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Walters Ms. W.184, Book of Hours

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Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours was created ca. 1460-70 CE in Bruges by the circle of Willem Vrelant. It contains six extant full-page miniatures, which were inserted or painted on the versos of folios left blank, with the images on fols. 101v and 120v created by a different artist. A highly embellished upper board was added in Germany in the nineteenth century that contains an ivory Christ nailed to an engraved gilded cross.


Ca. 1460-70 CE


Bruges (?)


Supplied name: Willem Vrelant circle






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin. The secondary language of this manuscript is Italian.

Support material


Thin to medium-weight, well-prepared and selected parchment; pages pressed and flattened during the last binding; modern paper flyleaves


Foliation: ii+177+ii

Modern pencil foliation, upper right corners rectos


Formula: Quire 1: 2 (fols. 1-2); Quires 2-3: 6 (fols. 3-14); Quire 4: 8, with ninth folio added (fols. 15-23); Quire 5: 8 (fols. 24-31); Quire 6: 8, with fifth folio added (fols. 32-40); Quires 7-8: 8 (fols. 41-56); Quire 9: 8, with first folio added (fols. 57-65); Quires 10-13: 8 (fols. 66-97); Quire 14: 4, composite quire, with fourth folio added (fols. 98-101); Quires 15-16: 8 (fols. 102-117); Quire 17: 2 (fols. 118-119); Quire 18: 8, with first folio added (fols. 120-128); Quire 19: 8 (fols. 129-135); Quire 20: 8, with an originally inserted first folio now missing (fols. 136-143); Quires 21-23: 8 (fols. 144-167); Quire 24: 8, with eighth folio missing (fols. 168-174); Quire 25: 2, with third folio added (fols. 175-177)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Images are on inserted leaves or are on versos of folios left blank


8.1 cm wide by 11.0 cm high

Written surface

4.5 cm wide by 6.9 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 16
  3. Layout does not apply to calendar: written surface 4.5 x 7.3 cm, 2 columns, 16 lines

fols. 1r - 143v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Hand note: Italianate gotica rotunda
  4. Decoration note: Six extant full-page miniatures (one missing); large decorated initials (5-6 lines) at major text divisions; smaller decorated initials in gold, rose, and blue at secondary text divisions and for "KL" in calendar (2-3 lines); small initials in same colors for versals (1 line); heavy foliate margins around full-page miniatures and facing opening text, and also present at liturgical divisions (top and bottom margins only); line fillers in blue and rose with gold disks, in litany only; rubrics in red; text in black-brown ink
fols. 1v - 2v:
  1. Title: Added Italian inscription and prayer
  2. Contents: Inscription (inked out) and prayer in Italian added by seventeenth-century hand
  3. Decoration note: Sketch in pencil of draped figure (fol. 2v), also likely added in seventeenth century
fols. 3r - 14v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarius. xxxi.
  3. Contents: Calendar sparsely filled; graded in red and dark brown ink; non-regional dates include Franciscan feasts; saints and feasts of note include Valentine (Jan. 7), Anthony (Jan. 18), Fabian (Jan. 21), Sebastian (Jan. 21), Agnes (Jan. 22), Paul (Jan. 26, conversion), Cornelius (Mar. 31), Felix (May 16), Bernardinus (May 20, "Barnardini"), Anthony of Padua (Jun. 7, "anthonius de padua," Franciscan), Abdon and Sennen (Jul. 31), Remigius (Oct. 1), Francis (Oct. 4), All Saints (Nov. 1, "Festivitas omnium sanctorum"), All Souls (Nov. 2, "Commemoratio animarum," not major feast), and four crowned martyrs (Nov. 8, "sanctorum coronatorum")
fols. 15v - 23r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Incipiunt hore sancte crucis. Ad matutinas. versus.
  4. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 15v
fols. 23v - 29r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Holy Spirit
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Incipiunt hore de sancto spiritu. Ad matutinas. versus.
  4. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 23v
fols. 29v - 35v:
  1. Title: Mass of the Virgin and Gospel Sequence of John
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Incipit missa beate marie virginis. Introitus.
  4. Incipit: Salve sancta parens enixa puerpera...
  5. Contents: Fols. 29v-34v: Mass of the Virgin; fols. 34v-35v: John 1:1-14, headed "Initium sancti evangelii secundum iohannem. Gloria tibi domine."
  6. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 29v
fols. 36v - 97v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin for the use of Rome
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Incipiunt hore beate marie virginis secundum consuetudinem Romane ecclesie. Ad matutinas versus.
  4. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  5. Text note: Interpolated Advent Office at the end of each canonical hour
  6. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures on fol. 36v
fols. 98r - 101r:
  1. Title: Prayer to the Virgin
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Oratio de domina ma. oro.
  4. Incipit: Obsecro te domina mea sancta maria
  5. Contents: Fol. 100r: dual gender reference to suppliant marked by small "e" added over "o" in "famulo tuo"
fols. 101v - 112v:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Incipiunt septem psalmi penitentiales antiphona. psalmus.
  4. Incipit: Domine ne in furore
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 101v
fols. 112v - 119v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, imprecation, and collects
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Letanie maior.
  4. Incipit: Kyrieleison
  5. Contents: Fols. 112v-115v: Litany, with sixteen "apostoli & evangeliste orate pro nobis" and disciples: Peter to Mark; seventeen martyrs, including Cornelius and George; fourteen confessors, monks, and hermits, including Anthony, Nicholas, Benedict, Bernard ("Barnarde"), Dominic, Francis, and Bernardinus of Siena ("B'nardine"); fourteen virgins, widows, and "continentes orate pro nobis," including Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Anne, Clare, Elizabeth, Ursula, and Martha; fols. 115v-117r: petitions and invocations; fols. 117r-v: Ps. 69, headed "Preces minores"; fols. 117v-118v: Short imprecation, five groups of versicles and responsories; fols. 118v-119r: Seven collects, first five headed "oratio," last two "Alia oratio"
fols. 120v - 135v:
  1. Title: Psalter of St. Jerome
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Incipit psalterium sancti Ieronimi p.
  4. Incipit: Verba mea auribus percipe domine intellige clamorem meum
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 120v
fols. 136r - 174r:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
  3. Rubric: Incipiunt vigile mortuorum
  4. Incipit: Placebo
fols. 175r - 177v:
  1. Title: Added Latin and Italian litany and prayer
  2. Rubric: Litinia della Madona
  3. Incipit: Chirie eleison
  4. Text note: Added seventeenth century


