Home > Digitized Walters Manuscripts

This document is a tranformation of a TEI P5 XML manuscript description incorporating images. If you have trouble reading special or non-Latin characters on this page, please make sure you have appropriate Unicode fonts installed and an up-to-date web browser.

Walters Ms. W.173, Book of Hours

Browse images (Browse images in a new window) | TEI in XML format

Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This large Book of Hours was created ca. 1440-50 in Bruges by the Masters of the Gold Scrolls. The original female patron was especially devoted to Franciscan and French saints, as evinced by the content of the calendar, litany, and suffrages. Although six images have been lost, the remaining seventeen miniatures and eight historiated initials are fine representations of the later work of the Gold Scrolls artists working in Bruges through ca. 1450.


Ca. 1440-1450 CE




Supplied name: Masters of the Gold Scrolls






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin. The secondary language of this manuscript is French, Middle (ca.1400-1600).

Support material


Medium to heavy-weight parchment; selection and preparation not finest quality; flyleaves are seventeenth-century parchment and are contemporary with binding


Foliation: i+106(+61 bis)+i

There are actually 107 folios, as there are two leaves numbered "fol. 61"


Formula: Quire 1: 6 (fols. 1-6); Quire 2: 4, with the first, third, fifth, and seventh folios added (fols. 7-14); Quire 3: 8, with the first and seventh folios added (fols. 15-24); Quire 4: 10 (fols. 25-34); Quire 5-6: 8 (fols. 35-50); Quire 7: 8, with fifth folio reinserted (fols. 51-58); Quire 8: 10, with one folio originally unnumbered and now numbered as fol. 61bis (fols. 59-67); Quire 9: 6, with first folio tipped in, and fourth and sixth folios added (fols. 68-76); Quire 10: 8, with first folio added (fols. 77-84); Quire 11: 6 (fols. 85-90); Quire 12: 8 (fols. 91-98); Quire 13: 8 (fols. 99-106)

Catchwords: Originally extant but now cropped; one still visible on fol. 84v, at edge of lower margin

Comments: Full-page miniatures have been inserted


17.2 cm wide by 25.7 cm high

Written surface

10.3 cm wide by 15.8 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 19
  3. Ruled in light mauve; layout does not apply to calendar: written space: 10 x 18 cm, 4 columns, 33 lines

