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Walters Ms. W.263, Book of Hours

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Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours was completed ca. 1440-50, and likely destined for Tournai. The decoration of this manuscript includes two full-page miniatures, eleven extant smaller miniatures, one historiated initial, and one drollery. The illumination is in the style of the Master of Guillebert de Mets, although the work would have been completed during the closing stage of Mets' career. The Master of Guillebert de Mets' principal disciple was the Master of the Ghent Privileges, with whom he may have been in collaboration, as indicated by numerous comparisons (see Dogaer 1987, 33-37). This book begins with a full-page miniature depicting the Mass of St. Gregory, a folio that appears to have been relocated from its original placement just before fol. 180 to its current location as fol. 2. It should be noted that fol. 2 has experienced extensive paint loss and has since been retouched, although it is unknown by whom or at what time. The unpretentious illumination program could have been the reason for this switch, perhaps to make the manuscript more appealing for a potential buyer.


Ca. 1440-1450 CE


Tournai (?)


Supplied name: Circle of the Master of Guillebert de Mets






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

Support material


Parchment medium to heavy weight, of fair selection and preparation; modern repair of tear on fol. 179, penciled note at top reads, "dechiré"; front flyleaf i and back flyleaf i of modern parchment, bifoliate with facing pastedown


Foliation: i+183+i

Front flyleaf and back flyleaf are bifoliate with facing pastedown


Formula: Quire 1: singleton, with second folio tipped in, shifted from back of volume (fols. 1-2); Quire 2: 6 (fols. 3-8); Quires 3-5: 8 (fols. 9-32); Quire 6: 8, with fourth and fifth folios cancelled (fols. 33-38); Quire 7: 6 (fols. 39-44); Quire 8: 2, with first folio added (fols. 45-47); Quires 9-13: 8 (fols. 48-87); Quire 14: 8, with second and sixth folios cancelled (fols. 88-93); Quires 15-16: 8 (fols. 94-109); Quire 17: 8, with eighth folio added (fols. 110-118); Quires 18-22: 8 (fols. 119-158); Quire 23: 2, with third folio added (fols. 159-161); Quire 24: 8, with first folio added (fols. 162-170); Quire 25: 8 (fols. 171-178); Quire 26: 2, with first folio tipped in (fols. 179-181); Quire 27: 2 (fols. 182-183)

Comments: Three modern nineteenth- or twentieth-century pencil foliations on rectos, in upper and lower corners, mostly erased; most recent foliation at top right on rectos, used here


14.7 cm wide by 19.7 cm high

Written surface

7.2 cm wide by 10.7 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 14
  3. Layout does not apply to calendar: written space: 13.2 x 7.1 cm; 4 columns; 32 lines

