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Walters Ms. W.277, Book of Hours

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Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours from ca. 1480 was possibly made in Tournai. The manuscript passed through the hands of several women, and while the first owner was anonymous, the text and imagery reveals she had Franciscan sympathies. An eighteenth-century inscription at the front of the manuscript suggests it was presented to Philippa of Guelders (ca. 1480-1562) by Pope Leo X upon her ordination at the Franciscan convent of Sainte-Clare in Pont-a-Mousson in 1520. The quality of the miniatures suggests that the artist was a novice, yet his expressive individual style and unusual marginalia, in which figures and animals hold scrolls inscribed with French phrases, provide the manuscript with considerable charm.


Ca. 1480 CE


Tournai (?), Flanders






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

Support material


Medium-weight calfskin parchment, selected and prepared with care; parchment still clean and well preserved; minor flaws and damage on the flyleaves


Foliation: ii+180+ii

Pencilled foliation in upper-right corners rectos


Comments: Additional quire added at fols. 16r-21v


15.0 cm wide by 20.5 cm high

Written surface

7.6 cm wide by 11.0 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 17
  3. Layout refers to all but calendar: written surface: 7.3 x 11.2 cm; 4 columns, 17 lines

fols. 1r - 180v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Hand note: Textura; text added early on fols. 16r-20v by different hand in more compressed textura
  3. Decoration note: Eleven full-page miniatures, with one added early (fol. 16); seven small miniatures depicting the Passion of Christ (7-8 lines); incipit initials on pages opposite full-page miniatures decorated with a rose-colored vine on gold (5 lines), exception on fol. 23 (8 lines); initials at "K L" in calendar and secondary text openings (2 lines); versals in gilded letters on dark-blue and rose backgrounds (1 line); rubrics and significant feast days in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 4r - 15v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Incipit: Jenvier a xxxi jours.et la lune xxx
  3. Contents: Calendar half full, graded in red and black; contains Franciscan and Utrecht feasts, possibly indicating a diocese of Cambrai: Epiphany (Jan. 6), Lucianus (Jan. 7), Agnes (Jan. 21), Ansbert (Jan. 24), Purification of the Virgin (Feb. 2), Apollonia (Feb. 8), Scholastica (Feb. 9), 79 Martyrs (Feb. 21), Bavo (Feb. 23), Epigmenus (Mar. 24), Dometius (Mar. 30) (which is rare, comparisons seen in ca. 1400 Utrecht calendars in PML M.917 AND M.248; ONB Ser. n. 12878), Firminus (Apr. 6), Ursmar (Apr. 18), Mark (Apr. 25), Elizabeth of Hungary (May 2), Ivo (May 19), Anthony of Padua (Franciscan) (June 13), Landelin (June 15), Vincent (previously count named Madelgar, husband of St. Waldetrudis (July 14), Anne (July 19), Romanus (Aug. 8), Gaugeric (Aug. 11), Bartholomew (Aug. 24), Maurice (Sept. 22), Ghislain (Oct. 9), Venantius (Oct. 11), Justus (Oct. 19), Brictius (Oct. 13), Anianus (Nov. 18), Edmund (Nov. 20), Lucy (Dec. 13), Valentine (Dec. 16), Gratian (Dec. 17), Didyus (Dec. 22), John Evangelist (Dec. 27).
fols. 16r - 20v:
  1. Title: Gospel Sequences
  2. Rubric: Iiniicium (sic) sancti evangelii secundum iohannem. Gloria tibi domine. (first word misspelled in manuscript)
  3. Incipit: In principio
  4. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 16r
fols. 22v - 31v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt hore sancte crucis
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 22v; decorated initial 'D' at the opening of the text; small miniatures at each devotional hour on fols. 24r, 25v, 26v, 28r, 29r, and 30v
fols. 32r - 36v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Holy Spirit
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt hore sancti spiritus
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Decoration note: Image of a woman with an inscribed banner on fol. 32r
fols. 37r - 37v:
  1. Title: Five Verses of St. Gregory
  2. Rubric: De saint grigore orison
  3. Incipit: Domine ihesu xriste adoro te in cruce
fols. 38v - 102r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  3. Text note: Headings for canonical hours begin with Lauds (fol. 57r)
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures on fols. 38v, 69v, 74v, 79v, 84v, 89v, 96v; saints and French inscriptions in the margins
fols. 102v - 126v:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany
  2. Incipit: Domine ne in furore
  3. Contents: Fols. 102v-114r: the Seven Penitential Psalms; fols. 114r-123r: Litany, heading reads "Letania" and indicates pro-French and Franciscan sympathy; fifteen apostles and disciples from Peter to Mark; ten martyrs; nine popes/confessors that ends with Louis of France; six holy men: Francis, Benedict, Anthony, Dominic, Louis of Toulouse (Franciscan), Bernardinus of Siena (Franciscan); ten virgins: Mary Magdalene, Agnes, Lucy, Cecilia, Agatha, Catherine, Barbara, Praxedis, Clare (Franciscan), Elizabeth (Franciscan tertiary); fols. 116v-121r: petitions; fols. 121r-123r: ten collects; fols. 123v-126v: Prayer to the Virgin
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 102v; decorated initial 'D' on fol. 103r
fols. 127v - 172r:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Rubric: Secuntur vigilie mortuorum
  3. Incipit: Placebo. Dilexi quoniam exaudiet dominus
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 127v
fols. 172v - 180v:
  1. Title: Suffrages and Eight Verses of St. Bernard
  2. Rubric: Dou saint esperit
  3. Incipit: Veni creator spiritus mentes
  4. Contents: Fols. 172v-173r: suffrage to the Holy Spirit; fols. 173r-174v: Eight Verses of St. Bernard and prayer for female suppliant; fols. 174r-180v: suffrages to SS. Michael, John the Baptist, Sebastian, Anthony abbot, Nicholas, Catherine, and Barbara


