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Walters Ms. W.197, Book of Hours
Book of Hours
This Book of Hours, ca. 1460, was completed for use of Rome and illuminated under the influence, if not the direct participation, of Willem Vrelant. There remain twenty-two extant marginal calendar illustrations, thirteen extant full-page miniatures (many of which are paired with opening suffrages, perhaps suggesting a certain amount of significance to the owner), and one historiated initial. The contemporary binding, signed Livinus Stuaert, is dated 1477 and is most likely of Bruges or Ghent origin. It is thought that the first owner was French due to the French headings throughout and prominent fleur-de-lis figurations decorating the binding. Further, the first owner was likely female, suggested by the ways in which the book was structured to facilitate legibility. This is evinced by the large size of the script and the lack of abbreviations. While much of the text is standard, there remains evidence of personal significance and preference. This is seen in the chosen illuminations for those sections that are most significant to the owner. Most illuminations are paired with the opening page of staple Hours; however, many are accompanied by individual suffrages, constituting a large portion of the beginning of the manuscript. Personal preference is also shown in those sections of text that stray from the standard. The devotional sequence of this manuscript is notable for its sheer length and diversity of prayers as well as its inclusion of a French prayer not of official liturgy (fols. 215r-219v). The first collection of three prayers is headed and written in French. The prayer is attributed to St. Augustine and is described to guarantee a transformation of tribulation into joy through Christ's mercy, but only if the suppliant recites the prayer for thirty consecutive days. While it is not uncommon for evidence of an owner's predilections to surface in a Book of Hours, the particularly divergent features of this book allow readers to glean an intimate view of the patron.
Supplied name: Willem Vrelant circle
The primary language in this manuscript is Latin. The secondary language of this manuscript is French, Middle (ca.1400-1600).
Parchment of medium weight, with heavier parchment used for inserted miniatures; highly prepared, of adequate selection; spine horizontal at times
Modern pencil foliation upper right corners rectos; front flyleaves (i-ii) appear to belong to original textblock (conjoint with two leaves forming pastedown)
Formula: Quire 1: 4, with first two folios forming front pastedown (pastedown-front flyleaf ii); Quire 2: 6, with first folio torn out, holes at spine-edge of conjoint last leaf (fols. 1-5); Quire 3: 6 (fols. 6-11); Quire 4: 8 (fols. 12-19); Quire 5: 4 (fols. 20-23); Quire 6: 8 (fols. 24-31); Quire 7: 2 (fols. 32-33); Quire 8: 8, with first folio added (fols. 34-42); Quire 9: 10, with first folio missing (fols. 43-51); Quire 10: 10 (fols. 52-61); Quire 11: 8, with first folio added (fols. 62-70); Quire 12: 8, with sixth folio added (fols. 71-79); Quire 13: 8 (fols. 80-87); Quire 14: 8, with fifth folio added (fols. 88-96); Quire 15: 8, with third, eighth, and tenth folios added (fols. 97-107); Quire 16: 8, with fifth folio added (fols. 108-116); Quire 17: 8, with second folio added (fols. 117-125); Quire 18: 8, with third folio added (fols. 126-134); Quire 19: 8, with first folio added (fols. 135-143); Quire 20: 2 (fols. 144-145); Quire 21: 8, with first folio added (fols. 146-154); Quires 22-23: 8 (fols. 155-170); Quire 24: 8, with first folio added (fols. 171-179); Quires 25-34: 8 (fols. 180-259); Quire 35: 8, with ninth folio tipped in (fols. 260-268); Quire 36: 2 (back flyleaf i-back pastedown)
Catchwords: Two or three words at times wholly or partially extant appearing on the last verso of the quire; most often appear at lower right corner with occasional appearances at lower center; mostly in textura in various shades of brown ink; multiple hands
Comments: Many of the images were inserted into the manuscript, accounting for the numerous added folios in the collation
14.6 cm wide by 21.5 cm high
9.0 cm wide by 13.0 cm high
- Columns: 1
- Ruled lines: 13
- Title: Book of Hours
- Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
