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← search The St. Francis Missal W.75
Manuscript Overview
References
Bindings & Oddities

Abstract

Known today as the St. Francis Missal, this manuscript is traditionally believed to be the very book consulted by St. Francis and his companions in 1208. According to early accounts, St. Francis and two followers were debating what God’s plan for them might be. Unable to decide, they sought answers at the church of San Nicolò in Assisi, which Francis often attended. They opened the Missal, which sat on the altar, three times at random and in every case, the text on the page urged renouncing earthly goods. This pivotal moment laid the foundation for the Franciscan order. An inscription in the book on fol. 166r lends support to the legend that surrounds it, for it documents the Missal's creation for the church of San Nicolò, and also mentions the book's patron, Gerard of Ugo, who is documented in Assisi in the late 12th century. Due to its possible contact with the saint, Franciscans worldwide consider it to be a relic of touch, and every year many make pilgrimages to Baltimore to be in its presence. The manuscript underwent intensive conservation from 2017-2019, a special project made possible by the Mellon Foundation.

Hand note

Written in a second hand

Decoration Note

One full-page miniature of Crucifixion doubling as "T" initial, two large half- to full-page illuminated initials, and nine decorated initials (six are figurative, averaging 9-12 lines) in pigments including orpiment, ultramarine, and some very oxidized silver; initials throughout in alternating red and blue (1-2 lines); rubrics in red; text in dark brown to black ink

Contributors

Principal cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Cataloger: Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Contributor: Damon, Elena

Contributor: Emery, Doug

Contributor: Herbert, Lynley

Conservator: Magee, Cathie

Conservator: Quandt, Abigail

Bibliography

Faloci-Pulignani, Michele. "Il messale consultato da S. Francesco quando si convertì," Miscellanea Francescana, 15 (1914): 33-43.


De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935.


Brunacci, Aldo. "From These Pages," Messenger of St. Anthony (Padua, October, 1978): 16-19.


Perseghin, Gerard A. "Prime Candidate for Assisi Missal at Hand," The Catholic Review, December 25, 1981.


Porter, Vicki. "Brother Book?". 35 No. 2. The Walters Art Gallery Bulletin. March/April, 1982:1-2.


Voorvelt, G. C. P. and Van Leeuwen, B. P., “L'Evangéliaire de Baltimore: Étude critique sur le missel que saint Françoise aurait consulté,” Collectanea Franciscana 59 (1989): 261-321.


Niemier, Roch, O.F.M. Franciscan Life, Day One: 800 Years 1209-2009: Reflections on the Missal of San Nicolo. Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs, Inc., 2008.


Thompson, Augustine, O.P. Francis of Assisi: The Life. Cornell University Press, 2013, p. 26


Herbert, Lynley Anne. "A Curator’s Note: The Tarnished Reception of Remarkable Manuscripts," in Illuminating Metalwork: Metal, Object, and Image in Medieval Manuscripts, edited by Joseph Ackley and Shannon L. Wearing. De Gruyter, 2020.


These are pages that we pulled aside that disrupted the flow of the manuscript reader. These may be bindings, inserts, bookmarks, and various other oddities.

Upper board outside

stub 115bisr

stub 115bisv

stub 116bisr

stub 116bisv

stub 130bisr

stub 130bisv

stub 140bisr

stub 140bisv

stub 278bisr

stub 278bisv

Lower board outside

Spine

Fore-edge

Head

Tail

Dealer note

Keywords
Missal
Christian
Italian
Colophon
Inhabited initial
Miniature
Notable binding
Ornament
Painting
Romanesque
Italy
12th century
13th century
Devotion
Liturgy
Scripture
Gothic
Medallion

Origin Place

Umbria, Italy

Date

Ca. 1200 CE

Form

book

Binding

Non-original Binding

Binding Description

Rebound in fifteenth century in simple monastic style, with beech wood boards partially covered with leather; later infestation of wood-boring insects caused severe weakening that led to the eventual cracking of the boards; during 19th-century restoration, the old leather cover was replaced with one of a poor quality sheepskin leather, which rapidly deteriorated quickly; from 2016-2018 Mellon Fellow and book conservator Cathie Magee took the book completely apart to stabilize all components, injecting a modern stable adhesive into the insect holes and rebuilding losses in the boards with epoxy; thick deposits of glue were cleaned off the spine folds, and holes and tears in the parchment were mended with Asian paper Once this work was completed, Magee reassembled the gatherings (groups of pages) and sewed them onto four double linen cords using a traditional techniques and a sewing frame, as seen on the right. New linen end bands were sewn onto the text block, and the boards were reattached. Finally, the binding was covered with new goatskin leather, leaving much of the boards exposed as before.

