Leaf from an Antiphonary, 1500
This leaf derives from an antiphonary, a Catholic liturgical book used for the Divine Office. The page shows the end of the antiphon (a sung statement) of the 2nd Vespers of the Feast of St. Michael, which falls on September 29, and the beginning of the first three antiphons from the 1st Vespers of the Feast of St. Francis, which falls on October 4. To signal the switch from the antiphon of the Feast of St. Michael to that of St. Francis, a woodcut of the latter saint is included.
Antiphonaries were some of the largest books produced, as they needed to be read simultaneously by all members of a choir. The book decoration seen here, including the use of two colours and the simple but clear woodcut, were both attractive and functional, as visual signals made the book easier to read.