Salzinnes antiphonal – University of Copenhagen

CC18 > Programme > Thursday 14 April - Session A > Salzinnes antiphonal

Sherry Guild, Lynn Curry, Judith Dietz: The Salzinnes antiphonal: History and examination of a 16th century liturgical manuscript.

The Salzinnes Antiphonal is a 16th century liturgical manuscript from the collection of the Patrick Power Library, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Originating from the Abbey of Salzinnes in Namur, present day Belgium, the Salzinnes Antiphonal was commissioned by the former cantrix and prioress Dame Julienne de Glymes in 1554-1555. As a liturgical manuscript for devotional expression, the Salzinnes Antiphonal contains the chants associated with Divine Office. As a social document, it reveals a unique insight into the spiritual and cultural lives of the Cistercian nuns from the Abbey of Salzinnes, during a specific period in the European history of the Low Countries. As a historical document, containing multiple images of nuns, their corresponding inscriptions, the presentation of three separate religious orders and patrons' coats-of-arms; research has established the Salzinnes Antiphonal as a rare cultural and ecclesiastical treasure.

The manuscript consists of two volumes containing 240 parchment folios, bound together in a contemporary binding with leather and brass over wooden boards with evidence of previous binding repairs. The music and text are written in iron gall ink on parchment, with numerous foliated initials, six elaborate historiated initials and six vibrant full page illuminations. In 2007 the Salzinnes Antiphonal came to the Canadian Conservation Institute for technical examination to determine its condition and need for conservation treatment. The project was undertaken in collaboration and partnership with Library and Archives Canada, and in consultation with Judy Dietz, Associate Curator of European Historical Art at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

This paper will provide historical background information from the results of the manuscript's extensive research and present findings from the conservation examination of this extraordinary manuscript. Specifically, the presentation will include the manuscript's provenance and chronicle the story about how it was brought from Europe to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The conservation component of this presentation will present findings from the examination and condition reports for the folios, binding and the covers and subsequent results from the analysis of select pigments. The paper will also describe an in-house database which was created to collect and manage documentation of the folios.