fol. 15v:

  1. W.184, fol. 15v
  2. Title: Crucifixion
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross

fol. 23v:

  1. W.184, fol. 23v
  2. Title: Pentecost
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit

fol. 29v:

  1. W.184, fol. 29v
  2. Title: Virgin lactans crowned and serenaded by angels
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Mass of the Virgin

fol. 36v:

  1. W.184, fol. 36v
  2. Title: Annunciation
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins

fol. 101v:

  1. W.184, fol. 101v
  2. Title: King David penitent
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms

fol. 120v:

  1. W.184, fol. 120v
  2. Title: St. Jerome in penance before crucifix
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Psalter of St. Jerome


The binding is not original.

Rebound in the late nineteenth century in Frankfurt, Germany, by L. Stephanus (signed "L. Stephanus Buchbinder" on leather of bottom turn in on upper board and "Frankfurt a. M." on lower board); sewn on three recessed chords; dark green leather with a Gothic Revival-style engraved gilded metal cross with a carved ivory figure of Christ and with evangelist symbols at ends of the cross arms and various colored cabochons in the upper corners; lower board blind tooled with scrolls inscribed "ihesus" and "maria" in center panel, with pierced gilded corner pieces containing red stones and thin gilded clasps hinged to lower board; page edges painted red and accented with tooled gold pattern including rosettes and fleur-de-lis; white silk ribbon bookmark finished with gold tassel


Created ca. 1460-70 for someone with Franciscan sympathies (see calendar); illuminated in the style of Willem Vrelant of Bruges, which suggests the influence of Ghent Associates

Italian owner, ca. seventeenth century, evinced by addition of Italian prayer fol. 2r

Peter MariƩ, New York, likely purchased in Germany in August 1891: inscription on flyleaf i, v reads "573/Homburg August 1891/XIV/750 [crossed out]/647/1600 marks"; sticker on same flyleaf indicates he loaned it to Grolier Club in 1892, inscribed "P. Marie/ No. 8 [crossed out]/No. 77"

George Richmond, New York, acquired in 1903 from Peter MariƩ, where it was no. 573 in his sale

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from George Richmond between 1903 and 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Exhibition Catalogue: Catalogue of an Exhibition of Illuminated and Painted Manuscripts. Grolier Club. New York, 1892; cat. no. 77.

De Ricci, Seymour, and W. J. Wilson. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935; p. 797, cat. no. 258.

Bowles, Edmund A. "A Checklist of Musical Instruments in Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Manuscripts at the Walters Art Gallery." Music Library Association 32 (1976): 719-726; pp. 723, 724.

Owens, M. B. "Musical Subjects in the Illumination of Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century France and Flanders." Ph.D. diss, University of Chicago, 1987; p. 394, fig. 10.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 3, Belgium, 1250-1530. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1997; pp. 301-305, cat. no. 261.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Catalogers: Herbert, Lynley; Ransom, Allison

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Wallace, Susan

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William; Schuele, Allyson; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Wiegand, Kimber


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.