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Walters Ms. W.99, Book of Hours

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Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours was produced in the first quarter of the fifteenth century in northeast France. The contents of its calendar point to Paris but include saints particularly associated with Soissons. The same association can be found in the Hours of the Virgin. The manuscript has a fairly standard cycle of miniatures but they are notable for the intricate patterning found in their backgrounds; most especially with the coils of vine scrolls that comprise the setting for Christ in Majesty (fol. 79r). In addition, several folios throughout the text contain marginal dragon-like creatures that can often be seen biting at their own wings. The original patron of the manuscript was male and his portrait can be found on fol. 157r accompanying a seated Virgin and Child.


First quarter of the 15th century CE


Northeast France (French 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, cream-colored parchment, well finished


Foliation: i+181+ii

Two sets of foliation: nineteenth-century pen foliation, upper right corners of textblock; modern pencil foliation, upper right corners rectos (used here)


Formula: Quires 1-3: 6 (fols. 1-18); Quire 4: 8 (fols. 19-26); Quire 5: 10 (fols. 27-36); Quire 6: 8 (fols. 37-44); Quire 7: 6, with first folio cancelled (fols. 45-49); Quire 8: 10 (fols. 50-59); Quire 9: 10, lacking the fifth folio (fols. 60-68); Quire 10: 8 (fols. 69-76); Quire 11: 2 (fols. 77-78); Quires 12-13: 8 (fols. 79-94); Quire 14: 6 (fols. 95-100); Quire 15: 6, with the first folio added (fols. 101-107); Quires 16-20: 8 (fols. 108-147); Quire 21: 10, lacking sixth folio (fols. 148-156); Quire 22: 12 (fols. 157-168); Quire 23: 8 (fols. 169-176); Quire 24: 6, lacking the sixth folio (fols. 177-181)

Catchwords: Catchwords on versos, first extant on fol. 26v



12.0 cm wide by 17.3 cm high

Written surface

6.2 cm wide by 9.2 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 13
  3. Layout does not apply to calendar: 6.8 x 9 cm, 6 columns of 17 lines

fols. 1r - 181r:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Hand note: Textura formata
  3. Decoration note: Eight extant half-page miniatures (9 lines) with decorative initial and matching foliate border; foliate initials in blue, pink, and gold marking divisions of text; decorative initials in gold against alternating blue and pink grounds at secondary divisions; line-fillers of blue, pink, and gold; rubrics in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1r - 12v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Janvier a. xxxi. iours. la lune. xxx
  3. Contents: Calendar full; graded in gold, red, and blue; contents suggest Use near Paris; of note are saints connected to Soissons: Aldegund (Jan. 29), Touchart (Feb. 19), Ivo (May 19), Chlothildis (June 3), Gervasius (June 19), Eligius (June 25), Louis (Aug. 25), Lambert (Sept. 17), Crispinus (Oct. 25), Nicasius (Dec. 14)
fols. 13r - 18v:
  1. Title: Gospel Sequences
  2. Rubric: Inicium sancti euuangelii secundum iohannem
  3. Incipit: In principio erat verbum
  4. Contents: John 1.1-14; Luke 1.26-38; Matthew 2.1-12; Mark 16.14-20
fols. 19r - 78v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
  3. Contents: Use of Soissons with the exception of antiphons at Lauds and Compline which have variants; Prime, Terce, and Vespers begin imperfectly due to images being excised
  4. Decoration note: Half-page miniatures fols. 19r, 32r, 55r, 60r, 73r
fols. 79r - 93v:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Rubric: Les .vii. psealmes. (fol. 78v)
  3. Incipit: Domine ne infurore
  4. Decoration note: Half-page miniature fol. 79r
fols. 93v - 100r:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Rubric: Letania
  3. Incipit: Kyrieleison
  4. Contents: Contents suggest Soissons; fols. 93v-97r: Litany, which includes twenty-one martyrs such as Rufinus, Crispin, Crispinianus, Quintinus, Nicasius cum sociis tuis, Christopher, George; eighteen confessors such as Remgius, Principius, Medard, Gildard, Ghislain; seventeen virgins such as Gertrude, Aldegund, Apollonia; fols. 97r-99r: petitions; fols. 99r-100r: collects
fols. 101r - 152r:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Rubric: Antiphona. psalmus.
  3. Incipit: Dilexi quoniam
  4. Contents: Use of Soissons
  5. Decoration note: Half-page miniature fol. 101r
fols. 153r - 156r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Rubric: Cy commencent les heures de la crois (fol. 152v)
  3. Incipit: ...[benedi]cimus tibi
  4. Contents: Begins imperfectly due to excised page
  5. Decoration note: Likely miniature excised before fol. 153
fols. 157r - 167v:
  1. Title: Verse prayer to the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Glorieuse uierge royne En qui par la uertu diuine
  3. Decoration note: Half-page miniature fol. 157r
fols. 169r - 178v:
  1. Title: Two prayers for the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Oroison de nostre dame
  3. Incipit: O intemerata
  4. Contents: Fols. 169r-173v: O intemerata; fols. 173v-178v: Obsecro te
fols. 178v - 181r:
  1. Title: Suffrages
  2. Rubric: De sancto anthonio antiphona
  3. Incipit: Da patris anthonii meritis
  4. Contents: Suffrages: fols. 178v-179v: St. Anthony; fols. 179v-181r: St. Sebastian


