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Walters Ms. W.298, Breviary

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This Breviary was created ca. 1460-70 in the manner of the followers of Willem Vrelant. Featuring a calendar for monastic use, this book exhibits affiliations with St. Vaast in Arras. Further, a Franciscan association is indicated by additions to the calendar and its decoration. The breviary was owned in Belgium sometime in the sixteenth century (a possible contemporary expunged ink inscription can be found at the foot of fol. 9r). It was rebound sometime in the early eighteenth century and is connected to Ludwig Rosenthal, ca. 1900.


1460-70 CE


West Flanders (?)


Supplied name: Followers of Willem Vrelant






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Thin to medium-weight, highly prepared and carefully selected parchment; front and back flyleaves are wove paper, probably nineteenth-century


Foliation: iii+421+bis+iii

One folio was missed during foliation, so it is indicated here as "bis"


Formula: Quire 1: 8 (fols. 1-8); Quires 2-18: 10, including fol. 141bis (fols. 9-177); Quire 19: 8 (fols. 178-185); Quires 20-40: 10 (fols. 186-395); Quire 41: 8 (fols. 396-403); Quire 42: 10 (fols. 404-413); Quire 43: 8 (fols. 414-421)

Catchwords: Beginning on fol. 18, two or more words often extant, in text hand, centered high in lower margin; written in pale-brown ink; include rubricated letter or words for opening word on next recto; some embellishment of modest penwork at cardinal points

Signatures: In two alphabetical sequences: first sequence mostly cropped, at lower right; second sequence beginning on fol. 186, centered, mostly cropped, in different hand; examples of ".d." and ".h." series on fols. 220r, 257r



8.6 cm wide by 12.2 cm high

Written surface

5.9 cm wide by 8.3 cm high

  1. Columns: 2
  2. Ruled lines: 28
  3. Ruled in pale rose ink, occasionally in lead; layout does not apply to calendar: five columns of 32 lines

fols. 1r - 421v:
  1. Title: Breviary
  2. Artist: Followers of Willem Vrelant
  3. Hand note: Written in textura
  4. Decoration note: Three historiated initials; decorated illuminated initials on opening pages of major divisions, in gold; decorated illuminated initials at liturgical divisions (6-9 lines); painted initials at secondary text divisions: alternately red and blue (2-3 lines); borders on pages with historiated initials and on opening page; rubrics in red, text in dark brown ink
fols. 1r - 2v:
  1. Title: Devotions to the Trinity and Virgin
  2. Incipit: De Sancta Trinitate
  3. Contents: Sixteenth-century additions on originally blank front flyleaves: short devotions to the Trinity, Virgin, SS. Peter and Paul, Martin, Simeon, Jerome, and Gudule; each including Vespers and Matins prayer; versicles intermittently underlined
fols. 3r - 8v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarius habet dies xxxi.luna.xxx
  3. Contents: Originally 1/4 filled, affiliations with Artois indicated; completely filled by early additions of several hands: graded in red and brown ink, feasts dating before 1472 CE (verified feast dates confirmed by Michel Huglo), emphasis on Franciscan saints with inclusion of Augustinian hermit saints; feasts of note include: William (Feb. 9, Augustinian hermit), Anthony of Padua (Feb. 15, Franciscan, Translation), Dedication of St. Vaast, Arras (Feb. 21, "Preueniens cathedram dat tardius alle. vocare," "duplex minus"), Catherine of Siena (Apr. 30, Dominican, ca. 1461 CE), Bernardinus (May 17 + octave, "bernardini," Franciscan can. 1450), Bernardinus (May 20, "bernardini confessoris de ordine minorum," Translations, inst. 1472; see May 17), Francis (May 25, Translations; see Oct. 4), Nicholas of Tolentino (Sept. 10, "& confessoris ordinis heremitarum," Augustinian hermit, ca. 1446), Francis (Sept. 17, "De Stigmatibus...," Stigmatization; cf. May 25, Oct. 4), Francis (Oct. 4, "Natale Sancti francisci confessoris ordinis minorum," "duplex minus"; cf. May 25, Sept. 17), Louis of Toulouse (Nov. 8, Translation, Franciscan), Dedication of Basilica of St. John in Lateran, Rome (Nov. 9, "Dedicacio basilice saluatoris," "duplex minus")
  4. Hand note: Written in textura; calendar filled by early additions of several hands
fols. 9r - 185v:
  1. Title: Temporale: First Advent Sunday through fourth Sunday in November
  2. Rubric: In nomine domini nostri ihesu xriste et beate marie virginis [. . .] Incipit breviarium secundum consuetudinem romane curie Sabbato primo adventus domini Ad vesperas capitulum.
  3. Incipit: Fratres scientes quia hora est iam nos de sompno
  4. Contents: Fol. 9r: first Sunday in Advent, Vespers capitulary; fol. 29r: Christmas, Vespers antiphon; fol. 47r: Epiphany vigils, Lauds capitulary; fol. 119r: Easter, Matins invitatory; fol. 136v: Ascension vigils, Vespers capitulary; fol. 142r: Pentecost vigils, Vespers capitulary; fol. 147r: Trinity vigils, Vespers antiphon; fol. 149v: Corpus Christi, Vespers antiphon; fol. 185: blank; fol 186r: hymn for Sunday Nocturn in liturgical year
  5. Decoration note: One historiated initial on fol. 29r
fols. 186r - 257r:
  1. Title: Ferial Psalter
  2. Contents: Eight partite, with hymns, antiphons, capitularies, and versicles
  3. Decoration note: One historiated initial on fol. 186r
fols. 257r - 258r:
  1. Title: Three Canticles
  2. Incipit: Benedictine omnia opera
fols. 258r - 260r:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrie eleison
  3. Contents: Fols. 258r-259r: Litany, mostly Roman use, sixteen apostles/"ewangeliste"/disciples/innocents: Peter to Mark; eight listings for martyrs (three of which cite pairs); seven popes/confessors/doctors; eight monks/hermits/priests/levites, including Paul hermit, Anthony, Benedict, Bernard, Francis, Dominic, Leonard, and William; fifteen female saints, including Gertrude, Ursula and companions, Anne, Clare, and Elizabeth; fols. 259r-v: petitions, cues to invocations and to Psalm 69; fols. 259v-260r: nine collects, abbreviated headings of "Oracio" after the first
fols. 260v - 263v:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead, for the use of Rome
  2. Rubric: Incipit officium mortuorum
  3. Incipit: Placebo domino in regione vivorum
fols. 263r - 265v:
  1. Title: Eight liturgical tables concerning Advent and Sunday offices of movable feasts
  2. Rubric: Tabula adventus primum & Tabula de dominicis vacantibus
  3. Incipit: In anno illo in quo nativitas
fols. 266r - 285v:
  1. Title: Common of Saints
  2. Rubric: In natale apostolorum ad vesperas capitulum
  3. Incipit: Fratres iam non estis hospites
  4. Text note: Fol. 285r-v: blank
fols. 286r - 421v:
  1. Title: Sanctorale, St. Saturninus to St. Catherine
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt festivitates sanctorum per circulum tocius anni in de sancto saturnino martyris oratio
  3. Incipit: Deus qui nos beati Saturnini martyris
  4. Contents: Selected feasts emphasized by accompaniment of illuminated initial: fol. 286r: Saturninus; fol. 303r: Purification of the Virgin; fol. 312v: Several Martyrs or One Martyr; fol. 332v: John the Baptist; fol. 337v: Peter and Paul; fol. 342v: Visitation; fol. 359r: Lawrence; fol. 367v: Assumption of the Virgin; fol. 400v: All Saints; Franciscan association indicated on: fols. 324r-328v: Nine-lesson offices for St. Anthony of Padua; fols. 391r-397r: St. Francis; fols. 412r-415r: Dedication of the church headed, "In dedicatione ecclesie. . . cap."; fols. 415r-417r: Hours of the Virgin, three lesson, concluding Advent office, headed: "Incipit cursus beate marie gloriose. . ." explicit, last four words underlined in red ink
  5. Text note: Fols. 418v-421v: blank, ruled for 2-column text
  6. Decoration note: One historiated initial on fol. 391r