- Contents: Calendar (Western French Orientation); Suffrages; Hours of the Cross; Hours of the Holy Spirit; Mass of the Virgin; Hours of the Virgin (for use of Rome); Advent Office of the Virgin; Penitential Psalms; litany, petitions, collects; Office of the Dead (for use of Rome); Gospel Sequence of Passion, prayers; devotional sequence, including Indulgences, Suffrage to Holy Face, Communion prayers, Athanasian Creed preceded and followed by prayers, two of which for a female suppliant
- Text note: Layout does not apply to calendar: 13.1 x 8.7cm, 4 columns, 17 lines
- Hand note: Written in textura
- Decoration note: Twenty-two extant calendar marginal illustration, twenty-four extant full-page miniatures (thirteen inserted), one historiated initial; decorated illuminated initials on pages opposite full-page miniatures and at beginning of four prayers: letters blue with white patterning, ranging in size from 3-5 lines; borders present around miniatures and opposite pages: airy designs, acanthus at outer and right lower corners; rubrics in red; text in black-brown ink
- Title: Calendar
- Contents: Calendar, lacking January with extant months filled; graded in mauve and brown; contents composite, includes significant collection of saints revered in western France (Angers, Brittany, Normandy); several irregular dates, some unidentifiable saints (in quotation marks hereafter); feasts of note include: Blasius (Feb. 3), Licinius (Feb. 13, "Lizini," Angers), "Draconi" (Feb. 15, mr.; "Drachoni"), Lupianus (Feb. 17), Tecla (Feb. 21, regularly Sept. 23; also Dec. 20), Winwaloe (Mar. 3, "Guingolay," Brittany), Adrian (Mar. 4), "Gargani" (Mar. 9), "Dordonei" (Mar. 10, bp.), Aphrodisius (Mar. 22, Béziers), Arnold (Mar. 27, "Arnoldi presbiteri"), Eustace (Mar. 29, abbot, Luxeuil), Pastor (Mar. 28, "Castorii," regularly Mar. 29), "Prothonii" (Apr. 4, mr.), Donatus (Apr. 7, also on regular date: Aug. 7), "Turionis" (Apr. 19, mr.), Gajus (Apr. 22, Gagi," pope), Victor (May 8), Servatius (May 13, "Senraci"), Pontius (May 14), Maxima (May 16, Fréjus), Liphard (Jun. 4, Orléans), Tugdual (Jun. 18, regularly Jun. 16, Nantes), Herveus (Jun. 19, "Hurnei," regularly Jun. 17), Mevennus (Jun. 21, "Memenini," Brittany), John Baptist (Jun. 24, "Natiuitas sancti iohannis"), Doctrina (Jul. 5), Felix (Jul. 7, Translation, Nantes), Amalberga (Jul. 13, regularly Jul. 10), Generosus (Jul. 17, "Generoli," regularly Jul. 16), Margaret (Jul. 20), James the Greater and Christophereus (Jul. 25), Donatus (Aug. 7; also Apr. 7), Augustine (Aug. 27, "episcopi," repeated Aug. 28 on regular date, "epi"), Aegydius (Sept. 1, "abbatis"), Paternus (Sept. 23, Normandy, etc.), Remigius and Bavo (Oct. 1), Francis (Oct. 4), Marcellus (Oct. 8, regularly Oct. 7, Angers), Clarus (Oct. 10, bp., Nantes and Angers), Aegydius (Oct. 12; also Sept. 1), Lupus (Oct. 17, Angers), Ivo (Oct. 29, Translation, regularly Oct. 27; Franciscan tertiary, Brittany), Serapion (Oct. 30, Amiens, etc.), Quintinus (Oct. 31), Clarus (Nov. 4, "presbiteri"), Eusebius (Nov. 5, "Eufebii," mr., as confessor on this date in Cat. 248: W.240), Paternus (Nov. 12, regularly Nov. 13, Sens), Clementius (Nov. 14), Cecilia (Nov. 15; irregular date, see Nov. 22), Clement (Nov. 23), Eligius (Dec. 1), Verinus (Dec. 2, "Verini"), Barbara (Dec. 4), Fides (Dec. 5, "fidis," regularly Oct. 6), Corentine (Dec. 12, Le Mans, Quimper), Gratianus (Dec. 18, Langres), Julius (Dec. 19, bp., irregular date), Tecla (Dec. 20, regularly Sept. 23; also Feb. 21), Honoratus (Dec. 22), Victoria (Dec. 23, regularly Apr. 24), Perpetuus (Dec. 30, "Perpetini," bp. of Tours, regularly Apr. 8, celebrated in Liège on death date Dec. 30)
- Decoration note: Twenty-two marginal illustrations; two square illustrations side-by-side for each calendar month (January is absent from calendar)
- Title: Suffrages
- Rubric: De sancto iohanne baptista antiphona
- Incipit: Inter natos mulierum
- Contents: Eleven suffrages, eight to male saints and three to female saints; fols. 12v-13v: John Baptist, fols. 14v-15v: Christopher, fols. 16v-17v: Anthony, fols. 18v-19v: Nicholas, fols. 20v-21v: Adrian, fols. 22v-23v: Quintinus, fols. 24v-25v: Francis, fols. 26v-27v: Blasius, fols. 28v-29v: Margaret, fols. 30v-31v: Geneviève, fols. 32v-33v: Barbara
- Decoration note: Eleven full-page miniatures on fols. 12v, 14v, 16v, 18v, 20v, 22v, 24v, 26v, 28v, 30v, 32v
- Title: Hours of the Cross
- Rubric: Incipiunt hore sancte crucis. Ad matutinas
- Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
- Decoration note: Fol. 34r: one full-page miniature
- Title: Hours of the Holy Spirit
- Rubric: Incipiunt hore de sancto spiritu
- Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
- Title: Mass of the Virgin
- Artist: Willem Vrelant circle
