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Walters Ms. W.218, Book of Hours (Cistercian)

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Book of Hours (Cistercian)

Text title
Prayer Book


This Book of Hours was created ca. 1440 in Hainaut for a female patron with Cistercian connections, which is suggested by long devotional sequences focused on the Passion of Christ and the Virgin, including indulgences, a litany with Cistercian affiliation, and various references to a female suppliant. Two devotional texts written by various scribes in Latin and French were added to the front and back of the book ca. 1450-1600. At the end of the front devotional text, on fol. 6v, there are sewing holes and strong impressions of a variety of pilgrim badges. The manuscript contains eight full-page miniatures, five of which were at some point protected by pieces of gauze that have been removed and are now in the WAM file.


Ca. 1440 CE


Hainaut (?)






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

Support material


Highly prepared medium- to heavy-weight parchment; calf skin (?)


Foliation: 120+i

Modern pencil foliation, upper right corners rectos


Formula: Quire 1: 6, all added early, with first folio as pastedown (fols. 1-5); Quire 2: 4, with first folio cancelled and fourth folio reinserted (fols. 6-8); Quires 3-4: 8 (fols. 9-24); Quire 5: 4 (fols. 25-28); Quire 6: 2 (fols. 29-30); Quire 7: 8, with seventh folio missing (fols. 31-37); Quire 8: 8, with fifth folio missing (fols. 38-44); Quires 9-16: 8 (fols. 45-108); Quire 17: 6, added early (fols. 109-114); Quire 18: 8, with second folio cancelled and 8th folio as pastedown, all added early (fols. 115-120)

Catchwords: Extant at lower right corner of folios starting on fol. 8v and ending on fol. 108v

Signatures: Mostly missing, visible remnant on bottom of fol. 87r



11.5 cm wide by 16.0 cm high

Written surface

6.2 cm wide by 8.4 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 15
  3. Layout does not apply to calendar: 8.4 x 8.1 cm, 5 columns, 16 lines

