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Walters Ms. W.220, Book of Hours

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Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours was created ca. 1450-55 in Bruges by Willem Vrelant and associates. It was commissioned for its first owners, a husband and wife, who are depicted on fols. 138r and 150v, respectively. This book contains eighteen extant miniatures, including many unusual thematic depictions, such as the Buffeting of Christ (fol. 24r) in the Hours of the Cross, and a very Dürer-like depiction of the Holy Face in the Suffrages (fol. 146r).


Ca. 1450-1455 CE




Authority name: Vrelant, Willem, -1481

Supplied name: Willem Vrelant and associates






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Thin to medium-weight, well-finished parchment


Foliation: i+231+i

Modern pencil foliation upper right corners, rectos


Formula: Quire 1: 12 (fols. 1-12); Quire 2: 10, with first folio tipped in (fols. 13-23); Quire 3: 10 (fols. 24-33); Quire 4-8: 8 (fols. 34-73); Quires 9-11: 10 (fols. 74-103); Quires 12-17: 8 (fols. 104-151); Quire 18: 6 (fols. 152-157); Quires 19-21: 8 (fols. 158-181); Quire 22: 10 (fols. 182-191); Quires 23-27: 8 (fols. 192-231)

Catchwords: Extant on last verso of each quire starting on fol. 33v

Signatures: Somewhat extant in lower right corner of rectos in first half of quire, notably fol. 16r and fol. 42r



10.0 cm wide by 15.4 cm high

Written surface

4.9 cm wide by 7.0 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 14
  3. Ruled in pale mauve; layout does not apply to calendar: written space: 4.8 x 6.9 cm, 3 columns, 17 lines

fols. 1r - 231v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Artist: Vrelant, Willem, -1481
  3. Hand note: Written in littera cursiva formata
  4. Decoration note: Eighteen large miniatures (two full-page); decorated initials at major text openings below miniatures (5 lines); small decorated initials at eight text openings (3-4 lines); flourished initials at secondary text openings, "K L" in calendar and versals (2 lines); foliate borders surrounding miniatures with marginalia on pages with double-page miniatures; line fillers mostly in litany (1 line); rubrics in red; text in brown ink
fols. 1r - 12v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarius habet dies xxxi. luna vero. xxx.
  3. Contents: Full calendar; graded in rose and dark brown ink; contents suggest Bruges; saints of note include Geneviéve (Jan. 3), Hyacinth (Jan. 30), Amandus (Feb. 6), Annunciation to the Virgin (Mar. 12, also Mar. 25), Eligius (Jun. 25), Amalberga (Jul. 10), Donatian (Aug. 30), Peter (Oct. 29), Eligius (Dec. 1), Felix (Dec. 22)
fols. 14r - 23r:
  1. Title: Gospel sequences and prayers
  2. Contents: Fols. 14r-20v: Gospel sequences for John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark; fols. 21r-23r: Seven prayers for reciting when retiring to bed, awakening, and arising
  3. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 14r
fols. 24r - 27v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  3. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 24r
fols. 27v - 42r:
  1. Title: Devotional Sequence
  2. Rubric: Hic incipiunt hore sancti spiritus
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Fols. 28r-32r: Hours of the Holy Spirit, headed on fol. 27v; fols. 32r-39v: Mass of the Virgin, two prayers including Oracio (fol. 38v) and Alia Oracio (fol. 39r); fols. 39v-42r: Prayer on Sorrow of the Virgin by the Cross
  5. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 28r
fols. 42r - 112r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Artist: Vrelant, Willem, -1481
  3. Rubric: Hic Incipiunt hore beatissime virginis marie Secundum usum Romane ecclesie. et primo ad matutinas.
  4. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  5. Decoration note: Double-page miniature on fols. 42v-43r; large miniatures on fols. 64r, 77r, 84r, 89r, 94r, and 99r
fols. 112v - 137r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt hore de compassione
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 113r
fols. 137r - 145r:
  1. Title: Two prayers to the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Oratio devota ad beatam gloriosam virginem mariam
  3. Incipit: Obsecro te
  4. Contents: Fol. 138v: Obsecro te; fol. 142r: O Intemerata
  5. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 138v
fols. 145r - 157v:
  1. Title: Suffrages and prayers
  2. Rubric: Ad ymaginem domini nostri ihesu.
  3. Incipit: Salve sancta facies nostri salvatoris
  4. Contents: Fols. 145r-147v: Suffrage to the Holy Face; fols. 147v-152r: Suffrages to John the Baptist (fol. 147v), All Angels (fols. 148v-150r), and Catherine (fols. 150r-152r); fols. 152r-157v: Prayers for entering or passing a cemetery, entering a church, and Communion
  5. Decoration note: Large miniatures on fols. 146r, 148r, and 150v
fols. 157v - 170v:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt septem psalmi penitenciales
  3. Incipit: Domine ne in furore tuo
  4. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 158r
fols. 170v - 186r:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  3. Contents: Fols. 170v-177r: Litany, including invocations to the Trinity, the Virgin, and All Saints, as well as atypical citation for St. John the Baptist; six apostles and evangelists, including Peter, Paul, Andrew, James the Greater, John Evangelist, and Philip; six martyrs, including Stephen, Lawrence, Vincent, Thomas (Becket), John (Evangelist), and Paul; seven confessors, including Martin, Nicholas, Benedict, Bernard, Augustine, Ghislain, Jerome; thirteen virgins, including Mary Magdalene, Agatha, Agnes, Catherine, Margaret, Barbara, Elizabeth, Geneviéve, Gertrude, Ursula and companions, Juliana, Cecilia, and Lucy; fols. 177r-184r: Petitions, including eighteen beginning "Ab", forty six beginning "Per", references to the Passion and parts of Christ's body and invocations; fols. 184r-186r: Four collects, headed "Oracio" or "Alia oracio" which cite the crown of thorns, the crucifixion and Christ's blood
fols. 186r - 231v:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt vigilie mortuorum. et primo antiphona
  3. Incipit: Dilexi quoniam exaudiet
  4. Contents: Fols. 193r-195r: Six collects at end of vespers; fols. 225r-231v: Mass for the faithful dead
  5. Decoration note: Large miniature on fol. 187r


