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Walters Ms. W.934, Clothilde Missal

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Shelf mark



Clothilde Missal

Text title
Missel romain


Clothilde Coulaux, a young French woman living in German-occupied Alsace, created this manuscript in 1906, as described in a colophon accompanying her charming self-portrait on p. 173. All 174 pages are illuminated with a rich variety of imagery, including scenes of everyday life, music, feasting, courtship and child rearing, warfare, and regional architecture, combined with more traditional religious imagery. The latter often draw upon prints by Albrecht Dürer, Hans Holbein, and other early masters, as well as stained glass, sculpture, and liturgical instruments. Much of the other imagery, however, is uniquely her own. Paintings of her cat looking out a window, or of couples drinking together, add touches of whimsy and humor. Other images are more sobering, such as those of Habsburg eagles and Joan of Arc, and taken together with her choice to write in French while under German rule, suggest a struggle to define her national identity.


Dated June 29, 1906


Molsheim, France


As-written name: Clothilde Coulaux

Known as: Clotilde Coulaux


As-written name: Clothilde Coulaux

Known as: Clotilde Coulaux

Note: In her book, she spells her name the medieval way with an "h," but in documents of the period, her name is the more modern "Clotilde."






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

fols. 173 to 173:
  1. Transliteration: Ce missel romain fut achevé en l’honneur de Nostre Seigneur Jésus Christ le vingt-neuvieme jour de juin de l’an de grace mil-neuf-cent-six, fête des saints Apôtres Pierre et Paul, par Clothilde Coulaux demeurant en la cité de Molsheim rue Notre-Dame en face l’église paroissale.
  2. Translation: This Roman missal was made in honor of our Lord Jesus Christ on the twenty-ninth of June in the year of grace 1906, the feast day of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, by Clothilde Coulaux, resident of the city of Molsheim, on the street of Notre Dame facing the parish church.

Support material


Stiff parchment pages, coated in a heavy layer of lead white


Pagination: iii+174+iii

Paginated in ink in lower right corner just under frame


Formula: All single leaves, glued onto paper stubs

Catchwords: N/a

Signatures: N/a



8.7 cm wide by 12.4 cm high

Written surface

7.0 cm wide by 11.1 cm high

  1. Columns: 1-2
  2. Ruled lines: 29
  3. Lightly ruled in ink

fols. 1 - 174:
  1. Title: Missel romain
  2. Scribe: Clothilde Coulaux
  3. Artist: Clothilde Coulaux
  4. Incipit: In nomine Patris et Filii
  5. Contents: Roman Missal including the Ordinary of the Mass, with the Canon, Proper Masses for important feasts, a Marriage Mass, the service for Vespers, and prayers honoring the Holy Sacrament and the Virgin Mary
  6. Hand note: Stylized script modeled after cursive gothic book hand
  7. Decoration note: All 174 pages are illustrated in ink, watercolor, gold, and silver; twenty-eight full-page miniatures and over 20 large miniatures, with marginalia, grotesques, historiated and inhabited initials; devotional subject matter heavily focused on the Virgin and Child; other imagery includes Alsatian architecture, medieval-style scenes of daily life, courtship, child rearing, warfare, memento mori themes, and textile creation; red and blue line fillers; rubrics in red; text in black ink
fols. 1 - 40:
  1. Title: Ordinary and Canon of the Mass
  2. Incipit: In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritui Sancti
fols. 41 - 114:
  1. Title: Masses for liturgical feasts
  2. Rubric: La nativite de notre seigneur
  3. Incipit: Puer natus est nobis et filius datus
  4. Contents: Masses for liturgical feasts as follows: pp. 41-51: Christmas; pp. 52-62: Easter; pp. 63-70: Ascension; pp. 71-78: Pentecost; pp. 79-86: Assumption; pp. 87-104: All Saints; pp. 105-114: All Souls
fols. 115 - 132:
  1. Title: Marriage Mass
  2. Rubric: Messe de mariage
  3. Incipit: Deus Israel conjungat vos et ipse
fols. 133 - 164:
  1. Title: Sunday Vespers
  2. Rubric: Vepres du Dimanche
  3. Incipit: Pater noster
  4. Contents: Sunday Vespers, continuing with the Office for the major feasts of the Temporale
fols. 165 - 172:
  1. Title: Prayers honoring the Holy Sacrament and the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Saluts de tres Saint Sacrement
  3. Incipit: O salutaris hostia, quae caeli pandis ostium


The binding is original.

Contemporary binding of mottled tooled leather with silk doublures, gilt edges


Written and illustrated by Clothilde Coulaux in Molsheim, France (then under German rule); the colophon on p. 173 records that she completed her work on June 29, 1906, in Molsheim on the Rue Notre Dame, across from the parish church

Acquired by Dorine van Heerdt tot Eversberg, Fine Medieval Books, Amsterdam, before 2007

Maggs Bros., Ltd., London, 2014

Les Enluminures, New York and Chicago, 2014-2015


Museum purchase with funds provided by the W. Alton Jones Foundation Acquisition Fund, 2016


Coomans, Thomas, and Jan De Maeyer, eds. The Revival of Medieval Illumination: Nineteenth-century Belgium Manuscripts and Illuminations from a European Perspective (Renaissance de l'enluminure médiévale: manuscrits et enluminures belges du XIXe siècle et leur contexte européen). Louvain, 2007.


Principal cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Polidori, Elisabetta; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Herbert, Lynley; Tabritha, Ariel; 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.