Sixteenth-Century Hybrid Volume with Decorated Manuscript Ritual and Printed Psalter

[Manuscript Ritual (Use of Carmelite Nuns) with printed Psalter].
[Belgium, ca. 1600].
Illuminated manuscript, ca. 1600, and one imprint, ca. 1500–1550, in a single volume. (BRMS 171)

Created for, and possibly by, Jacoba van Dycke, a Carmelite nun whose religious profession occurred on June 2, 1600 at the age of nineteen, this remarkable sixteenth-century hybrid volume comprises a liturgical manuscript and a printed psalter. The manuscript, alternating between Latin- and Dutch-language texts, represents additional hybrid aspects as it is decorated with illustrations excised from earlier Dutch manuscripts and precisely pasted onto several pages. These various decorative elements, removed from manuscripts originally created between circa 1450 and 1520 in the southern Netherlands, include more than one hundred and fifty gold initials, four illuminated borders, and four historiated initials. The exquisite border decoration also includes individual pasted pieces representing distinct flowers.

Although liturgical books for the Mass and the Office of the Dead were well-defined by the late medieval period, services for monastic profession, anointing of the sick, and death and burial could be found in several different types of liturgical manuscripts. The contents here, another hybrid aspect of this manuscript, include a monastic Ritual, with specific services for the entry into the convent and the profession, as well as prayers for Communion of the sick, Extreme Unction, The Litany, and other texts. An unidentified sixteenth-century printed psalter follows the manuscript portion of the book. This combination of both manuscript and print technology in a single volume is striking in many ways but is understandable in this instance. The printed section for the standard text of the Psalms, readily available in published form, is complemented here with specialized liturgical texts in manuscript specifically created for use in a particular convent and diocese.

Manuscripts in the Age of Print
Sixteenth-Century Hybrid Volume with Decorated Manuscript Ritual and Printed Psalter