Although the creator of this volume is unknown, the title page makes reference to a church at Dooreseele, probably the village of Doornzele, near the port of Ghent in Belgium. The title page also bears the word “Gandae,” probably a Latinization of the word “Ghent” (“Gànd”). An 1848 administrative history of East Flanders describes an old abbey in Doorseele. Historically, Doornzele Abbey was home to Cistercian nuns.
Mémorial Administratif de la Flandre-Orientale. Volume 64. Ghent (Gand): J. Vandenbranden et de Schuyter, 1848.
Revolvy, “List of Christian Monasteries in Belgium” (accessed October 13, 2016) http://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=List%20of%20Christian%20monasteries%20in%20Belgium
Information derived from the collection.
This manuscript is a calligraphic devotional book containing Latin prayers and hymns corresponding to the Roman Catholic liturgical year. The title page reads “Orationes que cantari solent in laudibus vespertinia per annum in oratorio de Dooreseele sub Ecclesia [illegible word] Salvotoria Gandae,” which roughly translates to “Evening Prayers Sung in Praise throughout the Year at the Church at Dooreseele, Ghent.” The book was created in 1827. The creator is unknown, but was possibly a Cistercian nun.
The volume features calligraphy throughout, with detailed scrollwork and ornamentation adorning headings for prayers and the names of Catholic feast days. Portions of text meant to act as a congregational response, such as “Oremus” (“Let us pray”) and “Amen,” are also done in calligraphy.
The book follows the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, cycling through prayers for Advent, Christmas, the Feast of the Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Following prayers for the liturgical year, the book offers prayers for various feast days, including the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, and various saints’ days. Towards the end of the volume, the creator recorded a prayer for those martyred in Japan on February 5, 1597. Two hymns with accompanying music can be found towards the end of the volume. After several blank pages, there is an un-paginated, handwritten index of the liturgical calendar and saints’ days.
The book is embellished by thirty-six pen, ink, and wash illustrations of saints, the Lamb of God, the Holy Spirit as a dove, and other Catholic iconography. These illustrations often accompany prayers for holidays and feast days rather than Sundays in Ordinary Time.
This volume is covered in fine black leather with a blind-stamped cross on both the front and back cover. The spine features five raised bands and gilt stamped decoration. The spine reads “DIURNALE ROMANUM” in gold. All of the page edges are gilt. The inside edges of the front and back cover feature a gilt border. The volume has white moiré endpapers and flyleaves. The pages bear the watermarks “Pt. Median” and a crowned lion holding a sword. The volume includes 166 pages of devotionals, 36 pen and ink drawings, and an un-paginated index.