December 22 – Zoomorphic initials
Today, rather than featuring a specific fantastic beast, we are highlighting the gradual. The gradual or graduale was a music book used in liturgy for the choral parts of the mass. Its huge size was to allow up to 4 choristers to use it at one time. This gradual was written for use by the Franciscan friars, probably in the south of France.
Our gradual, dated c.1400, contains decorated initials, with faces, flora and fauna. Here is a sample of some of the dog-like creatures, although there is one that looks like very much like Nessie!