fols. 1r - 106v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Hand note: Written in textura
  3. Decoration note: Nine extant full-page miniatures; eight large miniatures paired with eight historiated initials below them (6 lines); large decorated foliate initials in mainly gold, rose, and blue with white patterning opposite full-page miniatures (5 lines); smaller initials in same colors for secondary text divisions, versals, and KL in calendar (1-2 lines); foliate borders with flowers and berries running along outer edge of text throughout; more elaborate borders filling all margins around image pages and facing opening text pages; drolleries in upper right corners only within full foliate borders accompanying miniatures and opening text pages; blue, white, and gold line fillers with white patterning throughout; rubrics in red; text in black ink
fols. 1r - 6v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Jenvier a xxxi jour. le lune xxx.
  3. Contents: Calendar in French; less than half-full, graded in red and black; a combination of northern French and South Netherlandish saints, with focus on Franciscans; several names in unusual forms; feasts/saints of note include: Circumcision ("le jour de Ian," Jan. 1), Blavius ("blaue," Feb. 3), Valeric ("Walri," Apr. 1), Leo I ("lion," Apr. 10, normally Apr. 11), Eligius (June 25), Margaret ("magrite," July 20), Mary Magdalene (July 22, maybe added as ink does not match other entries), James the Greater and Christopher ("iaque" and "xristofre," July 25), Clare (Aug. 5 and Aug. 12), Bartholomew ("bietremieu," Aug. 24), Aegydius ("gile," Sept. 1), Lambert (Sept. 26, normally Sept. 19), Piatus and Remigius (Oct. 1), Dionysius (Oct. 9), Donatian ("donas," Oct. 14), Lucy ("lusse," Dec. 13), Thomas Becket ("thumas mr," Dec. 29)
fols. 7v - 14v:
  1. Title: Gospel sequences
  2. Rubric: Secundum johannem
  3. Incipit: In principio erat verbum
  4. Contents: Fols. 7v-8v: John 1.1-14; fols. 9v-10v: Luke 1.26-38; fols. 11v-12v: Matthew 2.1-12; fols. 13v-14v: Mark 16.14-20
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures fols. 7v, 9v, 11v, and 13v
fols. 15v - 20r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Rubric: Les heures de le crois
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Canonical hours headed in French; secondary headings in Latin
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 21v
fols. 21v - 25v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Holy Spirit
  2. Rubric: Les heures du saint esperit
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Canonical hours headed in French with exception of none (Ad nonnam); secondary headings in Latin
  5. Decoration note: Full-page illumination fol. 21v
fols. 26r - 67v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  3. Contents: Use of Rome; canonical hours headed in French, but secondary texts headed in Latin
  4. Decoration note: Eight large miniatures paired with eight historiated initials fols. 26r, 34r, 43r, 47r, 51r, 55r, 59r, and 64r
fols. 68r - 75r:
  1. Title: Devotional sequence
  2. Rubric: De sancta trinitate antiphona
  3. Incipit: Libera nos salva nos
  4. Contents: Fol. 68r: suffrage to the Trinity; fols. 69r-70r: Seven Last Words of our Lord (for female suppliant); fols. 71v-72r: suffrage to St. Nicholas; fols. 73v-74r: suffrage to St. Francis; fol. 75r: suffrage to St. Avia
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures fols. 71v and 73v; lacking miniatures for suffrage to Trinity (before fol. 68r) and St. Avia (before fol. 75r)
fols. 77v - 86r:
  1. Title: Seven penitential psalms
  2. Incipit: Domine ne in furore
  3. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 77v
fols. 86r - 90r:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Rubric: Letania sanctorum
  3. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  4. Contents: Fols. 86r-88r: litany, which reflects Franciscan devotion, and includes fourteen apostles/evangelists from Peter to Luke; ten martyrs, which include George, Christopher, and Adrian; ten confessors, including Benedict, Francis, Anthony, and Louis of Toulouse; fourteen virgins, including Mary Magdalene, Agnes, Lucy, Cecilia, Agatha, Margaret, Catherine, Barbara, Genevieve, Ursula, Petronilla, Christina, Anne, and Elizabeth; fols. 88r-89v: petitions and invocations; fols. 89v-90r: five collects
fols. 91r - 94v:
  1. Title: Fifteen Joys of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Les xv goies nostre dame
  3. Incipit: Douce dame de misericorde
  4. Contents: End of fifteenth Joy left incomplete by scribe; at end of opening prayer, there is a promise to recite these fifteen times while kneeling in front of an image of the Virgin
fols. 95r - 97v:
  1. Title: Seven Requests of our Lord
  2. Rubric: Les vii requestes nostre seigneur
  3. Incipit: Dous dieux doulx peres
fols. 98r - 104v:
  1. Title: Devotional sequence 2
  2. Rubric: Oratio beate marie
  3. Incipit: Obsecro te
  4. Contents: Fols. 98r-100v: Prayer to the Virgin (Obsecro te); fols. 100v-102v: Prayer to the Virgin (O Intemerata); fol. 102v: Hymn to the Virgin (Salve regina); fols. 102v-103r: Prayer to God (Concede nos famulos); fols 103r-v: Hymn to the Holy Spirit (Veni creator spiritus); fols. 103v-104r: Eight verses of St. Bernard (Illumina oculos meos); fol. 104r: Prayer (Omnipotens sempiterne deus qui ezechie)
fols. 104v - 106v:
  1. Title: French prayer to the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Je te requier dame sainte marie
  3. Contents: Randall notes in her catalog that this text is added, but there is nothing to indicate this in the manuscript: the illumination matches exactly preceding pages, and while the ink does appear slightly different, the last lines of the Latin text from the previous folio are written in it as well, and there is no visible break between that Latin text and the French text that follows; the script used for the French prayer is also consistent with the rest of the manuscript


fol. 7v:

  1. W.173, fol. 7v
  2. Title: St. John sharpening nib of pen
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Gospel sequences: John 1.1-14

fol. 9v:

  1. W.173, fol. 9v
  2. Title: St. Luke writing on scroll
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Gospel sequences: Luke 1.26-38

fol. 11v:

  1. W.173, fol. 11v
  2. Title: St. Matthew using inkwell held by angel
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Gospel sequences: Matthew 2.1-12

fol. 13v:

  1. W.173, fol. 13v
  2. Title: St. Mark checking nib of pen
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Gospel sequences: Mark 16.14-20

fol. 15v:

  1. W.173, fol. 15v
  2. Title: Crucifixion
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross

fol. 21v:

  1. W.173, fol. 21v
  2. Title: Pentecost
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit

fol. 26r:

  1. W.173, fol. 26r
  2. Title: Above: Agony in the Garden; below: Annunciation
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins
  5. Comment:

    A crucifixion scene has been painted on the host above the chalice in the Agony miniature.

fol. 34r:

  1. W.173, fol. 34r
  2. Title: Above: Betrayal and Arrest of Christ; below: Visitation
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Lauds

fol. 43r:

  1. W.173, fol. 43r
  2. Title: Above: Christ before Pilate; below: Nativity and Adoration of Christ
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Prime

fol. 47r:

  1. W.173, fol. 47r
  2. Title: Above: Flagellation; below: Annunciation to the shepherds
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Terce

fol. 51r:

  1. W.173, fol. 51r
  2. Title: Above: Christ carrying the Cross; below: Adoration of the Magi
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Sext

fol. 55r:

  1. W.173, fol. 55r
  2. Title: Above: Crucifixion; below: Presentation in the Temple
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None

fol. 59r:

  1. W.173, fol. 59r
  2. Title: Above: Deposition; below: Massacre of the Innocents
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Vespers

fol. 64r:

  1. W.173, fol. 64r
  2. Title: Above: Entombment; below: Flight into Egypt
  3. Form: Miniature above historiated initial "C," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Compline

fol. 71v:

  1. W.173, fol. 71v
  2. Title: St. Nicholas
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrage to St. Nicholas

fol. 73v:

  1. W.173, fol. 73v
  2. Title: St. Francis with stigmata
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrage to St. Francis

fol. 77v:

  1. W.173, fol. 77v
  2. Title: Last Judgment
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms


The binding is not original.

Bound in Belgium in the third quarter of the seventeenth century in red leather with gold tooled designs of foliage and eight-pointed stars; sewn on five double or slit-tawed straps at original stations; pastedowns of high quality, with gold foliate designs pressed into an orange ground; spine rounded and possibly backed, with parchment patch liners; gilded designs on raised bands as well as between, and gilt title reads "OFFICIUM BEATAE MARIAE"; pink and white endbands with edge-bead around core; page edges gilt


Created for use of Rome ca. 1440-50 for a female patron with special devotion to Franciscan and French saints; can be localized to Bruges through its artists, the Masters of the Gold scrolls

Jean-Baptiste Verdussen, Anvers, his bookplates (the design of which also served as his printer's device) on both front and back pastedowns, inscribed "TUTISSIMA VIRTUS PIETAS HOMINI"; Verdussen was a printer and book collector, and became the first director of the Royal Academy of Anvers; sold with his library in July, 1776, no. 30 on p. 18 of his catalog; copy in Oxford records buyer and price paid

Van Merlen, purchased from Verdussen sale in 1776, recorded in Oxford copy of catalog in manuscript after p. 18; there were generations of printers by the name van Merlen in Angers, where Verdussen was also a printer, so it is possible the van Merlen listed as purchaser was one of Verdussen's colleagues

Early nineteenth-century inscription in ink by unknown hand, assigning the book "No. 28" on front flyleaf i, r

Early nineteenth-century contents list in French (different hand from above) by unknown owner or book dealer on front flyleaf i, v

Count Alfred Werlé, Rheims, late nineteenth century until 1908, his bookplate with monogram and "No. 1776" on front pastedown; his sale, Paris, Feb. 5, 1908, no. 6 in vol. 2 of catalog

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased between 1908 and 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Catalogus librorum Joannis Baptistæ Verdussen. Auctio eorum publicè habebitur. Antwerp, 1776, p. 18, no. 30; see also accompanying manuscript page with sale information in Oxford copy.

De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 1. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1935, p. 794, no. 237.

Panofsky, Erwin. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. Vols. I-II. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1953, p. 122, n.1, p. 126, n. 1.

Dogaer, G., Flemish Miniature Painting in the 15th and 16th Centuries, Amsterdam, 1987, p. 31

Farquhar, James Douglas. Manuscript Production and Evidence for Localizing and Dating Fifteenth-Century Books of Hours: Walters Ms. 239. Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 45 (1987):44-102, pp. 48, 64, 75, figs. 7, 25, fol. 59.

Gifford, Melanie. "Pattern and Style in a Flemish Book of Hours: Walters Ms. 239". Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 45 (1987): 89-102, pp. 75. 80, 93, figs 25 and 41, fols. 59 and 56.

Owens, M.B., "Musical Subjects in the Illumination of Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century France and Flanders," PhD dissertation, University of Chicago, 1987, p. 389

Sinclair, K.V., Prières en ancien français. Additions et corrections aux articles 1-2374 du Rèpertoire de Sonet: Supplément, Townsville, Qld., 1987, no. 458, 504, and 846

Smeyers, M., A Mid-Fifteenth Century Book of Hours from Bruges in the Walters Art Gallery (Ms. 721) and Its Relation to the Turin-Milan Hours, 1988, p. 74

Wieck, Roger S. Time Sanctified. The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. New York: George Braziller. 1988, pp. 68, 190-191, cat. no. 45, fig. 45, fol. 26.

Orr, Michael T. Illustration as Preface and Postscript in the Hours of the Virgin of Trinity College MS. B. 11.7. Vol. 34:2. Gesta. 1995, pp. 164-165, fig. 5, fol. 26.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. III, Part I, Belgium 1250-1530. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1997, pp. 186-193, cat. no. 240, figs. 463-464.

Fox, Robert, edit. Discovering New Worlds. Eyewitness to History 4. London: The Folio Society, 2008.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Herbert, Lynley; 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.