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.36, Touke Psalter

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

Shelf mark



Touke Psalter

Text title


This thirteenth-century Psalter was made in Bruges for a female patron. Lively vignettes fill the calendar, while large historiated initials of saints trampling their oppressors introduce the liturgical psalms. Added Easter tables, as well as birth and death inscriptions in the calendar, attest to the manuscript's presence in England by the fifteenth century, where it was used extensively by generations of the Touke family.


Ca. 1250-1260 CE


Bruges, Flanders






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

Support material


Medium- to heavy-weight parchment, well prepared, darkened from use


Foliation: iii+144+iii

Flyleaves are modern parchment; modern pencil foliation, upper right corners, rectos


Formula: Front flyleaves: iii; Quire 1: 2 (fols. 1-2); Quire 2: 6, lacking second and fourth folios (fols. 3-6); Quires 3-14: 8 (fols. 7-102); Quire 15: 8, lacking first folio (fols. 103-109); Quires 16-17: 8 (fols. 110-125); Quire 18: 6 (fols. 126-131); Quire 19: 8, lacking eighth folio (fols. 132-138); Quire 20: 6 (fols. 139-144); Back flyleaves: iii

Catchwords: Some traces of catchwords visible occasionally at lower right, versos (e.g., fol. 54v); light brown ink

Comments: Quire 1 was a later addition; possibly missing quire that would have had beatus leaf, but image may have been a singleton tipped in after fol. 6


16.5 cm wide by 24.1 cm high

Written surface

11.0 cm wide by 16.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 23
  3. Layout does not apply to the Easter tables (23-27 lines, 6-8 columns), the calendar (32 lines, 4 columns), or the litany (2 columns)

fols. 1r - 144v:
  1. Title: Psalter
  2. Hand note: Textura; Easter tables in littera anglicana formata in sixteenth-century hand
  3. Decoration note: Lacks one full-page miniature and one historiated initial; eight extant historiated initials (12-14 lines) mark liturgical psalms, some of which have been heavily rubbed (e.g., the face on fol. 38v); eight extant illuminations in calendar (14-18 lines); large decorative initials for "KL" in calendar and at beginning of remaining psalms throughout, with long descenders in gold against blue and beige grounds with white patterns (4 lines); elaborate descenders with thistles (?) and acorns uniquely found on fols. 109v-110r (Psalm 118), added for English owner in fifteenth or sixteenth century; versals in gold (1 line); added Easter table in red and black ink with yellow and green dividing bands; rubrics in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1r - 2v:
  1. Title: Easter tables
  2. Rubric: Littera dominicali; Aureus numerus; Annus xristi; Pro viginta annis et septem (titles of columns)
  3. Contents: Easter tables added in England; fols. 1r-2r: tables for 1540-1566; fol. 1v: table for leap year; fol. 2v: additional table for 1567-88 added on by different scribe; instructions for use written in English
  4. Hand note: Much later hand than rest of manuscript
fols. 3r - 6v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarius habet dies xxxi luna xxx.
  3. Contents: Incomplete; lacks pages with March/April (between fols. 3 and 4) and July/August (between fols. 4 and 5); calendar 1/2 to 3/4 full; all names in dark brown; Egyptian verses, naming which days are to be feared, head each month; erasures include Thomas of Canterbury (December 29) (fol. 6v) and added later birth/death dates of Touke family (fols. 3r and 5r); English instructions for calculating Lent added in the sixteenth century in red, fol. 3v; notable saints include Basil (January 1, added early on), Bertin (September 5), Michael (September 29), Basil (June 14, ordination), Remigius, Germanus, Vedast, Bavo (October 1), Benedicta (October 8), Rusticus (October 9), Donatian (October 14), Martyrs (November 3), Winnoc (November 6), Catherine (November 25), Three Hebrews in the Furnace (December 16)
  4. Decoration note: Each month has a labor depicted in enclosed miniatures, one per page fols 3r-6v
fols. 7r - 129v:
  1. Title: Psalms
  2. Rubric: fferia.ii. (later addition, England, fifteenth or sixteenth century)
  3. Incipit: ...qui non abiit
  4. Contents: Incomplete; ten-partite liturgical psalter (divided at Psalms 1, 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101, and 109); removal of images resulted in loss of text: full-page miniature excised at beginning, so missing first words of Psalm 1 (Beatus vir, awkwardly rewritten in fifteenth or sixteenth century at top of fol. 7r using pasted initial "B" from another manuscript); folio probably containing historiated initial removed between fols. 102 and 103, resulting in full loss of Psalm 109 and beginning of Psalm 110, the latter resuming on fol. 103r with verse 9, "[manda]uit in eternam"
  5. Decoration note: Lacking full-page miniature before fol. 7 and historiated initial between fols. 102 and 103; historiated initials fols. 26r, 38v (effaced), 49r, 50r, 61v, 75v, 89r, and 90v; added border decoration fols. 109v-110r
fols. 130r - 141v:
  1. Title: Canticles
  2. Incipit: Confitebor tibi domine
  3. Contents: Canticles in two groups; fols. 130r-137v: first group of six; fols. 138r-141v: second group of five
fols. 141v - 144r:
  1. Title: Litany, invocations, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrie eleyson
  3. Contents: Litany, invocations, and collects, with erasures throughout; fols. 141v-143v: Litany: large number of female saints; many Bruges saints; St. Francis unusually listed among confessors; thirteen apostles, beginning with Peter and ending with Mark (Luke is not included); seventeen martyrs including Marcellinus, Peter (canonized ca. 1253, listed twice and replaced by Sixtus second time), Marcellus, Maurice, and Nicasius; seventeen confessors, notably Gaugeric, Bavo, Amandus, Winnoc, and Francis; twenty-seven virgins, notably Mary Magdalene, Perpetua, Felicitas, Agatha, Amalberga, Aldegund, Walburga, Rictrudis, Ragenfredis, and Geneviève; fols. 143v-144v: invocations and nine collects
  4. Decoration note: Initials on fol. 144v repainted in fifteenth or sixteenth century


fol. 3r:

