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Walters Ms. W.110, Psalter

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This charming but fragmentary and misbound Psalter was created in French Flanders for a lady in the first decades of the fourteenth century. The figures in the manuscript are stylistically related to those found in Ghent (diocese of Tournai), the most notable comparisons being manuscripts connected to Copenhagen, Royal Lib. GKS 3384 8°, such as Cambridge, Trinity Lib., Ms. B.II.22, Bodleian, Ms. Douce 5-6, and the Walters' own W.82. Other relationships can be found with works from Saint-Omer, in the diocese of Thérouanne, where the treatment of the borders is strikingly similar to those found, for instance, in W.90. Notes and prayers written, erased, and rewritten over the course of centuries on the originally blank pages of the book attest to its constant use up through at least the seventeenth century.


Ca. 1310-20 CE


Flanders or French Flanders






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Medium-weight, well-prepared parchment


Foliation: i+218+i

The folios are numbered up to 218, but a number was skipped between fols. 185 and 187, so there is one less folio than it appears


Formula: Collation not determinable; manuscript incomplete and badly misbound; appears to have originally been composed of quires of eight

Catchwords: Occasionally extant, i.e. fol. 21v

Signatures: Many later signatures, ca. sixteenth-seventeenth century, still visible; lowercase letters with one to four lines over them, found in lower right corners of rectos, i.e. fols. 23r-25r



8.0 cm wide by 11.0 cm high

Written surface

4.5 cm wide by 6.8 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 16
  3. Layout does not apply to later additions in back and front of manuscript, which are freehand

fols. 1r - 218v:
  1. Title: Psalter
  2. Contents: Manuscript badly scrambled and missing folios
  3. Hand note: Script is textura, tending toward semi-quadrata and occasionally precissa; hand change evident fol. 113v, line 5
  4. Decoration note: Six extant historiated initials (5-11 lines); many smaller initials throughout filled with mostly female human heads, or decorated with foliate designs (3 lines); drolleries throughout, mostly animals and hybrids; original donor possibly pictured in marginalia, fols. 132v and 136v; alternating blue and gold flourished initials for versals (1 line); pages with historiated or decorated initials often have foliate borders, some terminating with animal heads; geometric red and blue line fillers, often accented with gold disks; later, probably fifteenth-century marginal figures added occasionally in brown ink (i.e. fol. 34r); text in dark brown ink
fols. 2r - 2v:
  1. Title: Seven verses of St. Bernard, and prayer
  2. Incipit: [I]llumina octulos [sic for "oculos"] meos domine ihesu xriste
  3. Contents: Texts added ca. sixteenth century; incipit for prayer, fol. 2v: Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui Ezachieli [sic for "Ezechie] regi iude
fols. 3r - 193v:
  1. Title: Liturgical Psalter
  2. Incipit: Aaudate [initial "A" mistakenly drawn instead of "L"] dominum omnes gentes
  3. Contents: Liturgical Psalter incomplete and misbound; begins imperfectly with Psalm 116.2; contents following this are scrambled and fragmentary; five major divisions survive (fol. 36v: Ps. 26; fol. 72v: Ps. 51; fol. 91v: Ps. 52; fol. 132v: Ps. 97; fol. 136v: Ps. 101) as well as a division at the first Gradual Psalm (fol. 171r: Ps. 119); ends imperfectly with Psalm 147.16: Qui dat niuem sicut lanam nebu[lam]
  4. Decoration note: Large historiated initials fols. 36v, 72v, 91v, 132v, 136v, and 171r
fols. 194r - 213r:
  1. Title: Canticles
  2. Incipit: [Ego dixi...] Generatio mea ablata est
  3. Contents: Incomplete; begins imperfectly
fols. 213r - 218r:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  3. Contents: Fols. 213r-216r: litany, with combination of Northern French and Southern Netherlandish saints, notably Piatus (Tournai), Audomar (St. Omer), and Bavo (Ghent); sixteen apostles from John the Baptist to Mark; twenty-nine martyrs, including Dionysius, Gereon, Lambert, Quintinus, Boniface, Livin, and Piatus; seventeen confessors, including Remigius, Anthony, Donatian, Basil, Benedict, Nicholas, Leonard, Amandus, Audomar, and Bavo; nine virgins, including Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Christina, and Gertrude; fols. 216 r-v: Petitions and invocations; fols. 216v-218r: six collects
fols. 218v - 218v:
  1. Title: Added prayers
  2. Contents: Prayers written in seventeenth-century hand over erased earlier inscription


fol. 36v:

  1. W.110, fol. 36v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with God blessing King David, who kneels in prayer before Him
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 10 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 26

fol. 72v:

  1. W.110, fol. 72v
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with King David pointing at devil
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 10 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 51

fol. 91v:

  1. W.110, fol. 91v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the fool biting loaf of bread
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 52

fol. 132v:

  1. W.110, fol. 132v
  2. Title: Initial "C" with clerics standing at altar
  3. Form: Historiated initial "C," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 97

fol. 136v:

  1. W.110, fol. 136v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with King David praying at altar; female donor pictured in prayer in right margin
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 101

fol. 171r:

  1. W.110, fol. 171r
  2. Title: Initial "A" with God holding T-sphere
  3. Form: Historiated initial "A," 5 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 119


The binding is not original.

Rebound with red velvet in Paris by Léon Gruel, late nineteenth or early twentieth century; originally sewn with five bands, re-sewn out of order with three cords; page edges re-gilded at this time; Gruel-made telescopic book box replaced by Walters conservation department 1986-87


Created for female patron (see kneeling female figures fols. 132v and 136v) ca. 1300-10; illumination style suggests Ghent, in the diocese of Tournai, or Saint-Omer, in the diocese of Thérouanne

Notations by later, unidentified owners throughout, datable to fifteenth through seventeenth centuries

Léon Gruel, Paris, owned in late nineteenth or early twentieth century; Gruel and Engelmann bookplate on pastedown of upper board, inscribed "No. 374"; same number, along with penciled "No. 5," on Gruel dealer description originally pasted to first flyleaf and removed by Dorothy Miner, now in file (but imaged with manuscript here)

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel between 1900 and 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Collection Leon Gruel. Paris, n.d; cat. no. 5.

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. 772, cat. no. 93.

Randall, Lillian M.C. Images on the Margins of Gothic Manuscripts. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966; p. 38 and passim.

Oliver, Judith H. Gothic Manuscript Illumination in the Diocese of Liège (c. 1250-1330), vol. 1. Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts from the Low Countries, 3. Leuven: Peeters, 1988; p. 152.

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. 74-77, cat. no. 224.

Gy, Pierre-Marie. "Bulletin de liturgie." Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 84 (2000): 513-544; p. 520.

Büttner, F.O. "Form and History: Der illuminierte Psalter im Westen." In The Illuminated Psalter. Edited by F.O. Bütner, 1-106. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2004; p. 31.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; 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.