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Walters Ms. W.111, Franciscan Liturgical Psalter

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Franciscan Liturgical Psalter

Text title


This Psalter was made for Franciscan use in Cologne in the late thirteenth century. It was owned in the late fifteenth or sixteenth century by the Augustinian nuns of St. Cecilia in Cologne, who added the calendar, the Breviary texts, prayers, and the Collect at the end. The manuscript is written in Latin and in the Ripuarisch dialect spoken in the Cologne region. The style of the historiated initials, as well as that of the bar borders topped with grotesques, closely resembles the style of Walters Ms. W.41 and of the two graduals made for the Franciscans of Cologne in 1299 by Johannes von Valkenburg (Cologne, Diözesanbibliothek, Ms. 1B, and Bonn, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. 384). It is a well-preserved example of High Gothic illumination in Cologne.


Late 13th century CE


Cologne, Germany






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

Support material


Medium-weight, cream-colored parchment; laid paper flyleaves


Foliation: ii+261+ii

Modern pencil foliation, upper right, rectos


Formula: ii, 1(8,-1), 2(8), 3(8), 4(22,-1,2,3,4,7(?)), 5(10), 6(12,-3), 7(10,-2,8), 8(10,-3), 9(10), 10(10), 11(10), 12(12), 13(12,-8), 14(10), 15(10), 16(10), 17(12,-4), 18(10), 19(12,-7), 20(12,-7), 21(10,-1), 22(10), 23(10), 24(10,-4), 25(10), 26(10,-9,10), 27(2,-1), ii

Catchwords: None

Signatures: Lowercase Roman numerals, first page of quire, lower left corner, rectos

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 8(2), 16(3), 24(4), 41(5), 51(6), 62(7), 70(8), 79(9), 89(10), 99(11), 109(12), 121(13), 132(14), 142(15), 152(16), 162(17), 173(18), 183(19), 194(20), 205(21), 214(22), 224(23), 234(24), 243(25), 253(26), 261(27). After the back flyleaves there are 5 stubs. Quire 4 is clearly not in its original structure, and it originally consisted of two quires. It is difficult to determine the structure of the quire, which has two centers, between fols. 27v-28r and 33v-34r. The remains of the first part of the quire (of which fols. 24-26 are extant) seem to have been stitched into the second part of the quire.


9.7 cm wide by 12.9 cm high

Written surface

5.5 cm wide by 7.9 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 17
  3. Written surface for added texts (fols. 1-23, and 261) is 8.5 x 5.5 cm; brown ink ruling for Psalter text only, ruling not visible for added texts

fols. 1r - 261v:
  1. Title: Psalter
  2. Contents: Original text of manuscript consisted only of Ferial Psalter (fols. 24r-260v); rest of manuscript added in late fifteenth or sixteenth century
  3. Hand note: Gothic bookhand (textura)
  4. Decoration note: Eight historiated initials in rose and blue against burnished gold grounds (6 to 8 lines); decorated initials with bar borders in gold on rose and blue grounds with white penwork (2 lines) for psalm incipits; single grotesques on tops of bar borders and initial tails; red or blue capitals begin each sentence; rubrics in red; text in black ink
fols. 1r - 7v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Contents: Text added late fifteenth or sixteenth century; for use of Cologne; incomplete: begins February 13; calendar half full, graded in red, blue, and black; use of Cologne: translation of Evergilisus (28 March); Evergisilus (24 Oct.) and Evergilisus octave (Oct. 30); Cecilia (Nov. 21) Cecilia octave (Nov. 26) dedication of the church (Sept. 22); Koull-Binsfelt family obits added in seventeenth century (fol. 6r-7r)
fols. 8r - 19v:
  1. Title: Breviary texts
  2. Rubric: In adventu Domini hymnus. In primo nocturno.
  3. Incipit: Verbum supernum prodiens a Patre
  4. Contents: Text added in late fifteenth or sixteenth century
fols. 20v - 23v:
  1. Title: Prayers
  2. Incipit: Christus resurgens ex mortuis iam non moritur
  3. Contents: Text added late fifteenth or sixteenth century; rubric on fol. 21r begins "item per felici statu archiepiscopi coloniensis"
fols. 24r - 260v:
  1. Title: Ferial Psalter
  2. Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
  3. Contents: Ferial Psalter for Franciscan use, with a suffrage to St. Francis on fol. 61v; incomplete: Psalm 1 (between fols. 25 and 26) and the beginning of Psalm 109 (between fols. 204 and 205) missing; historiated initials at Psalms 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97
  4. Decoration note: Historiated initials fols. 24r, 69r, 93r, 108v, 13v, 132r, 158r, 178r
fols. 261r - 261v:
  1. Title: Collect
  2. Incipit: Pietate tua quaesumus Domine nostrorum
  3. Contents: Text added late fifteenth or sixteenth century


