D is for…



Death walks in the only known copy of this missal (Lyon, 1550) and tramples underfoot the bodies of men and women alike. He holds in one hand a clock, and the other raises a threatening spear. Death is as skeletal as the figures beneath him. The only substantial element is in the tree above, a crow calling out ‘Cras cras’, i.e.: tomorrow tomorrow, employed no doubt to stress for the eventual owners of this item the inevitability of death… and judgement.




Imperfections run across 40+ leaves of Bolton Library Ms 2, the second oldest manuscript in the collection. These are naturally occurring holes in the parchment selected, and the scribe charged in the early 13th century with setting down this service book for Divine Office just worked around them. This technique can also be seen in Bolton Library Ms 1.