A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Douce 272

Summary Catalogue no.: 21846

Psalter with Antiphons, Dominican Use; Italy, Brescia, 15th century, third quarter (after 1455, but before 1461 (?))


Dominican Psalter with antiphons

Fol. i is a paper fly-leaf, blank apart from post-medieval notes (see ‘Provenance’).

[item 1 occupies quires I–II]

1. (fols. ii recto–vii verso)

Dominican calendar, laid out one month per page, written in red and black, approximately half full, graded to ‘memoria’, 3 lessons, ‘simplex’, ‘duplex’ and ‘totum duplex’. The following feasts are in red and graded as ‘totum duplex’: the dedication of the church of St Catherine, Brescia (‘Dedicatio ecclesie sancte ke’, 20 October), Catherine of Alexandria (25 November), Dominic (‘beati dominici patris nostri’, 6 August) and his translation (24 May), Apollonius, bishop of Brescia (7 July), Faustinus and Jovita, patron saints of Brescia (15 February), Vincent Ferrer (5 April), Peter of Verona (29 April) and his translation (7 May). Each month is headed by a note on the length of the solar and lunar month, e.g. ‘Ianuarius habet dies xxxi luna xxx’.

[item 2 occupies quire III]

2. (fols. viii recto–ix verso)

Fol. viii recto is ruled but blank; fol. viii verso contains added cues for antiphons with music (square notation on staves of four red lines) and detailed rubrics. Fol. ix recto–verso is ruled but blank.

[items 3–11 occupy quires IV–XXIII]

3. (fols. 1r–119r)

Psalms 1–150, in the biblical order, laid out as prose, without titles or numbers (‘Incipit psalterium secundum ordinem fratrum predicatorum’). Punctuated throughout with punctus flexus used to mark the minor pauses, colon used to mark metrum and punctus used to mark the ends of verses. Psalms are accompanied by antiphons, versicles and invitatoria with music (square notation on staves of four red lines) and short rubrics (more detailed rubrics with references to secular use appear only in psalm 118). The text contains corrections (additions of originally omitted verses, dittography cancelled by underdotting, etc.) in a contemporary hand (e.g. fols. 5r, 10r, 18r, etc.). There are textual divisions at psalms 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97, 109 and 119 (see ‘Decoration’). Subdivisions within psalms are not indicated, apart from psalm 118, subdivided into twenty-two 8-verse units; larger initials mark sections appointed to be recited first at Terce, Sext and None in secular use (118: 33, 118: 81, 118: 129) (see ‘Decoration’). Note ‘Finis Psalterij’ in the margin at the end of the last psalm, perhaps by Douce (fol. 119r).

4. (fol. 119r–v)

Benedicite omnia opera without a title.

5. (fols. 119v–125v)

Weekly canticles, without titles:

  • (1) Confitebor tibi domine (Isaiah 12);
  • (2) Ego dixi (Isaiah 38: 10–21);
  • (3) Exultavit cor meum (1 Samuel 2: 1–11);
  • (4) Cantemus domino (Exodus 15: 1–20);
  • (5) Domine audivi (Habakkuk 3);
  • (6) Audite caeli (Deuteronomy 32: 1–44).

6. (fols. 125v–128v)

Daily canticles, prayers and creeds, without titles:

  • (1) Magnificat (fol. 125v);
  • (2) Benedictus dominus deus (fol. 126r);
  • (3) Nunc dimittis (fol. 126v);
  • (4) Athanasian Creed (Quicumque uult ... ) (fol. 126v);
  • (5) Apostles’ Creed (Credo in deum ... ) (fol. 128v).

7. (fols. 128v–130v)

Litany, including Dominic and Francis among the confessors, Peter (of Verona (?)) among the martyrs and Catherine (of Alexandria (?)) among the virgins. The litany is somewhat shorter than in MS. Douce 191 (see ‘Provenance’), and does not include Faustinus and Jovita or Catherine of Siena.

8. (fols. 130v–133r)

Te deum laudamus with music. Fol. 133v is ruled, otherwise blank.

9. (fols. 134r–178r)

Hymnal with detailed rubrics and music for the first strophe of most hymns (square notation on staves of four red lines).