fol. 29r:

  1. W.298, fol. 29r
  2. Title: Initial "R," with Nativity-Adoration
  3. Form: Historiated initial "R," 8 lines
  4. Text: Temporale: Christmas Vespers

fol. 186r:

  1. W.298, fol. 186r
  2. Title: Initial "B," with King David penitent
  3. Form: Historiated initial "B," 8 lines
  4. Text: Ferial Psalter: Psalm 1

fol. 391r:

  1. W.298, fol. 391r
  2. Title: Initial "F," with St. Francis displaying stigmata
  3. Form: Historiated initial "F," 9 lines
  4. Text: Sanctorale: Office of St. Francis, Vespers vigils


The binding is not original.

Rebound in Belgium or France in first quarter of the nineteenth century; straight grain red leather sewn on three recessed boards; glued-on endbands of red and white; gilt edges with gauffered diamond design


Created for monastic use, ca. 1460-70; illumination of in similar manner to the followers of Willem Vrelant; affiliation with St. Vaast in Arras indicated in calendar; Franciscan association evinced in added calendar entries and decoration

Owned in Belgium, probably in the sixteenth century

Rebound in the first quarter of the nineteenth century; "412" written thereafter in ink on back flyleaf i, in top right-hand corner

Ludwig Rosenthal, Germany, ca. 1900

Leo. S. Olschki, Florence, rare book dealer; item no. 95 in his catalogue in French, affixed to front flyleaf i, priced "600.-," citing inventory no. "22544"; this number on front pastedown in pencil between "LB XIX 322967" and "B 33 No. 95"/"RH2R 4624" (which has since been crossed out), "Esp 7"

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Leo. S. Olschki between 1900 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. 778, cat. no. 133.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 3, part 2, Belgium, 1250-1530. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1997; pp. 193-200 (ref. under cat. no. 241, W. 719).


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbold, Rebekah

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Wallace, Susan

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Herbold, Rebekah; Noel, William; 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.