Lot 87
  • 87

The Warburg Missal, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Germany, first half of the fourteenth century]

6,000 - 8,000 GBP
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  • Vellum
145 leaves, 360mm. by 260mm., mined for single leaves by Otto Ege while in his ownership and hitherto originally with 322 leaves, sheets of paper now marking the spaces left by each missing leaf, double column, 30-32 lines in dark brown ink in three heavy textualis hands, music in hufnagelschrift on a 4-line stave, capitals with ornamental penwork and touched in red, rubrics in red, one- to 2-line initials in red or blue (some with contrasting scrolling penwork), one large initial (fol.106r; 40mm. high) in blue and purple enclosing coloured foliage on a burnished gold ground (somewhat scuffed), large historiated initial 'B' (fol.62v; enclosing God the Father holding Christ on the Cross, on burnished gold ground) in pink on blue ground, within a gold frame with leafy shoots at its corners (some scuffing), some leaves discoloured with water splashes, some small stains, overall in sound condition, binding fragments from German fifteenth-century liturgical book now separate, early blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards (with skilful modern restoration), two clasps



1. Written and illuminated for the use of a priest and choir in a church in the diocese of Würzburg: SS. Kylian, Afra, the two Ewalds, Odalric, Menulf and Autbert in Calendar; and by 1682 in the use of the church of St. John in Warburg, 120 miles south-east of Würzburg: inscription on paper endleaf now glued to pastedown, "Hic liber ad usum Ecclesiae parochalis Sancti Johannis Baptistae renovatus est Warburgi anno [1]682. 9 Junii". A hand of the same date adds a note in Latin in the vertical space between the text-columns on fol.68v recording that in 1657 "more than 300 men of this diocese were possessed by the devil by the magical practice of certain prisoners".

2. Dr. Leander van Ess (1772-1847), who was baptised in the church of St. John in Warburg, and grew up in the town; published in his Sammlung und Verzeichniss Handschriftlicher Bücher, 1823, no.131.

3. Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872); his MS.516; acquired from van Ess; his sale in our rooms, 1 December 1947, lot 92.

4. Otto F. Ege (1888-1951), the self-described biblioclast, who removed many leaves from the volume; 177 still wanting (single leaves after fols.6, 11, 12, 24, 27, 28, 56, 65, 79, 84, two leaves after fols.64, 67, 136, three leaves after fols.23, 25, 61, 72, 78, 122, four leaves after fols.43, six leaves after fol.60, nine leaves after fol.70, ten leaves after fol.110, twelve leaves after fol.63, twenty-five leaves after fol.59, twenty-eight leaves after fol.77, and forty-six leaves after fol.4); they became no.22 in his portfolio Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts.

5. Bergendal MS.69; bought by Joseph Pope in two stages in our rooms, the main block on 11 December 1984, lot 52, followed by another 20 leaves on 26 November 1985, lot 62: Bergendal catalogue no.69; Stoneman, 'Guide', p.193; S. Gwara, Census of Medieval MSS. in South Carolina Collections, 2007, no.37.


Catalogue Note


The text of this large and imposing codex is prefaced by a complete Calendar (fol.1r), and includes parts of the Temporal from the second week of Lent (fol.5r) to the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost (fol.75r); followed by the Canon (fol.76r); and the Sanctoral from the Feasts of SS. Processus and Martinian, 2 July (fol.79v), to that of St. Nicholas, 6 December (fol.105v); ending with various masses and prayers.