fols. 1v - 119v:
  1. Title: Prayer Book
  2. Hand note: Written in textura
  3. Decoration note: Eight full-page miniatures; decorated initials at Matins of Hours of the Cross, "O intemerata," and Seven Penitential Psalms (2-4 lines); at "K L" in calendar (3 lines); opposite full-page miniatures and at secondary text openings (2 lines); flourished initials at versals and selectively in Hours of the Cross, verses in rhyming devotions to the Virgin and St. Anne, Eight Verses of St. Bernard, prayer for midnight of the Nativity, pre-Communion prayers, Seven Penitential Psalms and litany, creeds, and final prayer (1 line); foliate borders around full-page miniatures and opposite full-page miniatures in Hours of the Cross, at "O intemerata," and at the first Penitential Psalm; line fillers periodically throughout; rubrics in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1v - 8r:
  1. Title: Prayers
  2. Incipit: O bone ihesu per tuam piissimam misericordiam esto michi ijesus... Supplico te deus piissime rex angelorum ut hic et ubique michi illum archangelum in auxilium mittere digneris
  3. Contents: Fols. 1v-2r: Two prayers to Christ; fols. 2r-4v: Prayer on the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin; fols. 4v-6r: Prayer to the Virgin, for female suppliant; fols. 5r-6r: fourteen invocations to Christ's head crowned with thorns, face, eyes, mouth and throat, ears, neck, hands and arms, chest, wounded side, knees, feet, his body on the Cross, blood, and soul; fols. 7r-8r: four prayers to St. Barbara, written by a different scribe
  4. Text note: Added ca. 1450-1500 CE in Latin and French
  5. Hand note: Different scribe on fols. 7r-8r
  6. Decoration note: On fol. 6v, which was left blank, there are sewing holes and strong impressions of a variety of pilgrim badges
fols. 8v - 20r:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarii
  3. Contents: Contents for Cistercian use; mostly full, graded in red, blue, and brown ink; saints and occasions of note include William (Jan. 10), Commemoration of bishops and abbots of the order (Jan. 11), Purification of the Virgin (Feb. 2, "ypapanti domini"), Robert and Hugh (Apr. 29), Peter of Tarentaise (May 8), Ivo (May 19), Commemoration of all members of the order (May 20, incipit of collect inscribed at right: "Omnipotens cui numquam"), Anne (Jul. 27, "Anne matris sancte marie"), Bernard (Aug. 27), Lambert (Sept. 17), All Saints (Nov. 1, "Festivitas omnium sanctorum"), Malachy (Nov. 5), Commemoration of founders of the order (Nov. 20, "Commemoration parentum nostrorum [added: coll(ect)a Deus cui proprium tuum]"), and Nicasius and companions (Dec. 14)
  4. Hand note: Various scribes
fols. 28v - 97r:
  1. Title: Devotional sequence
  2. Rubric: Ad plagam lateris christi
  3. Incipit: Aspectu divini lateris
  4. Contents: Fol. 29r-v: Two prayers to the wound in Christ's side; fols. 29v-30v: Devotions to the Holy Face; fols. 31r-33v: Two prayers to the Virgin, both for female suppliant; fols. 33v-34v: Five Joys of the Virgin; fols. 34v-35r: Prayer to Christ, invoking the Virgin, St. Michael, archangels, and nine orders of angels; fol. 35r: Five Aves to Christ, rhyming, on the Passion; fol. 35r-v: Prayer to Christ, for female suppliant; fols. 35v-37r: Prayer to St. Bernard; fol. 37r-v: Prayer to St. Mary Magdalene, for female suppliant; fols. 37v-39v: Prayer to the Virgin; fols. 39v-41r: Prayer to the angel who comforted Christ when he sweated blood and Prayer to God; fol. 41r-v: Prayer to St. George, rhyming; fols. 41v-42v: Prayer to the Virgin, daily recitation by cleric said in heading to have resulted in his salvation by the Virgin from Hell, heading in French on fol. 41v: "Chi apres sensieut une orison de notre dame le quelle .I. clerc tressoufissant disoit chascun Iour. par le quelle le benoite vierge le deliura des paines dinfer."; fols. 43r-44v: Two prayers to Christ; fols. 44v-46r: Prayer on the Sorrows of the Virgin by the Cross, rhyming, recitation said in heading to provide eight years and seven forty-day periods of indulgence granted by Pope Boniface; fols. 48r-49r: Prayer to SS. John the Evangelist, Peter, and Paul; fols. 49v-51r: Prayer to the Virgin; fol. 51r-v: Prayer to the Good Thief, for female suppliant; fols. 51v-52v: Prayer to Christ; fols. 52v-53r: Prayer to St. Michael; fol. 53r: Communion prayer, at elevation of the Host; fol. 53r-v: Prayer to guardian angel and prayer to God for forgiveness of the sins of the female suppliant; fols. 53v-60r: Three devotions to the Virgin, the third specifying ".N." for the name of suppliant; fols. 60r-61v: Seven Joys of the Virgin; fols. 62r-63r: Devotions to St. Anne, the first specifying her Five Joys; fols. 63r-65v: Four prayers to Christ, the first specifying the female suppliant; fols. 65v-68v: Prayer to the Virgin, for female suppliant; fols. 68v-75r: Prayers to St. John the Baptist (rhyming and for female suppliant) and St. Nicholas (for female suppliant), suffrage to St. Christopher, Eight verses of St. Bernard, prayer to God, and suffrages to St. Barbara and St. Catherine; fols. 75v-76r: Prayer to Christ on the Cross; fols. 76v-77v: Prayer for recitation towards midnight before the Nativity of Christ and Prayer to God; fols. 77v-95r: Confession and Communion prayers, six citing female suppliant; fols. 95r-97r: Prayer on the Seven Words of Christ from the cross, for female suppliant
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 28v
fols. 97r - 105r:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Rubric: Psalmus david.
  3. Incipit: Domine ne in furore
fols. 105r - 111r:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, collects, and Athanasian Creed
  2. Rubric: Letania
  3. Contents: Fols. 105r-106r: Litany, with contents supporting Cistercian use of the calendar, as evinced by John the Baptist as patriarch and prophet; as well as five apostles, namely Peter, Paul, Andrew, James, and John; eight martyrs, namely Stephen, Lawrence, Vincent, Thomas, John and Paul, and Fabianus and Sebastian; ten confessors, namely Martin, Nicholas, Peter, Malachy, Edmund, William, Benedict, Bernard, Robert, and Germanus; six virgins, namely Anne, Mary Magdalene, Agatha, Agnes, Catherine, and Ursula; fols. 106r-107v: Petitions, invocations, and cues; fols. 107v-108v: four collects, headed "oremus"; fols. 108v-111r: Athanasian Creed
fols. 111r - 113v:
  1. Title: Devotional sequence
  2. Rubric: Ad inungendum infirmum. Psalmus.
  3. Incipit: Beatus qui intelligit
  4. Contents: Fols. 111r-112r: Anointing of the infirm (cues to Psalms 40, 42, and 141); Prayer for assumption of soul after death, followed by versicle, thirteen cues to responsories, versicles, and Psalms 113, 104, 41, 131, 138, 140, and 141; antiphon; prayer to God for male and female suppliants; fols. 112v-113v: Cues to invocations after Seven Penitential Psalms, for female and male suppliants; prayer to God for soul of the Virgin, invoking St. Bernard and St. Benedict; fol. 113r-v: Apostle's Creed
fols. 114r - 119v:
  1. Title: Added prayers in Latin and French
  2. Rubric: Oratio devota sancti bernardi patris nostri.
  3. Incipit: Ave pater monachorum Speculum et regula vas virtutum et honor
  4. Contents: Prayers to St. Bernard, the Virgin, and the sacrament: fol. 114v: "Doulce vierge marie royne de pite/ habitacle et temple"; fol. 115v: headed "Oratio de sancta maria virgine"; fol. 116r: headed "Oraison a la glorieuse Vierge et ce Chante de (?) Devotion"; fol. 118v: headed "Sensuyt une oraison tres devote Au sainct Sacrement de lhostel"
  5. Text note: Prayers added between 1450 and1599 by several scribes
fols. 20v - 27r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Incipit: Patris lapientia
  3. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures on fols. 20v, 21v, 22v, 23v, 24v, 25v, and 26v


