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Walters Ms. W.786, Processional

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Shelf mark




Text title


This manuscript contains liturgical music to be sung during processions. It is exceptional because of its "album" format (10 x 14.5 cm), which is in part the result of a severe cropping of the folios. The book was made in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century in Germany. Its continued use is evident from the seventeenth- or eighteenth-century addition of paper folios containing prayers and music. Music is written in Gothic notation on three five-line staves per folio. The first folio is illuminated with a foliate initial for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.


Late 15th-early 16th century CE (fols. 1-51); 18th century CE (fols. I-Z)


Germany (Munich?)







The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Medium to thin parchment, trimmed on top; significantly stained from use; laid paper additions at both ends of the manuscript; the first three paper leaves at the beginning of the book, and the last three pages at the end, are heavier than the others, and were likely the flyleaves that came with the binding; the very first and last flyleaves were originally used as pastedowns; the fourth paper leaf in the front was not one of the flyleaves, and is sewn to the first parchment leaf; watermarks on fol. J; paper repairs throughout the book


Foliation: iii+67+iii

Four paper folios at the beginning are foliated with numbers (fols. 1 to 4) in pencil on top right corner, rectos; foliation starts over with the parchment folios, which have been numbered 1-51 in pencil on top right corner, rectos; the paper folios at the end of the manuscript are foliated with capitalized letters (fols. I to Z) on top right corner, rectos


Formula: 1(4,-1), 2(4,-4), 3(6), 4(2), 5(6), 6(2), 7(6), 8(2), 9(6), 10(2), 11(6), 12(2), 13(6), 14(4,-2,-4), 15(8), 16(8), 17(4,-4)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Quire 2 is composed of a paper folio sewn onto a parchment bifolium; quire 15 is composed of one parchment leaf and seven paper leaves; quires 15 and 16 are largely pieced together from individual sheets; quires begin on fols. i(1), iv(2), 3(3), 9(4), 11(5), 17(6), 19(7), 25(8), 27(9), 33(10), 35(11), 41(12), 43(13), 49(14), 51(15), P(16), X(17)


14.2 cm wide by 9.2 cm high

Written surface

11.0 cm wide by 6.8 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 3
  3. Three five-line staves with musical notation; layout does not apply to flyleaves

fols. 1r - 51v:
  1. Title: Processional
  2. Rubric: In festo Purificationis beate Marie virginis. ad. processio.
  3. Incipit: Ave gratia plena Dei genitrix
  4. Contents: Antiphons for liturgical feast days: fols. 1r-8r: Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (rubric on fol. 1r, reads, "In festo purificationis beate Marie virginis"); fols. 8r-18r: Feast of the Palms (rubric on fol. 8r, "In die Palmarium ad processionem"); fols. 18r-19v: Liturgy of Good Friday (rubric on fol. 18r, "In die Parasce"); fols. 19v-22v: Visit to the Tomb (rubric on fol. 19v, "In Visitatione Sepulchri"); fols. 22v-27v: Easter (rubric on fol. 22v, "In die sancto"); fols. 28r-30r: Ascension (rubric on fol. 28r, "In die Ascensio"); fols. 30r-31v: Pentecost (rubric on fol. 30r, "In die Penthe"); fols. 31v-35r: Feast of the Holy Trinity (rubric on fol. 31v, "De Sancta et Individua Trinitate"); fols. 35r-40v: the Most Blessed Sacrament (rubric on fol. 35r, "In Die Venerabilis Sacramenti"); fols. 40v-43v: Dedication of the Church (rubric on fol. 40v, "In Dedicatione Ecclesie"); the text is incomplete; fols. 44r-51v: Burial Service; (lost beginning); paper front flyleaves write two prayers in eighteenth-century cursive "Post Te Deum Laudamus" on front flyleaf iii,v, and "In Morte Pashcali" on front flyleaf iv,r; musical notation on front flyleaves ii,v and iii,r, and iv,v
  5. Text note: Text gaps after fols. 33, 34, 44, 45, and 46
  6. Hand note: Gothic notation on a five-line staff; each staff has both a C clef and an F clef on its left
  7. Decoration note: One decorated initial (2 staves); foliate ornament at fore-edge on the same folio; rubrics in red; text and music notation in brown ink
fols. Ir - Zv:
  1. Title: Seventeenth/eighteenth-century processional
  2. Incipit: Cum regina gloriae Maria
  3. Contents: Fols. I-W text additions incomplete; fol. Ir, incipit, "Cum regina gloriae Maria;" fol. Rr, rubric, "In Assumptione Beate Mariae Virginis Respons;" fol. Tr, rubric, "Responsorium de Nativitate beatae Mariae;" fol. Tv, "Hymnus de Domina nostra;" fol. Wv, rubric, "In die Assumptionis Mariae ad processione"
  4. Decoration note: Eighteenth-century paper additions of Processional with five-line staves; musical notation and antiphons in black ink; rubrics and initials at major text divisions in red


fol. 1r:

  1. W.786, fol. 1r
  2. Title: Decorated initial "A"
  3. Form: Decorated initial "A," 2 staves high
  4. Text: Feast of the Purification of the Virgin


The binding is not original.

Late seventeeth- or eighteenth-century brown leather binding; sides decorated with a border of triple blind fillets; at each corner are impressed three flowers; at the center, a diamond is made with this same tool repeated four times. One of two brass clasps hangs from lower cover; the other is missing.


Probably made in Germany in the late fifteenth-early sixteenth century

Owned by Margaret W. Hodges in the twentieth century up to 1977; front cover pastedown and note in pencil on front flyleaf ii,r


Walters Art Museum, April 1977, gift of Margaret W. Hodges


Huglo, Michel. "Souvenirs 'enchant├ęs' de la Walters Art Gallery." Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 54 (1996): pp. 1-8.


Catalogers: Valle, Chiara; Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Hamburger, Jeffrey; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


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