Language

The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Provenance

Created for the Church of San Nicolò, Assisi, late twelfth or early thirteenth century, likely under the patronage of Gerard of Ugo

Joseph Baer, book dealer, Frankfurt, Germany; listed with photograph of fol. 166v in catalogs of 1905, 1912, and 1924

Gruel firm, Paris, ca. 1924

Henry Walters, Baltimore, acquired from Paul Gruel ca. 1924

Acquisition

Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest

← search The St. Francis Missal W.75

Origin Place

Umbria, Italy

Date

Ca. 1200 CE

Form

book

Language

The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Provenance

Created for the Church of San Nicolò, Assisi, late twelfth or early thirteenth century, likely under the patronage of Gerard of Ugo

Joseph Baer, book dealer, Frankfurt, Germany; listed with photograph of fol. 166v in catalogs of 1905, 1912, and 1924

Gruel firm, Paris, ca. 1924

Henry Walters, Baltimore, acquired from Paul Gruel ca. 1924

Acquisition

Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest

Manuscript Overview

Abstract

Known today as the St. Francis Missal, this manuscript is traditionally believed to be the very book consulted by St. Francis and his companions in 1208. According to early accounts, St. Francis and two followers were debating what God’s plan for them might be. Unable to decide, they sought answers at the church of San Nicolò in Assisi, which Francis often attended. They opened the Missal, which sat on the altar, three times at random and in every case, the text on the page urged renouncing earthly goods. This pivotal moment laid the foundation for the Franciscan order. An inscription in the book on fol. 166r lends support to the legend that surrounds it, for it documents the Missal's creation for the church of San Nicolò, and also mentions the book's patron, Gerard of Ugo, who is documented in Assisi in the late 12th century. Due to its possible contact with the saint, Franciscans worldwide consider it to be a relic of touch, and every year many make pilgrimages to Baltimore to be in its presence. The manuscript underwent intensive conservation from 2017-2019, a special project made possible by the Mellon Foundation.

Hand note

Written in a second hand

Decoration Note

One full-page miniature of Crucifixion doubling as "T" initial, two large half- to full-page illuminated initials, and nine decorated initials (six are figurative, averaging 9-12 lines) in pigments including orpiment, ultramarine, and some very oxidized silver; initials throughout in alternating red and blue (1-2 lines); rubrics in red; text in dark brown to black ink

References

Contributors

Principal cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Cataloger: Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Contributor: Damon, Elena

Contributor: Emery, Doug

Contributor: Herbert, Lynley

Conservator: Magee, Cathie

Conservator: Quandt, Abigail

Bibliography

Faloci-Pulignani, Michele. "Il messale consultato da S. Francesco quando si convertì," Miscellanea Francescana, 15 (1914): 33-43.


De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935.


Brunacci, Aldo. "From These Pages," Messenger of St. Anthony (Padua, October, 1978): 16-19.


Perseghin, Gerard A. "Prime Candidate for Assisi Missal at Hand," The Catholic Review, December 25, 1981.


Porter, Vicki. "Brother Book?". 35 No. 2. The Walters Art Gallery Bulletin. March/April, 1982:1-2.


Voorvelt, G. C. P. and Van Leeuwen, B. P., “L'Evangéliaire de Baltimore: Étude critique sur le missel que saint Françoise aurait consulté,” Collectanea Franciscana 59 (1989): 261-321.


Niemier, Roch, O.F.M. Franciscan Life, Day One: 800 Years 1209-2009: Reflections on the Missal of San Nicolo. Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs, Inc., 2008.


Thompson, Augustine, O.P. Francis of Assisi: The Life. Cornell University Press, 2013, p. 26


Herbert, Lynley Anne. "A Curator’s Note: The Tarnished Reception of Remarkable Manuscripts," in Illuminating Metalwork: Metal, Object, and Image in Medieval Manuscripts, edited by Joseph Ackley and Shannon L. Wearing. De Gruyter, 2020.


Bindings & Oddities

These are pages that we pulled aside that disrupted the flow of the manuscript reader. These may be bindings, inserts, bookmarks, and various other oddities.

Upper board outside

stub 115bisr

stub 115bisv

stub 116bisr

stub 116bisv

stub 130bisr

stub 130bisv

stub 140bisr

stub 140bisv

stub 278bisr

stub 278bisv

Lower board outside

Spine

Fore-edge

Head

Tail

Dealer note

Keywords
Missal
Christian
Italian
Colophon
Inhabited initial
Miniature
Notable binding
Ornament
Painting
Romanesque
Italy
12th century
13th century
Devotion
Liturgy
Scripture
Gothic
Medallion
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