- Rubric: Incipit missa beate marie virginis Introitus
- Incipit: Salve sancta parens enixa
- Contents: Fols. 51r-55v: Mass of the Virgin; fols. 56r-61v: ending with Gospel sequences (John 1:1-14, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 2:1-12, Mark 16: 14-20)
- Decoration note: Fol. 50v: full-page miniature
- Title: Hours of the Virgin
- Rubric: Incipiunt hore beate marie virginis secundum usum romanum
- Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
- Contents: Fol. 63v: first hymn in Matins preceded by invitatory; fol. 77r: the conclusion of Matins on the opening page of Lauds is a notable atypical feature in design, headings for canonical hours begin at Lauds; fols 98v, 105v: last page of Prime and None are blank, ruled; fols. 134r-v: two prayers appended to Compline; fol. 135r: blank
- Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fols. 62v, 76v, 92v, 99v, 106v, 112v, 118v, 128v
- Title: Advent Office of the Virgin
- Rubric: Incipit officium beate marie virginis quod dicitur per totum adventum. Ad vesperas
- Decoration note: Fol. 135v: full-page miniature
- Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
- Rubric: Sequitur septem psalmi penitentiales
- Incipit: Domine ne in furore
- Decoration note: Fol. 146v: full-page miniature
- Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
- Rubric: Letania
- Contents: Litany, composite of northern French and Flemish saints, including seventeen apostles/evangelists/disciples/innocents: Peter to Mark; twenty-one martyrs, namely: Cornelius, Blasius, Quintinus, Livinus, George, Christopher, Dionysius, Gereon, Maurice; twenty-three confessors, including: Silvester, Leo, Martin, Augustine, Nicholas, Amandus, Vedast, Gregory, Anthony, Ambrose, Jerome, Benedict, Bernard, Remigius, Eligius, Aegydius, Audomar, Bertin, Louis, Bavo, Francis, Dominic, Leonard; twenty-three virgins/widows/"continentes," namely: Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Helen, Christina, Dorothy ("dorthea"), Anastasia, Agatha, Prisca, Cita (rare, two of three examples cited in Leroquasis's owners, fifteenth century, namely BN lat. 1329 and lat. 13264: vol. I, p. 151; vol. 2, p. 52), Apollonia, Geneviève, Margaret, Gertrude, Fides, Spes, Caritas; fols. 165v-171r: petitions; fols. 171r-174v: ten collects, headed "oratio" or "oro"; fol. 174v: blank, ruled; fol. 175: blank
- Title: Office of the Dead
- Rubric: Incipiunt vigilie mortuorum. Antiphona
- Incipit: Dilexi quoniam exaudiet Dominus
- Contents: Office of the Dead, use of Rome, abridged version with one nocturn and three lessons; fols. 183v-185r: four collects headed "Oratio" at the end of Vespers
- Decoration note: Fol. 175v: full-page miniature
- Title: Devotional Sequence
- Rubric: Passio Domini nostri ihesu christi secundum iohannem. Gloria tibi domine
- Incipit: In illo tempore
- Contents: Fols. 210r-211v: Gospel sequence of Passion according to John; fols. 211v-212r: Prayer to Christ recalling sacrifice on cross; fols. 212v-215r: Prayer on Seven Last Words of Christ, attributed to Bede in heading; fols 215r-219v: three prayers, the first heading in French is attributed to St. Augustine and guaranteed to change tribulation into joy through the mercy of Christ if recited regularly for thirty consecutive days; fols. 219v-22r: Suffrage to the Holy Face, followed by Psalm 66, versicles, responsory, and prayer; fols. 222r-223r: Pre-Communion prayer of Indulgence for two-thousand years; fols. 223r-228v: Communion prayers; fols. 228v-230v: Prayer of Indulgence to head of Christ crowned with thorns; fols. 230v-233v: two prayers to Christ; fols. 233v-235v: Prayer to the Sacrament; fols. 235v-236r: prayer to God; fols. 236r-249v: six prayers honoring the Virgin; fols. 250r-268v: seven prayers to God-Father or Christ, four with appended psalm; Athanasian Creed; three concluding prayers (the last for invoking the Trinity); fol. 260r, 268r: "N" for name of suppliant specified in six prayers, twice for female suppliant
- Decoration note: Fol. 219v: historiated initial
- Title: St. Christopher carrying Christ-child
- Form: Full-page miniature
- Text: Suffrages: St. Christopher
- Title: St. Nicholas resuscitating three youths
- Form: Full-page miniature
- Text: Suffrages: St. Nicholas
- Title: St. Geneviève, angel with lit candle opposes devil seeking to blow out saint's lit taper
- Form: Full-page miniature
- Text: Suffrages: St. Geneviève
- Title: Coronation of Virgin with trumpeting angels
- Form: Full-page miniature
- Text: Advent Office of the Virgin
The binding is original.
