Ulm: Johann Reger, 28. Sept. 1491, ISTC it00056000; GW 10316 (acquired from R.W. Lamb, bookseller of Lowestoft, in July 1992), with a complete leaf of the abovementioned Glossa ordinaria manuscript, unusually for this bookbinder pasted over wooden boards; Inc.5.A.4.15[583] Johannes Nider, Cologne: Conrad Winters, 17 March-20 Sept. 1479, ISTC in00181000; GW M26879 (provenance: Ottobeuren 1622; Sotheby’s, London, July 1891); Inc.5.E.4.1[2907] Johannes de Garlandia, Deventer: Richardus Pafraet, 1483-85, ISTC ig00074900; GW M13683 (provenance: R. Heber sale, London 1835; Britwell Court; Sotheby’s, London, August 1917). (Ex inf. William Hale, Laura Nuvoloni, and Ed Potten).

Oxford, Worcester College: LRC. 2.19 (formerly YC. 730), Horae ad usum Romanum (fragment containing the Office of the Dead), Paris: Philippe Pigouchet for Simon Vostre, c.1496-7, cf. ISTC ih00380495/500; GW 13189-90 (provenance: Heidenheim; acquired by Worcester College before 1911). (Ex inf. Geri Della Rocca de Candal and Mark Bainbridge).

Princeton University Library, Scheide Library: Adolphus Episcopus Moguntinus, Strassburg: [Printer of Henricus Ariminensis: H. Eggestein, c.1472-3], ISTC ia00053570; GW M27683 (provenance: Joseph Mendham, 1769-1856; Sotheby’s, London, June 2013), employing a fragment from the abovementioned Würzburg Missal. (Ex inf. Paul Needham).


  • Bod-Inc. Alan Coates et al., A Catalogue of Books printed in the Fifteenth Century now in the Bodleian Library, 6 vols (Oxford, 2005). Vol. 1, p. 247 (A-413).

  • CANTUS: <> [accessed 26 August 2017].

  • Catalogue of a Very Rare and Interesting Collection of Books, Consigned from Germany, Sotheby and Son, Wellington Street, Strand, Thursday, May 3, and two following days, [London] 1832.

  • Engelhart, Helmut, ‘Die frühesten Druckausgaben des Missale Herbipolense (1481-1503). Ein Beitrag zu einem “Census” der liturgischen Drucke aus der Offizin Georg Reysers in Würzburg’, Würzburger Diözesangeschichtsblätter, 62/3 (2001), pp. 69-174.

  • Graduale Triplex seu Graduale Romanum Pauli PP. VI [...], Solesmes 1979.

  • Hößle, Friedrich von, ‘Alte Papiermühlen der hessischen Länder. Die Papiermühle bei Aufenau (Kreis Orb)’, Der Papier-Fabrikant, 26 (1928), p. 798.

  • Hößle, Friedrich von, ‘Bayerische Papiergeschichte, Nr. 123. Papiermühle Oberbach-Neufriedrichsthal’, Der Papier-Fabrikant, 23 (1925), p. 674.

  • Mairhofer, Daniela, Medieval Manuscripts from Würzburg in the Bodleian Library, Oxford: A Descriptive Catalogue, Oxford 2014, pp. 89-119.

  • Missale ad usum insignis et præsignis ecclesiæ Sarum, ed. Franciscus Henricus Dickinson (Burntisland, 1861-1883; repr. Farnborough, 1969).

  • Missale Romanum Mediolani, 1474, ed. Robert Lippe, Henry Bradshaw Society 17, 33 (London, 1899, 1907).