A Hand-Coloured Missal from 1620

The age of the printing press effectively put an end to colourful missal art for all intents and purposes, but on occasion we find some enterprising person who took the time either to work up a book with medieval style illumination or, as in this case, would take the time and effort to further beautify a printed missal by hand-colouring the monochromatic engravings.  

This particular missal was published in Antwerp in 1626 and was bound in a red velvet cover with decorative silver filigree.  When someone set about to hand colour the plate art is not precisely known, but I think you will agree the end result is beautiful. 

The iconic Canon Missae page includes the usual crucifixion plate, though with the additional inclusion of an angel containing the Precious Blood within a Eucharistic vessel. On the accompanying page we find various scenes of the Passion in the border art.

The Proper of the Mass includes an image of the Annuncation paired with border art on the facing page showing the genealogy of Christ via the Tree of Jesse. 

The Feast of the Nativity features a full page plate of the Shepherds adoring the Christ Child. On the facing page we find images of the Four Evangelists, St. Joseph and Our Lady seeking shelter at the Inn, the Adoration of Shepherds and Magi and the Nativity itself. 

The Feast of Epiphany includes a scene of the Magi presenting their gifts to the Christ Child. The facing page includes scenes of Flight into Egypt, the Magi visiting Herod and following the Star of Bethlehem, the Baptism of Christ and the Massacre of  Innocents.

The feast of Corpus Christi includes a scene of the Last Supper with the facing page showing various typological scenes of the Eucharist such as Melchizidek's offering of bread, Manna falling from heaven, the Sacrifice of Cain and Abel, the Sacrifice of Issac and others.

Easter is depicted in a plate showing the Resurrection of Christ, while the facing page shows Christ meeting the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the risen Christ appearing to the Magdelene and to Our Lady, the women at the empty tomb, Ss. John and Peter at the empty tomb, and St. Thomas putting his fingers in the wound on Christ's side. 

The feast of the Ascension includes a full page plate of the Ascension of Christ while the border art on the facing page includes Christ giving St. Peter the Keys, the risen Christ appearing to the apostles, Christ appearing to the apostles at the sea of Galilee and the Transfiguration.

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