Belgium, Bruges or Ghent; signed Livinus Stuvaert, dated 1477; inscription in textura in central band: "livinus stuvaert me ligavit"; brown calf over wooden boards with slight exterior chamfer, tongue corners; rebacked nineteenth century; original sewing on six tawed bands; six pairs of deep cuts plus single cuts for kettles form stations; spine rebacked, naturally rounded parchment liner full-length (?), six raised bands; endbands of red, green, and white with decorative sewing; regilt edges; two brass catches and brass clasps, nineteenth century; motifs are bird with wings spread (roundels 1, 3, 5 from top), griffin (roundel 2), mermaid with mirror and comb (roundel 4); contemporary books of hours related to the same binder include GM Ludwig IX 7 (Plotzek 1982, pp. 115, 118, figs. 136-138); Vat. Lib. Barb. lat 4 )Morello 1988, p. 122)
Completed in Bruges for use of Rome, ca. 1460; illuminated under the influence of and with possible participation by Willem Vrelant; first owner, probably female (fol. 260r, 268r), perhaps French (headings, fol. 30v, fleur-de-lis), large size of script and dearth of abbreviations in order to facilitate legibility of text might be further support for female owner
J. Capron of Ypres, Brussels, April 6, 1875; added early in margin below Annunciation miniature: "Cy pres[entes]. . ." (fol. 62v); bookplate on front pastedown records motto "Quaero" and names of designer H. Catenacci, engraver A. Descaves, printer A. Salmon
Henry Walters, Baltimore; purchased between 1895 and 1931
Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest
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. 259.
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, 1989; pp. 251-262, cat. no. 250; figs. 481-484, 574, 590, pl. XXXVa.
Gathercole, Patricia M. Animals in Medieval French Manuscript Illumination. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1995; p. 89.
Bousmanne, Bernard. Item à Guillaume Wyelant aussi enlumineur: Willem Vrelant, un aspect de l'enluminure dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux sous le mécénat des ducs de Bourgogne Philippe le Bon et Charles le Téméraire. Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1997; pp. 38-39, 43-44, 70, 78-81, 98, 109, 112, 117, 121, 165, 189, 216-217, 316, 349 (n. 5), 355 (n. 53), 377.
Meckelnborg, Christina. Mittelalterliche Handschriften im Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz, Band 1: Die nichtarchivischen Handschriften der Signaturengruppe Best. 701 Nr. 1-190, ergänzt durch die im Görres-Gymnasium Koblenz aufbewahrten Handschriften A, B und C. Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 1998; p. 478 (cat. no. HsC).
"Circle of Willem Backer von Vrelant, Annunciation, ca. 1470, Wellesley College." In Divine Mirrors: The Virgin Mary in Visual Art. Edited by Melissa R. Katz and Robert A. Orsi, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 163-164; p. 164 (ref. under cat. no. 6).
Wieck, Roger S. "The Death Desired: Books of Hours and the Medieval Funeral." In Death and Dying in the Middle Ages. Edited by Edelgard E. DuBruck and Barbara I. Gusick, 431-476. New York: Peter Lang, 1999; pp. 440 (as fig. 25), 441 (as fig. 25), 447 (n. 24), 473 (fig. 25).
Cardon, Bert. "The Portfolio of a Bruges Miniaturist in the Mid-15th Century." In "Als Ich Can": Liber Amicorum in Memory of Professor Dr. Maurits Smeyers. Edited by Bert Cardon, Jan Van der Stock, and Dominique Vanwijnsberghe, 317-356, vol. 1. Leuven: Peeters Press, 2002; p. 321.
Kren, Thomas. “Willem Vrelant and Workshop: Arenberg.” In Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Painting in Europe. Edited by Thomas Kren and Scot McKendrick, 117-119. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003; p. 119 (ref. under cat. no. 15).
Gathercole, Patricia M. The Depiction of Angels and Demons in Medieval French Manuscript Illumination. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2004; p. 63, pl. 23.
Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.
Cataloger: Herbold, Rebekah
Editor: Herbert, Lynley
Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail
Contributors: Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Valle, Chiara; 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.