Comprises hymns for the year from Advent to Pentecost, followed by the hymns for feasts and saints’ days, including Thomas Aquinas, Peter of Verona, Dominic, Augustine, Remigius and Catherine of Alexandria, followed by hymns for the Common of Saints (‘in festo unius martyris’, ‘in festo simplici plurimorum martyrum’, ‘in festo trium lectorum’, etc.). Some hymns are represented only by their opening words, too short to assign a Chevalier number. Conditor alme (Chevalier, no. 3733), Uerbum supernum prodiens a patre (Chevalier, no. 29391), Uox clara ecce intonat (Chevalier, no. 22199), Ueni redempto gentium (Chevalier, no. 21243), Christe redemptor omnium ex patre (Chevalier, no. 2960), A solis ortu usque cardine (Chevalier, no. 26), Hostis herodes impie (Chevalier, no. 8073), A patre unigenitus (Chevalier, no. 14), O lux beata trinitas (Chevalier, no. 13150), Te lucis ante terminum (Chevalier, no. 20138), Nocte surgentes uigilemus (Chevalier, no. 12035), Ecce iam noctis tenuatur (Chevalier, no. 5129), Iam lucis orto sydere (Chevalier, no. 9272), Nunc sancte nobis spiritus (Chevalier, no. 12586), Rector potens uerax deus (Chevalier, no. 17061), Rerum deus tenax uigor (Chevalier, no. 17328), Lucis creator optime (Chevalier, no. 1068), Nocte surgentes uigilemus (opening lines with music), Iam lucis orto sydere (opening lines with music), Lucis creator optime (opening lines with music), Audi benigne conditor (Chevalier, no. 1449), Christe qui lux es et dies (Chevalier, no. 2934), Summi largitor premij spes (Chevalier, no. 19716), Iam christe sol iusticie (Chevalier, no. 9205), Uexilla Regis (Chevalier, no. 21481), Pange lingua gloriosi prelium (Chevalier, no. 14481), Lustra sex qui iam peracta (Chevalier, no. 10763), Ad cenam agni prouidi (Chevalier, no. 110), Iesu nostra redemptio (Chevalier, no. 9582), Aurora lucis rutilat (Chevalier, no. 1644), Sermone blando angelus (Chevalier, no. 18831), Iam lucis orto sydere (opening lines with music), Eterne rex altissime (Chevalier, no. 654), Tu christe nostrum gaudium (Chevalier, no. 20530), Beata nobis gaudia (Chevalier, no. 2339), Iam christus astra (Chevalier, no. 9215), Ueni creator spiritus (Chevalier, no. 21204), Adesto sancta trinitas (Chevalier, no. 487), O trinitas laudabilis (Chevalier, no. 13829), Pange lingua gloriosi corporis (Chevalier, no. 14467), Sacris solemnis (Chevalier, no. 17713), Uerbum supernum prodiens nec patris (Chevalier, no. 21398), Urbs beata yerusalem dicta pacis (Chevalier, no. 20918), Angulare fundamentum (Chevalier, no. 1081), Que vox que poterit (opening words of two stanzas from Sanctorum meritis inclyta gaudia with music, Chevalier, no. 18607), Caterua matrum personat (a stanza from A solis ortus cardine, Chevalier, no. 26); Doctor egregie paule mores (Chevalier, no. 4791), Eterna christi munera apostolorum (opening lines with music, Chevalier, no. 590), Aue maris stella (Chevalier, no. 1889), Quem terra pontus ethera (Chevalier, no. 16347), O gloriosa domina excelsa (Chevalier, no. 13042), Iam bone pastor petre Clemens (Chevalier, no. 9196), Exultet mentis iubilo laudans turba (Chevalier, no. 5873), Thomas insignis genere (Chevalier, no. 20428), Lauda mater ecclesia thome (Chevalier, no. 10213), Superna mater inclita (Chevalier, no. 19812), Iubar celorum prodiens (Chevalier, no. 9781), Aurora pulcra rutilans (Chevalier, no. 1655), Magne dies leticie nobis illuxit celitus petrus (Chevalier, no. 10942), Adest triumphus nobilis festumque (Chevalier, no. 435), Exultet claro sydere (Chevalier, no. 5815), Salue crux sancta (Chevalier, no. 17875), Originale crimen necans (Chevalier, no. 14281), Eterne regi glorie (Chevalier, no. 629), Lauda fidelis contio spine (Chevalier, no. 10204), Ut queant laxis resonare (Chevalier, no. 21039), Aurea luce et decore (Chevalier, no. 1596), Oliue bine pietatis unice (Chevalier, no. 14034), Lauda mater ecclesia lauda christi clementiam (Chevalier, no. 10210), Eterni patris unice nos pio uultu respice (Chevalier, no. 667), Gaude mater ecclesia letam agens memoriam (Chevalier, no. 6852), Nouus athelta domini collaudatur (Chevalier, no. 12389), Hymnum noue leticie (Chevalier, no. 8285), Magne pater augustine preces nostras suscipe (Chevalier, no. 10868), Celi ciues applaudite (Chevalier, no. 3471), Tibi christe splendor (Chevalier, no. 20455), Christe sanctorum decus (Chevalier, no. 3000), Iste confessor domini sacratus sobrius (Chevalier, no. 9140), Yhesu saluator seculi redemptis (Chevalier, no. 9677), Christe redemptor omnium conserua tuos famulos (Chevalier, no. 2959), Katerine collaudemus uirtutum insignia (Chevalier, no. 2693), Pange lingua gloriose uirginis martirium (Chevalier, no. 14457), Presens dies expandatur (Chevalier, no. 15310), Exultet celum laudibus (Chevalier, no. 5832), Eterna christi munera apostolorum gloriam (Chevalier, no. 590), Deus tuorum militum (Chevalier, no. 4534), Martir dei qui unicum patris (Chevalier, no. 11228), Sanctorum meritis inclita gaudia (opening lines with music ‘in festo trium lectorum’ of Chevalier, no. 18607), Eterna christi munera et martirum uictorias (Chevalier, no. 598), Iste confessor domini sacratus festa plebs (opening lines with music ‘in festo simplici’ of Chevalier, no. 9136), Yhesu redemptor omnium corona confitentium (Chevalier, no. 9620), Uirginis proles opifexque matris (Chevalier, no. 21703), followed by two unfilled staves and Laudemus christi gratiam confessorum constantiam (Chevalier, no. 10289). The opening lines of Iam lucis orto sydere (Chevalier, no. 9272) with music for different types of feasts on fols. 176v–177v. The opening lines of Ave maris stella, Qvem terra pontus ethera, O gloriosa domina and Iam lucis orto sydere with music on fols. 177v–178r.