fol. 14r:

  1. W.220, fol. 14r
  2. Title: Four Evangelists
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Gospel sequences

fol. 24r:

  1. W.220, fol. 24r
  2. Title: Mocking and Buffeting of Christ
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross

fol. 28r:

  1. W.220, fol. 28r
  2. Title: Pentecost
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit

fol. 42v:

  1. W.220, fol. 42v
  2. Title: Annunciation
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins

fol. 64r:

  1. W.220, fol. 64r
  2. Title: Visitation
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Lauds

fol. 77r:

  1. W.220, fol. 77r
  2. Title: Nativity
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Prime

fol. 84r:

  1. W.220, fol. 84r
  2. Title: Annunciation to Shepherds
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Terce

fol. 89r:

  1. W.220, fol. 89r
  2. Title: Adoration of the Magi
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Sext

fol. 94r:

  1. W.220, fol. 94r
  2. Title: Presentation in the Temple
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None

fol. 99r:

  1. W.220, fol. 99r
  2. Title: Massacre of an Innocent
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Vespers

fol. 108r:

  1. W.220, fol. 108r
  2. Title: Coronation of the Virgin
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Compline

fol. 113r:

  1. W.220, fol. 113r
  2. Title: Pietà/Lamentation
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Compassion of the Virgin

fol. 138r:

  1. W.220, fol. 138r
  2. Title: Virgin and Child adored by male patron
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Two prayers to the Virgin: Obsecro te

fol. 146r:

  1. W.220, fol. 146r
  2. Title: Holy Face
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Suffrage to the Holy Face

fol. 148r:

  1. W.220, fol. 148r
  2. Title: St. John the Baptist
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Suffrage to St. John the Baptist

fol. 150v:

  1. W.220, fol. 150v
  2. Title: St. Catherine presents female patron to Christ
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrage to St. Catherine

fol. 158r:

  1. W.220, fol. 158r
  2. Title: King David penitent
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms

fol. 187r:

  1. W.220, fol. 187r
  2. Title: Burial service
  3. Form: Large miniature
  4. Text: Office of the Dead


The binding is not original.

Nineteenth-century re-binding from either Belgium or France; black textured leather; upper and lower boards framed by three fillets; possibly original page sewing; spine naturally rounded with five slightly raised bands surrounded by three fillets; endbands in pink and white silk with edge-bead; gilt edges


Completed by followers of Willem Vrelant ca. 1450-1455 in Bruges for unidentified patrons, depicted on fols. 138r and 150v

Sold by Eugéne Paillet, Paris, to Damascéne Morgand, 1887

Henry Walters, Baltimore, acquired before 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Beraldi, H., Bibliothéque d'un bibliophile, Paris 1885, p. 1, no. 2

Morgand, D., Bulletin 20, Feb. 1887, p. 69, no. 12057

Morgand, D., Catalogue Eugéne Paillet, Paris 1887, p. 67, no. 332

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. 796, no. 250.

Delaissé, L.M.J., "An Exhibition of Netherlandish Book Illumination, April 22 through May 12" (Oberlin College), Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin 17/3, 1960, p. 94-113

Farquhar, J.D., Creation and Imitation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1976, figs. 11-14, 24, 47, 61, 80, 81, 83, 86

Farquhar, J.D., "The Manuscript as Book", Pen to Press: Illustrated Manuscripts and Printed Books in the First Century of Printing, University of Maryland, College Park, Baltimore 1977, p. 81-96, fig. 22

Marrow, J.H., "Study of the Miniatures" in Beuken, Willem Hendrik, and James H. Marrow. 1979. Spiegel van den leven ons Heren = Mirror of the life of our Lord : diplomatic edition of the text and facsimile of the 42 miniatures of a 15th century typological life of Christ in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. Doornspijk: Davaco, p. 74, fig. 2

Jenni, U, Thoss, D., Das Schwarze Gebetbuch (Gebetbuch des Galeazzo Maria Sforza): Codex 1856 der Osterreichischen Nationalbibliothek in Wien. Kommentar zur Faksimileausgabe, Frankfurt 1982, p. 64, fig. 106

