Features Videos

Buying a medieval manuscript leaf

Watch this video as Bridget Barbara visits the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair and buys a leaf from a fifteenth-century manuscript.

Bridget Barbara is the creator of The Curious World, a Youtube channel focusing on travel, history, and the unusual.


The manuscript folio she purchased was created around the year 1470 in northern Italy, and was once part of an antiphonal – a book of music that would be used in medieval masses. It was made on a sheet of vellum about 53 x 38 cm, and shows six lines of music with text underneath, and includes writings in blue and red. Bridget did further research and learned that it was music was from a religious chant which would have been sung during Matins on the second Sunday of Lent. The melody was likely composed before the end of the ninth century. If you know what the melody sounds like, please contact Bridget.

Photo courtesy Bridget Barbara

You can also follow Bridget and The Curious World on Instagram

Bridget plans on adding the leaf to Fragmentarium: Laboratory for Medieval Manuscript Fragments, a project that aims to catalogue and help assemble fragments from manuscripts dating back to the Middle Ages.

See also: Can we learn anything from a single manuscript leaf? 




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