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Walters Ms. W.149, Two leaves from the Mirror of human salvation

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Two leaves from the Mirror of human salvation

Text title
Speculum Humanae Salvationis


This a fragment of a manuscript that was made in Germany in the late fourteenth century. It was part of a brightly illuminated copy of a popular anonymous treatise called the Speculum humanae salvationis, or Mirror of human salvation, in which events of the Old Testament were compared to those of the New. In this example, as was often the case, each column is headed by a miniature. These pages were reused as a wrapper for a book at some later time. The ghosting of the book it adorned can still be seen in the dark, abraded portion that spans the two pages. By the nineteenth century, the value of the pages was recognized, and they were restored to their state as a bifolium.


Late 14th century CE








The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Medium weight, cream-colored parchment with discoloration in center from reuse as book cover


Foliation: 2

Pencil foliation "1" on first blank page in lower right corner


Formula: Bifolium

Catchwords: None

Comments: Since the text is continuous, this seems to have been the central bifolium of a quire


22.8 cm wide by 30.9 cm high

Written surface

19.8 cm wide by 15.0 cm high

  1. Columns: 2
  2. Ruled lines: 28-29

fols. 1v - 2v:
  1. Title: Speculum Humanae Salvationis
  2. Incipit: In praecedenti capitulo audivimus
  3. Contents: Fragmentary; contains Chapter 6 in full, and Chapter 7 to line 56 ("Rubus sustinuit ignem et non perdidit viriditatem")
  4. Hand note: Semi-formal cursive hybrid bookhand
  5. Decoration note: Six miniatures over three pages, with two side-by-side on the top half of each page, painted in green, red, and brown washes with silver accents; rubrics and image captions in red; text in black ink


fol. 1v:

  1. W.149, fol. 1v
  2. Title: The Marriage of the Virgin and the Marriage of Sarah and Tobias
  3. Form: Column miniatures
  4. Text: Chapter 6

fol. 2r:

  1. W.149, fol. 2r
  2. Title: The Tower of Baris and The Tower of David
  3. Form: Column miniatures
  4. Text: Chapter 6

fol. 2v:

  1. W.149, fol. 2v
  2. Title: The Annunciation and Moses at the Burning Bush
  3. Form: Column miniatures
  4. Text: Chapter 7


Originally part of a manuscript created in Germany, late fourteenth century

Bifolium reused as wrapper for later book at an unknown place and time

Franz Trau collection, Vienna, Austria, until 1905

Ludwig Rosenthal, purchased from Franz Trau, Munich, October 27-28, 1905, no. 82 for 920 kronens

Leonardo Olschki, Italy, purchased from Ludwig Rosenthal, November 22, 1905 for 862.55 marks

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Olschki, no. 29361, for 1185 lire


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Schwarz, Franz Joseph. Archive fuer christliche Kunst. Stuttgart: Kommissionsverlag "Deutsches volksblatt," 1884, pp. 87-88.

De Ricci, Seymour. "Errata and Addenda." In Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 2. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1937, p. 2292 (ref. to p. 821, cat. no. 390).


Catalogers: Herbert, Lynley; Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Joyal, Stephanie

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Dutschke, Consuelo; 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.