Rogers, N.J., "Books of Hours Produced in the Low Countries for the English Market in the Fifteenth Century," M.Phil, Cambridge University, 1982, p. 300-324

Buttner, F. O., Imitatio Pietatis: Motive der christlichen Ikonographie als Modelle zur Verahnlichung, Berlin 1983, p. 159

Pacht, O., Jenni, U, and Thoss, D., Die Illuminierten Handschriften und Inkunabeln der Osterreichischen Nationalbibliothek, Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil. -Hist. Klasse, Denkschriften, Vienna, 1983, vol. 1, pp. 88, 91, vol. 2, fig. 102

Cardon, B., Lievens, R., and Smeyers, M., "Typologische Taferelen uit het leven van Jezus: A Manuscript from the Gold Scrolls Group (Bruges, ca. 1440) in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, Ms. Morgan 649," Louvain, 1985, p. 138

Owens, M.B., "Musical Subjects in the Illumination of Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century France and Flanders", Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1987, p. 413.

Dogaer, G., "Flemish Miniature Painting in the 15th and 16th Centuries," Amsterdam, 1987, p. 103

Plummer, J., "'Use' and Beyond Use,'" followed by "A Bruges Calendar," Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life, exhibition catalog, Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, New York, 1988

Smeyers, M., "A Mid-Fifteenth Century Book of Hours from Bruges in the Walters Art Gallery (MS. 721) and Its Relation to the Turin-Milan Hours," Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 46 (1988): 68, 75

Bravi, G.O., "Codici e incunaboli minitai della Biblioteca Civica di Bergamo," Bergamo, 1989, p. 426

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, 1989; pp. 210-219, cat. no. 244

Lacaze, C., "A Little-Known Manuscript from the Workshop of Master Pancraz," in Masters and Miniatures: proceedings of the Congress on Medieval Manuscript Illumination in the Northern Netherlands (Utrecht, 10-13 December 1989), edited by Koert van der Horst and Johann-Christian Klamt 1991, p. 259

Domínguez Rodriguez, A., et. al., "Libro de Horas de Isabel la Católica," Madrid, 1991, p. 21

Bousmanne, B., "Prolégoménes á la constitution et á l'interprétation d'un corpus des manuscrits attribués au groupe Vrelant: Un aspect de l'enluminure dans les Bays-Bas méridionaux au XV siécle," Ph.D. dissertation, Université Catholique de Louvain, 1994, pp. 24, 226-234

Sotheby’s. Western Manuscripts and Miniatures. New York: Sotheby’s Firm, 1994; p. 97.

Reinburg, Virginia. “Praying to Saints in the Middle Ages.” Saints: Studies in Hagiography. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 141. Edited by Sandro Sticca, 269-282. Binghamton, New York, 1996; pp. 271 (n. 4), 273 (fig. 1).

Bousmanne, Bernard. Item à Guillaume Wyelant aussi enlumineur: Willem Vrelant, un aspect de l'enluminure dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux sous le mécénat des ducs de Bourgogne Philippe le Bon et Charles le Téméraire. Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1997; pp. 37-38, 43, 71, 79-81, 98, 112, 117, 121, 133, 149, 165, 189, 217-219 (no. 1.IV.6;102), 317, 343 (n. 35), 349 (n. 5), 354 (n. 25), 377.

Hindman, Sandra. “Gerard David’s Holy Face.” In The Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volume IV:
Illuminations. Edited by Sandra Hindman, Mirella Levi D'Ancona, Pia Palladino, and Maria Francesca Saffiotti, 86-91. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997; p. 89 (ref. under cat. No. 11).

Sponsler, Claire. Drama and Resistance: Bodies, Goods, and Theatricality in Late Medieval England. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1997; pp. 128 (fig. 5), 194 (n. 87).

Noel, William. "Books in the Home: Psalters and Books of Hours." In Medieval Mastery: Book Illumination from Charlemagne to Charles the Bold (800-1475). Edited by William Noel and Lee Preedy, 56-67. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2002; pp. 56 (fig. 1), 63.

Marrow, James H. “Book of Hours in Latin and French: Flanders (Bruges), ca. 1430: Miniatures by the Masters of the Gold Scrolls. NYPL MA 28.” In The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York Public Library. Edited by Jonathan J.G. Alexander, James H. Marrow, and Lucy Freeman Sandler, 283-286. NY: New York Public LibrarySplendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York Public Library, 2005; p. 286 (ref. under cat. no. 63).

Randall, Lilian M.C. “Frontal Heads in the Borders of Parisian and South Netherlandish Books of Hours, ca. 1415-60.” In Tributes in Honor of Jonathan J.G. Alexander: The Making and Meaning of Illuminated Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, Art, and Architecture. Edited by Susan L’Engle and Gerald B. Gest, 249-268. Turnhout, Belgium: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2006; p. 259, fig. 7.

Reinburg, Virginia. French Books of Hours: Making an Archive of Prayer, C.1400-1600. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012; pp. viii,163 (n. 126), 164 (fig. 24), 174.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Ransom, Allison

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Herbold, Rebekah; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; 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.