10. (fols. 178v–186v)

The opening words of hymns (too short to assign a Chevalier number) with music, followed by detailed instructions as to when they should be performed. Many hymns occur more than once with different music. Conditor alme, Uerbum supernum prodiens, Ueni redemptor gentium, Christe redemptor omnium, O lux beata trinitas, Nocte surgentes, Iam lucis orto, Rector potens uerax, Lvcis creator optime, Nocte surgentes, Iam lucis orto sydere, Lvcis creator optime, Audi benigne conditor, Christe qui lux es, Summi largitor premij, Iam christe sol iusticie, Uexilla regis, Pange lingua, Ad cenam agni prouidi, Iesu nostra redemptio, Iam lucis orto sydere, Eterna rex altissime, Beata nobis gaudia, Ueni creator spiritus, Pange lingua, Sacris solemnis, Uerbum supernum, Adesto sancta trinitas, Urbs beata ierusalem, Ave maris stella, Qvem terra pontus, Exultet mentis iubilo, Svperna mater in clita, Magne dies leticie, Ut queant laxis, Avrea luce, Lauda mater ecclesia, Gaude mater ecclesia, Magne pater augustine, Celi ciues applaudite, Yesu saluator seculi, Caterine collaudemus, Sanctorum meritis, Sanctorum meritis, Iste confessor domini, Iste confessor domini, Iste confessor domini, Uirginis proles, Uirginis proles, Iam lucis orto, Iam lucis orto, Iam lucis orto, Iam lucis orto, Iam lucis orto, Ave maris stella, Qvem terra pontus.

11. (fols. 187r–191v)

Additions in three or four contemporary or near-contemporary hands:

(fols. 187r–189/190r) Hymns of Vincent Ferrer and Catherine of Siena, which do not appear in the main hymnal, with rubrics and music for their opening lines: Mente iocunda iubilent fideles (Chevalier, no. 11474), Lvmen in terris populi (Chevalier, no. 10743), Magne uincenti noua lux (Chevalier, no. 10975), Hec tue uirgo monimenta laudis (Chevalier, no. 7655), Laudibus uirgo nimis efferenda (Chevalier, no. 10461), Iam ferox miles tibi sepe cessit (Chevalier, no. 9252).

(fols. 189/190r–191r) Three short lessons, each followed by responsories and versicles, for an office (?) of Catherine of Siena (‘De sancta katherina de sena’). Followed by invitatorium for the Matins (fol. 191r) in the same hand and antiphons for the Matins added in a somewhat later hand.