fol. 24r:

  1. W.111, fol. 24r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with woman holding an ointment jar
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 7 lines
  4. Text: Sunday Matins

fol. 69r:

  1. W.111, fol. 69r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with David pointing to his eye before face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D,"7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 26

fol. 93r:

  1. W.111, fol. 93r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with pilgrim below face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 8 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 38

fol. 108v:

  1. W.111, fol. 108v
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with David enthroned with orb and sword
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 51

fol. 113v:

  1. W.111, fol. 113v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with fool holding a club and eating a loaf of bread
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 52

fol. 132r:

  1. W.111, fol. 132r
  2. Title: Initial "S" with David bathing in the sea and God blessing
  3. Form: Historiated initial "S," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 68

fol. 158r:

  1. W.111, fol. 158r
  2. Title: Initial "E" with David playing bells
  3. Form: Historiated initial "E," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 80

fol. 178r:

  1. W.111, fol. 178r
  2. Title: Initial "C" with two clerics at a lectern
  3. Form: Historiated initial "C," 5 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 97


The binding is not original.

Flemish, sixteenth century, beech boards covered in brown calf leather, blind-tooled Renaissance motifs; corner and edges of binding restored; one sixteenth-century brass clasp remaining; Turk head fore-edge markers made of parchment in red, white, and blue


Made for Franciscan use in Cologne, Germany, late thirteenth century; Ripuarisch dialect points to Cologne region

Nuns of St. Cecilia in Cologne, late fifteenth or sixteenth century; nuns added fols. 1-23 and 261; Cologne rubric on fol. 21r; suffrage to St. Cecilia on fol. 23v, and calendar has rubricated feast of St. Cecilia on fol. 6v: summum festum

Susanna Koull, seventeenth century; her name on front pastedown and Koull-Binsfelt family obits in calendar on fols. 6r-7r

Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1931, obtained from L.S. Olschki no. 24; bookplate on front pastedown


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1935, vol. 1, p. 772, cat. no. 95

Oliver, Judith. "The Mosan Origin of Johannes von Valkenburg." Wallraf Richartz Jahrbuch 40 (1978): pp. 23-37, pp. 27-30 (fol. 24r)

Oliver, Judith. "The French Gothic Style in Cologne: Manuscripts before Johannes von Valkenburg." Vol. 1, Miscellanea Neerlandica: Opstellen voor Dr. Jan Deschamps ter Gelegenheid van Zijn Zeventigste Verjaardag, edited by Elly Cokx-Indestege and Frans Hendrickx. Leuven: E. Peeters, 1987, pp. 381-396, p. 394.

Oliver, Judith. Gothic Manuscript Illumination in the Diocese of Liège (ca. 1250-1330). Vol. 1. Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 1988, p. 176


Principal catalogers: Herbert, Lynley; Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editors: Dibble, Charles; Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Davis, Lisa Fagin; Dutschke, Consuelo; Emery, Doug; Hamburger, Jeffrey; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-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.