fols. 1r - 183v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Hand note: Written in textura formata; additions on fols. 162r-182r in same script but written by a more competent scribe using rounded letter forms giving cohesive appearance to page, lesser quality thereafter
  3. Decoration note: Illumination in the style of the Master of Guillebert de Mets, ca. 1440-50; two full-page miniatures (inserted); eleven extant smaller miniatures (one inserted); one historiated initial; one drollery; decorated illuminated initials of burnished gold, on gray bole through fol. 161, on dark brown bole in additions: found at text openings below miniatures, at opening of Advent Office of the Virgin, at secondary text divisions; versals; "K L" in calendar; at prayer openings of texts additions; borders, gold burnished on tan bole (with some exceptions): at three openings marked by miniatures (fols. 9r, 17r, 58r), eight openings marked by miniatures (fols. 13r, 48r, 53r, 63r, 68r, 74r, 94r, 117r), around full-page miniatures of added texts, as well as around text opposite of full-page miniatures of added texts; line fillers of panel type in blue and/or mauve, crudely patterned in white, regular color division marked by gold disk at center; rubrics in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1r - 2v:
  1. Title: Poem on death
  2. Incipit: Tout est mort
  3. Contents: Poem on death, in French; added by owner before 1500 in upper part of what was previously a pastedown; 8 lines, written in brown ink; inscription reads, "La mort/ Tout est mort ou meurt ou mora/ En general je faiz mon cry/ Pas ung te non deschappera/ Tout est mort ou meurt ou moura/ Papes cardinaulx et prelats/ Princes rois de tous je dis/ Tout est mort ou meurt ou moura/ En general je faiz mon cry"; erasures below
  4. Text note: Consuelo Dutschke assisted in the search for other examples of this text
  5. Decoration note: One full-page miniature on fol. 2v; Full-page miniature was originally bound in the Devotional Sequence, immediately preceding Prayer to the Trinity, of the three modern foliation programs, confirmed transfer of single folio from before fol. 180 to front of volume: legibility of "359" is present on fol. 2 and "362" on fol. 182; folio likely moved by last binder to heighten visual appeal for potential purchaser
fols. 3r - 8v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Jenvier a xxxi. jours le lune xxx.
  3. Contents: Sparsely filled; ruled in mauve; graded in red and brown; names preceded by "Saint" or "Sainte" unabbreviated, very few followed by designations; contents indicate Tournai and Cambrai diocese elements; feasts of note include: Epiphany (Jan. 6, "Le jour des rois"), Valeric (Apr. 1, "Walri"), Peter martyr (Apr. 28, Dominican), Petronilla (May 31, "peronne"), Margaret (Jul. 20, "magrite"), Bartholomew (Aug. 24, "bietremien"), Piatus and Remigius (Oct. 1, "piat," "remi"), Francis (Oct. 4), Dionysius and Ghislain (Oct. 9, "denus [sic] guillain") Donatian (Oct. 15, "donaes"; variant date, Oct. 13: Cambrai, Oct. 14: Tournai), Maclovius (Nov. 15, "macut"), Lucy (Dec. 13, "lusse"), Stephen (Dec. 26, "esteuene")
  4. Decoration note: Three-color scheme, in red: names of months and number of days per month and moon, golden numbers, dominical letters "a," major feasts; in gold and blue alternately: abbreviated references to monthly divisions; in brown, with ocher-stroked capitals: regular feasts, dominical letters "b" to "g"; "K L" illuminated
fols. 9r - 12v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Rubric: De sancta cruce
  3. Incipit: Domina labia mea aperies
  4. Decoration note: One miniature on fol. 9r
fols. 13r - 16v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Holy Spirit
  2. Rubric: De sancto spiritu
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
  4. Decoration note: One miniature on fol. 13r
fols. 17r - 81v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Hore beate marie virginis
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
  4. Contents: Matins ends imperfectly in canticle, "Te deum laudamus"
  5. Text note: Headings for canonical hours in Latin, extant beginning at Prime; secondary headings in Latin and French
  6. Decoration note: Miniatures on fols. 17r, 48r, 53r, 58r, 63r, 68r, 76r, 94r, and 117r; one historiated initial on fol. 17r
fols. 82r - 92v:
  1. Title: Advent Office of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Chi commence lordenance del advent ensy que on le doit dire depuis le nuit del advent. iusque ale nuit de noel. A viespre.
  3. Incipit: Deus in adiutorium meum intende
  4. Contents: Text gaps after fols. 88 and 92; headings at secondary text divisions in Latin, instruction on seasonal liturgical use in French
fols. 94r - 107r:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Rubric: Psalmi penitentiales
  3. Incipit: Deus in aduitorium meum intende
  4. Decoration note: One miniature on fol. 94r
fols. 107r - 116v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrie eleison
  3. Contents: Fols. 107r-116v: Litany, format as for Use of Rome, with a few regional saints; sixteen apostles and disciples, from Peter to Mark, Matthew listed twice; sixteen martyrs, including Nicasius "cum s. tuis," Gereon "c. s. tuis"; seven popes and confessors, including Louis; seven confessors/monks/hermits/priests/levites, including Leonard; sixteen female saints (notable quantity), including Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Clare, Martha, Anne, Ursula; fols. 110v-112v: petitions, invocations; fols. 113r-v: Psalm 69 in full, ending "Gloria Patri"; fols. 113v-116v: sequence of invocations; nine collects
fols. 117r - 161v:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Rubric: Vigilie mortuorum
  3. Incipit: Dilexi quoniam exaudiet Dominus
  4. Contents: Office of the Dead, for Use of Rome; three collects at end of Vespers, one collect at end of Office, all headed "collecta" except the first on fols. 123v-124r: "oratio Deus cui proprium est misereri semper . . . . Inclina domine aurem tuam . . . . Fidelium deus omnium conditor . . . . [fol. 161r, explicit] Partem beate resurrectionis . . . / . . . requiescant in pace. amen"
  5. Decoration note: One miniature on fol. 117r
fols. 162r - 183v:
  1. Title: Devotional Sequence
  2. Rubric: Devote orison de nostre dame.
  3. Incipit: Obsecro te domina
  4. Contents: Incomplete devotional sequence, added early, headings in Latin and French; fols. 163-166v, and 167r-170v: two prayers to the Virgin: "Devote orison de nostre dame" and "Encore une devote orison de de [sic] nostre dame"; fols. 170v-175v: Four Gospel Sequences, the first headed: "Inicium sancti euvangelii secundum iohannem. Gloria tibi Domine"; last two are headed, "Secundum . . . ."; fols. 173, 174v: John 1:1-14, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 2:1-12, Mark 16:14-20; fols. 176-179v: Athanasian Creed: "Chi sensuit une devote orison a nostre signeur ihesu crist"; fols. 180r-182r: Prayer to Christ, closing formulas; fol. 182v: blank; fols. 183r-v: blank endleaf, later entries mostly effaced
  5. Decoration note: One full-page miniature on fol. 162v


fol. 2v:

  1. W.263, fol. 2v
  2. Title: Mass of St. Gregory
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Originally preceded Prayer to the Trinity in Devotional Sequence

fol. 9r:

  1. W.263, fol. 9r
  2. Title: Crucifixion
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross

fol. 13r:

  1. W.263, fol. 13r
  2. Title: Trinity: Throne of Grace
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit

fol. 17r:

  1. W.263, fol. 17r
  2. Title: Annunciation; Historiated Initial "D" with the Crucifixion
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines; historiated initial "D," 4 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins

fol. 48r:

  1. W.263, fol. 48r
  2. Title: Nativity-Adoration
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Prime

fol. 53r:

  1. W.263, fol. 53r
  2. Title: Annunciation to Shepherds and Shepherdess
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Terce

fol. 58r:

  1. W.263, fol. 58r
  2. Title: Adoration of the Magi
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Sext

fol. 63r:

  1. W.263, fol. 63r
  2. Title: Presentation in the Temple
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None

fol. 68r:

  1. W.263, fol. 68r
  2. Title: Flight into Egypt
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Vespers

fol. 76r:

  1. W.263, fol. 76r
  2. Title: Coronation of the Virgin by elderly God-Father
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Compline

fol. 94r:

  1. W.263, fol. 94r
  2. Title: Last Judgment, flaming Hell-mouth
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms

fol. 117r:

  1. W.263, fol. 117r
  2. Title: Funeral Service
  3. Form: Miniature, 10 lines
  4. Text: Office of the Dead

fol. 162v:

  1. W.263, fol. 162v
  2. Title: Virgin and Child enthroned
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Devotional Sequence: Obsecro Te


The binding is not original.

France, ca. 1900; brown morocco; resewn on five cords; spine rounded and backed; gilt title "HORAE" in second compartment, "GRUEL" in minute gilt capitals at tail; modern endbands in yellow and crimson silk; edges trimmed, regilt


Completed for Use of Rome, ca. 1440-50; illuminated in style associated with the Master of Guillebert de Mets and the Master of the Ghent Privileges, in Tournai (?); first owner probably female given the quantity of female saints

Numerous erasures, some entries partially reconstructable under ultraviolet light on fols. 1r, 2r, 12v, 16v, 93v: ". . . de boil[?]ville"; legible on fol. 182v "Cest katerin a graneville" ca. fifteenth century

Inscription added ca. nineteenth century; script imitating textura, "A nostre anne[?]"

Léon Gruel, Paris, ca. late nineteenth or early twentieth century

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel between 1895 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. 792, cat. no. 221.

Panofsky, Erwin. Early Netherlandish Painting. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1953; pp. 61, 121, 123.

Bowles, E. A. "A Checklist of Musical Instruments in Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Manuscripts at the Walters Art Gallery," Quarterly Journal of the Musical Library Association 32, no. 4 (1976): 719-726; pp. 721, 722.

Dogaer, Georges. Flemish Miniature Painting in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Amsterdam: B.M. Israël, 1987; p. 36

Owens, M. B. "Musical Subjects in the Illumination of Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century France and Flanders," Ph.D diss., University of Chicago, 1987; p. 443.

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, 1989; pp. 175-181 (ref. under cat. no. 238, W.263).

Clark, G. T., "The William S. Galzier Collection," Twenty-first Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library. Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts Acquired, 1984-1986, Including the Collections of William S. Glazier & Curt F. Bühler. New York, 1989; p. 147.

Clark, Gregory T. Made in Flanders: The Master of the Ghent Privileges and Manuscript Painting in the Southern Netherlands in the Time of Philip the Good. Turnhout: Brepols, 2000; pp. 21-23, 55-56, 59, 66, 68, 103 (nn. 2, 17), 105-108, 129, 133, 135-136, 139, 144 (n. 23), 181, 183, 192-194, figs. 15-20, illus. 52-53.

Luyster, Amanda. “Two Books of Hours: The Gold Scrolls Group, England, and Internationalism in the Fifteenth Century.” In Catholic Collecting: Catholic Reflections (1538-1850). Exhibition Catalogue, College of the Holy Cross and the Cantor Art Gallery, February 22-April 13, 2006, edited by Virginia C. Raguin, 89-101. Worcester, MA: Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross, 2006; pp. 92 (fig. 3), 93.

Clark, Gregory T. “Doornik aan de Schelde, Gand sur l’Escaut: Book Painters in Two Cities on One River in the Time of Philip the Good.” In Campin in Context‬: Peinture et société dans la vallée de l'Escaut à l'époque de Robert Campin, 1375-1445, edited by Ludovic Nys, Dominique Vanwijnsberghe, Xavier Fontaine, and Jacques Debergh, 255-264. Valenciennes: Presses universitaires de Valenciennes, 2007; p. 261.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbold, Rebekah

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

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.