fol. 1r:

  1. W.99, fol. 1r
  2. Title: Marginal illumination with dragon
  3. Form: Marginal illumination
  4. Text: Calender: January

fol. 16r:

  1. W.99, fol. 16r
  2. Title: Marginal illumination with dragon
  3. Form: Marginal illumination
  4. Text: Gospel Sequence: Matthew

fol. 19r:

  1. W.99, fol. 19r
  2. Title: Annunciation
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins

fol. 32r:

  1. W.99, fol. 32r
  2. Title: Visitation
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Lauds

fol. 55r:

  1. W.99, fol. 55r
  2. Title: Adoration of the Magi
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Sext

fol. 60r:

  1. W.99, fol. 60r
  2. Title: Presentation in the Temple
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None

fol. 73r:

  1. W.99, fol. 73r
  2. Title: Coronation of the Virgin
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Compline

fol. 79r:

  1. W.99, fol. 79r
  2. Title: Christ in Majesty
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms

fol. 101r:

  1. W.99, fol. 101r
  2. Title: Funeral Service
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Office of the Dead

fol. 157r:

  1. W.99, fol. 157r
  2. Title: Seated Virgin and Child with kneeling male patron
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Verse prayer to the Virgin

fol. 169r:

  1. W.99, fol. 169r
  2. Title: Marginal illumination with dragon
  3. Form: Marginal illumination
  4. Text: Two prayers for the virgin

fol. 173v:

  1. W.99, fol. 173v
  2. Title: Marginal illumination with dragon
  3. Form: Marginal Illumination
  4. Text: Two prayers for the Virgin


The binding is not original.

Eighteenth-century, France, golden brown leather with gilt foliate tooling around outer edges of boards, on spine, and on turn-ins; spine inscribed in gold with "Heures Manuscrite"; blue silk ribbon bookmark


Created in the Soissons region of northeast France, first quarter of the fifteenth century for a male patron, pictured on fol. 157r

Duchess of Berry, France, before 1864, her ownership inscription on front pastedown, "Duchesse de Berry N8"

Jean Engelmann, purchased from Duchess of Berry sale, Paris, March 22 1864, no. 22

Gruel and Engelmann collection, Paris, bookplate on front pastedown inscribed "N. 3"

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. 785, cat. no. 180.

Sonet, Jean. Répertoire d'Incipit de prières en ancien français. Société de Publications Romanes et Françaises, 54. Geneva: Libraire Droz, 1956; p. 126 (cited by De Ricci no. 180).

Sinclair, Keith Val. Prières en ancien français: Additions et corrections aux articles 1-2374 du Repertoire de Sonet Supplément. Capricornia 7. Queensland: James Cook University of North Queensland, 1987; p. 173.

Wieck, Roger Seymour. Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. Exhibition Catalogue. Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery. NY: George Braiziller, 1988; cat. no. 18, fig. 63.

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, 1997; pp. 257-259, cat. no. 92.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Shartrand, Emily

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Brown, Emily; Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Valle, Chiara; 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.