fol. 20v:

  1. W.218, fol. 20v
  2. Title: Top: Agony in the Garden; Bottom: Betrayal and Arrest
  3. Form: Full-page miniatures
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Matins

fol. 21v:

  1. W.218, fol. 21v
  2. Title: Mocking of Christ
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Prime

fol. 22v:

  1. W.218, fol. 22v
  2. Title: Flagellation of Christ
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Terce

fol. 23v:

  1. W.218, fol. 23v
  2. Title: Christ Carrying the Cross
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Sext

fol. 24v:

  1. W.218, fol. 24v
  2. Title: Crucifixion with Longinus and Stephaton
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: None

fol. 25v:

  1. W.218, fol. 25v
  2. Title: Deposition
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Vespers

fol. 26v:

  1. W.218, fol. 26v
  2. Title: Entombment/ lamentation
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Compline

fol. 28v:

  1. W.218, fol. 28v
  2. Title: Bleeding wound on cloth held by two kneeling angels
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Devotional sequence


The binding is not original.

Rebound in England or France in the sixteenth century; dark brown calf skin over wooden boards with top and bottom left corners beveled, top and bottom right corners missing; boards decorated with panel produced by roll; naturally rounded and backed spine; pink and green silk endbands


Created for a woman with Cistercian affiliation, ca. 1440

Ownership entry on back pastedown, ca. 15th century, "Cet prieres quandt vos auez/ tou dist lesses (?) moy la/ [name crossed out]"

Second ownership entry on back pastedown, 1583, "Gehoort Suster (?) de Grheuppize (?)/ Christiaens Zone 1583"

Possibly Leo S. Olschki, Florence, modern pencil notations and ticket with blue crayon "815" on front pastedown

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased 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. 789, cat. no. 200.

Sinclair, K. V., French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages: A Bibliographic Manuscript Guide, Second Supplement. New York: 1988; no. 5830.

Randall, Lilian M. C., "From Citeaux Onwards: Cistercian-Related Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery," in Studies in Cistercian Art and Architecture, Vol. 3. Edited by M. Lillich. Cistercian Studies Series 89. Kalamazoo, MI: 1989; p. 133, no. 22.

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. 139-47, cat. no. 233.

Vanwijnsberghe, Dominique. 'Ung Bon Ouvrier Nommé Marquet Cassin': Peinture et Enluminure en Hainaut avant Simon Marmion. Brussels: Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique, 2013; p. 80, figs. 82, 84, 88, 91, 92 (fols. 20v-21r, 28v, 22v, 24v, 21v, 23v, and 26v).


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Ransom, Allison

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Wallace, Susan

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Mergen, Christopher; 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.