The colophon on f. 40v in Volume II reads: “Che libure feist faire Dame Julienne de glymes prieuse de Salsines Jadit grande chantre de ce lieu. Pryes dieu pour elle.” The date of 1554 appears on ff.122r and 197r in Volume I, and on f.16v in Volume II. The date of 1555 appears at the end of Volume I on f.197v and the end of Volume II on f.40v. According to the colophon the book was commissioned by Dame Julienne de Glymes, prioress and former cantrix of the Cistercian Abbey of Salzinnes, Namur, in present day Belgium, likely with parts of it completed in 1554 and the rest in 1555. Founded in 1196-97 by Philip the Noble Count of Namur, the Abbey was incorporated in the Cistercian Order in 1204 under the Diocese of Liège. It was destroyed by the French Revolutionary armies in 1795.
The Salzinnes Antiphoner was likely acquired in the 1840s or 1850s in France by Bishop William Walsh, the first Archbishop for the Diocese of Halifax. It was donated to the Patrick Power Library, Saint Mary’s University by Archbishop James M. Hayes in 1975.
Painted in a bright palette in gouache, the Salzinnes Antiphonal contains six full-page illuminations (Adoration of the Magi, Baptism of Christ, Agony in the Garden, Resurrection, Christ in Majesty, Holy Kinship) and six historiated initials (Annunciation, Adoration of the Shepherds and Saints George, Maurice, Hubert, and Juliana) and includes several scenes depicting multiple narratives from the Bible. The most significant feature of the Antiphonal is the full-length portraits of thirty-four nuns with their names in cursive and block script, some with patrons’ coats-of-arms. In addition, three different religious orders are represented: Cistercians, Carmelites and Benedictines, in honour of the de Glymes family.
- Bain, Jennifer and Judith Dietz. "Family Ties and the Salzinnes Antiphonal." Studi musicali Nuova serie 1:1 (2010), 105-145.
- Dietz, Judith. Centuries of Silence: The Discovery of the Salzinnes Antiphonal. MA thesis, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax 2006.
- Dietz, Judith and Sherry Guild. "The Salzinnes Antiphonal: History and Conservation." Chant Old and New/Plain-chant: L'Ancien et le Nouveau, Proceedings of the Conference of the Gregorian Institute of Canada/Actes du colloque de l'Institut grégorien du Canada. Edited by William Renwick, 1-14. Lions Bay: Institute of Mediaeval Music, 2012.