fol. 16r:

  1. W.277, fol. 16r
  2. Title: St. John on Patmos
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Gospel Sequences

fol. 22v:

  1. W.277, fol. 22v
  2. Title: Crucifixion
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Matins

fol. 24r:

  1. W.277, fol. 24r
  2. Title: Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
  3. Form: Small miniature, 7 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Prime

fol. 25v:

  1. W.277, fol. 25v
  2. Title: Christ before Herod
  3. Form: Small miniature, 8 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Terce

fol. 26v:

  1. W.277, fol. 26v
  2. Title: Flagellation
  3. Form: Small miniature, 7 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Sext

fol. 28r:

  1. W.277, fol. 28r
  2. Title: Christ carrying the Cross
  3. Form: Small miniature, 8 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: None

fol. 29r:

  1. W.277, fol. 29r
  2. Title: Deposition
  3. Form: Small miniature, 8 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Vespers

fol. 30v:

  1. W.277, fol. 30v
  2. Title: Lamentation
  3. Form: Small miniature, 8 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross: Compline

fol. 38v:

  1. W.277, fol. 38v
  2. Title: Annunciation
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins

fol. 69v:

  1. W.277, fol. 69v
  2. Title: Nativity
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Prime

fol. 74v:

  1. W.277, fol. 74v
  2. Title: Annunciation to the Shepherds
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Terce

fol. 79v:

  1. W.277, fol. 79v
  2. Title: Adoration of the Magi
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Sext

fol. 84v:

  1. W.277, fol. 84v
  2. Title: Circumcision
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None

fol. 89v:

  1. W.277, fol. 89v
  2. Title: Flight into Egypt and the miracle of the wheat field
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Vespers

fol. 96v:

  1. W.277, fol. 96v
  2. Title: Massacre of the Innocents
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Compline

fol. 102v:

  1. W.277, fol. 102v
  2. Title: Penitential David
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms

fol. 127v:

  1. W.277, fol. 127v
  2. Title: Raising of Lazarus
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Office of the Dead


The binding is not original.

Crimson velvet binding made ca. nineteenth century, possibly in England given the fastenings (see below); five bands with original sewing; spine rounded naturally; endbands in light pink silk; gilt edges with red and green vines, as well as birds and white, red, and blue flowers; center fore-edge containing 'Ihs' monogram, ca. eighteenth century (?); possible traces of earlier single-fastening at center fore-edge on first and last folios of textblock; two engraved edge-pin fastenings by R. Garrard (London, 1844-45), with "R G" monogram at the bottom of clasps


Made in Flanders, possibly Tournai based upon illumination style, ca. 1480; for use of Rome, possibly Franciscan

First owner, ca. 1480, likely female as fol. 32r depicts St. Agnes; Franciscan and pro-French sympathy seen in fols. 32r-102v

Philippa of Guelders (ca. 1480-1562), France, 1520; Pope Leo X believed to have presented this book to her upon entrance into the Franciscan convent of Ste. -Clare in Pont-a-Mousson (eighteenth-century inscription by later owner Nicolas-Joseph Bauchon in decorative medallion on fol. 2r relates this story); engraved bookplate dated 1686 added onto front pastedown at time of rebinding depicts Philippa of Guelders, the widowed queen of Duke Rene of Sicily (d. 1508) in a nun's habit

Nicolas-Joseph Bauchon, France, received the book in 1796 (decorated medallion on fol. 3r records event); Bauchon also added the medallions on fols. 2r and 179v

"No. 1800" inscribed on fol. 180v, ca. 1800

Pencilled notations added ca. 1800: "D R." (fol. iv) and "No. 9" (fol. 1r)

Leo S. Olschki collection, Florence, ca. 1900; Olschki's inventory number written on fol. 1r: "79/32942"

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Leo S. Olschki ca. 1912 (WAM archives, no. 79 in the shipping list)


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. 802, cat. no. 290.

Bowles, E. A., "A Checklist of Musical Instruments in Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Manuscripts at the Walters Art Gallery", Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, 1976, p. 723-724.

Owens, M.B., "Musical Subjects in the Illumination of Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century France and Flanders", PhD dissertation, University of Chicago, 1987, pp. 452-453.

Randall, Lillian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 3, Belgium, 1250-1530. Part 2. Baltimore, London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1997; pp. 401-407, cat. no. 278.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Bucca, Lauren

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Ransom, Allison; 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.