Medieval History Database - Article : The Sherborne Missal -
Medieval History Database MHDB Homepage Academic News About Contact

Medieval History Database - Article : The Sherborne Missal

Article : The Sherborne Missal

The Sherborne Missal

One of the British Library's most heavily gilded and exquisitely painted missals from the late medieval period is the "Sherborne Missal" (BL Add MS 74236), which dates from circa 1399 - 1407 and was produced for St. Mary’s Benedictine Abbey in Sherborne, Dorset, England. The missal can be dated based on its portraits of Robert Bruyning (who served as the Abbot of Sherborne from 1385-1415) and Richard Mitford (who served as Bishop of Salisbury from 1396-1407), as well as the coat of arms of Henry V when he held the title Prince of Wales (from 1399-1413). Bruyning is depicted over a hundred times throughout the book, leading to the assumption that he was the chief patron.

The main scribe was John Whas, a monk of Sherborne at that time. At least five illustrators painted the book's pages. The main artist was John Siferwas (a Dominican friar) who served as chief illuminator, as he also had for the Lovel Lectionary (BL Harley MS 7026) which was commissioned by Lord John of Lovel and given to Salisbury Cathedral.

The Sherborne Missal has been digitized by the British Library, which has granted permission for usage of the images. MHDB's gilded rendering software can enhance photographs of manuscripts of this type by displaying the effect of light as it hits the gilding and other types of surfaces on the pages.

The video below demonstrates the rendering effects for several sample pages (or detailed sections) from the Sherborne Missal:

Below are a few static images from the above video.

Below: p. 13 (First Sunday in Advent), detail (Annunciation scene inside a capital letter A):

Below: p 14 detail (gilded initial):

Below: p 14 detail :

Below: p 10 (Calendar for October) showing detail (illustration of Malachi and St Simon) :

Below: p 13 (First Sunday in Advent), detail (top):

Below: p 13 (First Sunday in Advent), detail (top):

Below: p 13 (First Sunday in Advent), detail (top):

Below: p 16 (Second Sunday in Advent), showing detail (large illustrated capital letter P):

Owners of the missal:

The Benedictine Abbey of St Mary the Virgin, in Sherborne, Dorset, England.

Léonor II de Goyon de Matignon (1637 - 1714), Bishop of Lisieux, until 1703 when he transferred it to Nicholas Foucault.

Nicholas Joseph Foucault, Marquis of Magny (1643 - 1721).

Charles of Orléans (1691 - 1744), Abbot of Rothelin.

Marcellin-François-Zacharie de Selle (c. 1704 - 1759), Treasurer-General of the French Navy.

Charles-Paul de Bourgevin de Vialart de Moligny (1713 - 1794), Knight of the Order of St-Louis.

George Galwey Mills, member of Parliament (1765 - 1828), who bought it in 1797.

Hugh Percy, Duke of Northumberland (1742 - 1817).

Hugh Percy's heirs including Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland (1956 - ).

The British Library, which acquired it from Ralph Percy in 1998.

Homepage Academic News About Contact