(fols. 191r–v) Hymns for Transfiguration with rubrics and music for their opening lines added in a contemporary hand: Gaude mater pietatis (Chevalier, no. 6876) and Exultet laudibus sacrata (Chevalier, no. 5872). The last hymn is incomplete owing to the loss of a leaf after fol. 191, ending at ‘... Te trina deitas unaque poscimus quo sic nos ui’.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: miui et soporatus (psalter, fol. 2r)
Form: codex
Support: parchment; paper fly-leaves
Extent: 205 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): c. 193 × 135 mm.
Leaves were trimmed in rebinding, occasionally causing the loss of decoration.
Foliation: modern, in pencil; i–ix + 1–43 + 44a + 44b + 45–54 + 55a + 55b + 56–59 + 60a + 60b + 61–89 + 90a + 90b + 91–104 + 105a + 105b + 106–188 + ‘189/190’ + 191–192.


(fol. i) paper fly-leaf, originally conjoint with the upper pastedown | (fols. ii–v) I (4) | (fols. vi–vii) II (2) | (fols. viii–ix) III (2) | (fols. 1–185) IV–XXII (10) | (fols. 186–191) XXIII (6−1) missing 6 | (fol. 192) paper fly-leaf conjoint with the lower pastedown. Catchwords survive


Horizontals ruled in ink, verticals in plummet, with single vertical bounding lines extending the full height of page; 27 lines per page; written below the top line; written space: c. 131 × 85 mm.


Formal Gothic book hands, black ink.

Musical Notation:

Square notation on staves of four red lines.


Illumination is by an artist known as the Maestro del Messale Barbo (Bollati, 2004), named after Padua, Biblioteca del Seminario MS. 355, missal with the arms of Barbo. The work of this artist is found in other Bodleian manuscripts produced in Brescia or Padua in the third quarter of the 15th century, including MS. Canon. Liturg. 328, MS. Canon. Misc. 382, MS. Lat. liturg. a. 2 and MS. Lat. liturg. a. 3.

Plain red and blue KL monograms in the calendar.

Historiated initials in pink on gold background, decorated with foliage and white arabesque designs, typically five to seven lines high (eight lines high at psalm 1 and four lines high at psalm 26) at liturgical divisions.

  • fol. 1r Psalm 1 (initial B(eatus)) King David, seated, playing psaltery; half-figure of God above, in rays of light, holding an orb and blessing; landscape in the background.
  • fol. 20v Psalm 26 (initial D(ominus)) King David, kneeling, pointing to his eyes, looking up at rays of light, in a landscape.
  • fol. 32r Psalm 38 (initial D(ixi)) King David, kneeling, pointing to his mouth, looking up at the rays of light, in a landscape.
  • fol. 43r Psalm 52 (initial D(ixit)) The Fool in a headdress with bells, holding a staff and looking at two dogs, in a landscape.
  • fol. 52v Psalm 68 (initial S(aluum)) Half-figure of King David, nude, praying in waters, looking up at rays of light.
  • fol. 63r Psalm 80 (initial E(xultate)) Three musicians playing bells, a pipe and a lute.
  • fol. 75v Psalm 97 (initial C(antate)) Seven Dominicans singing from a book open on a lectern, in a landscape.
  • fol. 88v Psalm 109 (initial D(ixit)) Trinity.

Borders decorated with putti, foliage, flowers and birds on gold background.

  • fol. 1r Psalm 1 (full border) Medallion with the Virgin and swaddled Child on her lap in a landscape with two rabbits.
  • fol. 20v Psalm 26 (full border) Laurel wreath with a saint in a Dominican habit, seated at desk, copying from a book, landscape in the background.
  • fol. 32r Psalm 38 (full border) Laurel wreath with a hermit in a Dominican habit, feeding a rabbit, hermitage and landscape in the background.
  • fol. 43r Psalm 52 (full border) Laurel wreath with a young saint in a Dominican habit, holding an open book and a lily (Vincent Ferrer (?) or St Dominic (?)), rays of light shining from above, in a landscape.
  • fol. 52v Psalm 68 (full border) Laurel wreath with a miniature depicting the martyrdom of Peter of Verona: a kneeling saint in a Dominican habit, with a knife embedded in his head, stabbed with a sword by a young man in a short tunic, while writing with a finger on the ground.
  • fol. 63r Psalm 80 (full border) Laurel wreath with kneeling St Jerome in penance, holding a rock in one hand, beating his chest, looking at rays of light, in a landscape.
  • fol. 75v Psalm 97 (full border) Laurel wreath with half-figure of tonsured St Peter, holding a book and key.
  • fol. 88v Psalm 109 (full border) Laurel wreath with two singing angels, one holding an open book with the word ‘ALLELUIA’ and musical notation; busts of kings and prophets, holding scrolls with the words ‘DANILO PROPHETA (?)’, ‘GERA’, ‘ISAIA’.