  1. W.36, fol. 3r
  2. Title: Seated man drinking from bowl with shoe in hand
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: January

fol. 3v:

  1. W.36, fol. 3v
  2. Title: Woman holding long candle for Candlemas
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: February

fol. 4r:

  1. W.36, fol. 4r
  2. Title: Falconer riding a horse
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: May

fol. 4v:

  1. W.36, fol. 4v
  2. Title: Man carrying bundles of wood
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: June

fol. 5r:

  1. W.36, fol. 5r
  2. Title: Man sowing
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: September

fol. 5v:

  1. W.36, fol. 5v
  2. Title: Man harvesting grapes
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: October

fol. 6r:

  1. W.36, fol. 6r
  2. Title: Man knocking acorns out of a tree to feed pigs
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: November

fol. 6v:

  1. W.36, fol. 6v
  2. Title: Man butchering a pig
  3. Form: Vignette
  4. Text: Calendar: December

fol. 26r:

  1. W.36, fol. 26r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with St. Peter trampling Nero
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 12 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 26
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "Petrus/Nero Cesar."

fol. 38v:

  1. W.36, fol. 38v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with St. John the Evangelist trampling Domitian
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 12 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 38
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "Johannes/Domicianus."

    St. John has been effaced.

fol. 49r:

  1. W.36, fol. 49r
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with St. Matthew trampling Hebeon
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 14 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 51
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "Mathias/Hebeon."

fol. 50r:

  1. W.36, fol. 50r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with St. James the Greater trampling Herod
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 12 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 52
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "Jacobus/Herodes."

fol. 61v:

  1. W.36, fol. 61v
  2. Title: Initial "S" with St. Simon trampling Hirtacus(?)
  3. Form: Historiated initial "S," 12 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 68
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "Symon/[Hirt?]acus."

    The first half of the second name has been partially erased, but possibly refers to Hirtacus, the man who executed St. Matthew.

fol. 75v:

  1. W.36, fol. 75v
  2. Title: Initial "E" with St. Matthew trampling Zaroes
  3. Form: Historiated initial "E," 12 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 80
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "[M]atheus/Zaroe[s]"

    Both inscriptions partially erased.

fol. 89r:

  1. W.36, fol. 89r
  2. Title: Initial "C" with St. Paul trampling Agrippa
  3. Form: Historiated initial "C," 12 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 97
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "Paulus/Agr[ipp]a."

    The second inscription is partially obliterated.

fol. 90v:

  1. W.36, fol. 90v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with St. Thomas trampling a persecutor
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 12 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 101
  5. Comment:

    The inscriptions on the scrolls read "Thomas/Misdeus."


The binding is not original.

Rebound in red-brown morocco in England by Lloyd, Wallis, and Lloyd in the nineteenth century; tooled fillets and florets on upper and lower covers; gilt inscription on spine reads "PSALTERIUM. ET CANTICA MS SAEC. XIII"; binder's name in small gold letters, bottom of inside upper board


Probably made in Bruges, ca. 1250-60, for a female patron (mostly female saints in litany)

Owned by Touke family, England, from the fifteenth through the seventeenth century; calendar contains mostly erased birth and death notations for Touke family: Thomas Touke, d. January 28, 14[?], [...] Touke, noted January 30-31, William Touke, b. September 26, 1416, Henry Touke (son of John Touke of Wilton or Wiston), d. October 19, 1412; English Easter tables for 1540-1589 added; seventeenth century(?) signature of John Touke at end of text on fol. 144v (now erased)

Lloyd, Wallis, and Lloyd, England, rebound manuscript in the nineteenth century

Léon Gruel collection, Paris, by late nineteenth or early twentieth century; sales slip in French in same hand as wrote Gruel's inventory; numbers once present on front flyleaf (now removed, see file)

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel between 1895 and 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


De Ricci, S., 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. 770, cat. no. 86.

Trésors des bibliothèques d'Écosse. Brussels: Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er, 1963. An exhibition catalog.

Randall, Lilian M. C. "Flemish Psalters in the Apostolic Tradition." In Gatherings in Honor of Dorothy Miner, edited by Ursula E. McCracken, Lilian M. C. Randall, and Richard H. Randall, Jr., 171–93. Baltimore: Walters Art Gallery, 1974, figs. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 11, 14, 24, 26 (fols. 3r–7r, 49r, 61v, 43v, 28v).

Carlvant, Kerstin. "Thirteenth-Century Illumination in Bruges and Ghent." PhD diss., Columbia University, 1978: figs. 18a–b (fols. 4, 49).

Carlvant, Kerstin. "Trends in Bruges Illumination until 1260: A propos a Psalter Connected with Ostkerke." Archives et Bibliothèques de Belgique 56 (1985): 321–63, fig. 17 (fol. 49).

Gy, Pierre-Marie. "Bulletin de liturgie." Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 84 (2000): 513-544; p. 520.

Bütner, F.O. "Form and History: Der illuminierte Psalter im Westen." In The Illuminated Psalter. Edited by F.O. Bütner, 1-106. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2004; p. 63 (n. 94).

Solopova, Elizabeth. "The Liturgical Psalter in Medieval Europe." In Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Psalms: Conflict and Convergence. Edited by Susan E. Gillingham, 89-104. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013; p. 90 (n. 5).


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Izer, Emily; Noel, William; Schuele, Allyson; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Wiegand, Kimber


The Walters Art Museum


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