3- to 7-line red or blue initials, decorated with contrasting purple or red penwork, green wash and gold at the beginnings of psalm 118 (fol. 92v), its parts used for Terce, Sext and None in secular use (118: 33, 118: 81, 118: 129, fols. 95r, 98r, 101r) and psalm 119 (fol. 103v).

2- to 3-line alternating plain red and blue initials at the beginnings of psalms, canticles and hymns.

1-line alternating plain red and blue initials at the beginnings of verses and periods.

Guide-letters often survive.

Rubrics in red ink.


Dark brown leather over boards, Italian, 16th century. Four blind fillet lines and border of gilt stamps (flowers and acanthus leaves), framed by double gilt fillet lines, round the outer edge of both covers. Stamped gilt designs (acorns, acanthus and vine leaves, coiled tendrils and dots) on both covers, some stamps identical with MS. Canon. Liturg. 191. Initials at the centre of both covers; only ‘R’ on the upper cover is distinct; one of the letters on the lower cover is probably ‘N’. Holes and impressions left by the fittings of two clasps (now missing). Sewn on four cords, four raised bands with gilt patterns on spine. Panels between the raised bands are decorated with gilt floral designs, framed by double gilt and blind fillet lines. Red label on spine (later than the binding) with gilt designs and gilt lettering ‘SPALTERIUM [sic] || MSS.’. Bodleian paper label on spine printed ‘272’. Gilt edges of textblock. Blind fillet lines on turn-ins. Pastedowns and fly-leaves of laid paper with watermarks.


Origin: 15th century, third quarter (1455 × 61 (?)) ; Italian, Brescia

Provenance and Acquisition

Made for the Dominican convent of St Catherine, Brescia: dedication of the church, 20 October, and other evidence of the calendar. The calendar contains Vincent Ferrer (canonized 1455) in the original hand, but he is not in the litany or hymnal. The calendar, litany and hymnal did not originally contain Catherine of Siena (canonized 1461). The hymns of Vincent Ferrer and Catherine of Siena were added in a 15th-century hand on fols. 187r–‘189/190’r. All this suggests that the psalter may have been made between 1455 and 1461 (compare MS. Canon. Liturg. 191 from Brescia, where the calendar, litany and hymnal contain both Vincent Ferrer and Catherine of Siena).

‘SVOR PLAVTILLA PATRONI’ written in gold ink on fol. i recto (16th century). Presumably a Dominican nun, Sister Plautilla Patroni.

Francis Douce, 1757–1834 see ODNB: bookplate on the upper pastedown, note on fol. i recto. A list of contents of the manuscript with folio numbers in pencil on the lower pastedown, mostly illegible, perhaps by Douce.

Bodleian Library: received in 1834 with the bequest of Douce.

Record Sources

Adapted (April 2024) from Elizabeth Solopova, Latin Liturgical Psalters in the Bodleian Library: A Select Catalogue (Oxford, 2013), pp. 577–84. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (3 images from 35mm slides)


    Select bibliography to 2006:

    Summary catalogue, vol. 4, no. 21846.
    Frere, no. 161.
    S. J. P. van Dijk, Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. 2: Office Books (typescript, 1957), p. 127
    Pächt and Alexander (1966–73), vol. 2, no. 681, pl. LXV.
    Canova, G. M., ‘Il recupero di un complesso librario dimenticato: i corali quattrocenteschi di S. Giorgio Maggiore a Venezia’, Arte Veneta 27 (1973), pp. 38–64, at p. 50.
    ——, ‘I manoscritti liturgici miniati del Quattrocento nella Biblioteca Antoniana’, Il Santo, s. II, 14 (1974), pp. 5–61, at p. 27.
    Bollati (2004), p. 622.
    Baroffio, G., ‘Liturgia e musica nella tradizione demenicana’ in C. Parmeggiani, Canto e colore: i corali di San Domenico di Perugia nella Biblioteca comunale Augusta, XIII–XIV sec., 11 marzo–17 aprile 2006, Perugia, Sala Lippi, Unicredit banca, Corso Vannucci, 39 [exhibition catalogue] (Perugia: Volumnia, 2006), pp. 33–68, at p. 62.

Last Substantive Revision

2024-04-17: Adapt full description from Solopova catalogue.