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Walters Ms. W.239, Book of Hours

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Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours of ca. 1430-45 was illuminated by the followers of the Masters of the Gold Scrolls under North Netherlandish influence, suggesting an origin in Bruges. The manuscript, which is partially misbound, is decorated with thirteen extant miniatures (ten full-page, inserted), three historiated initials, and drolleries. In addition to a diverse collection of South Netherlandish, North French, and occasional English saints, this manuscript also features suffrages (namely SS. Margaret, Sebastian, and Anthony) that were added early. The manuscript has traces of different hands and artists throughout: in addition to mismatched borders, where the same design has been painted by different hands, there is also the unusual presence of an artist’s stamp visible in the form of a circle of thistles, which is found on the inside edge of the miniatures. An added frontispiece miniature featuring an armorial shield with an ostrich-plumed helmet crest seemingly attributes the manuscript to a younger son of the de Mailly branch of the Mametz family in Picardy (identified by Michel Pastoureau).


Ca. 1430-1445 CE


Bruges (?)


Supplied name: Master of the Gold Scrolls and followers






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Highly prepared parchment of medium weight and average selection; flyleaves of modern parchment


Foliation: i+131+i

Earlier pencil foliation, partially erased, lower right corners rectos; modern pencil foliation upper right corners rectos (used here)


Formula: Quire 1: 6 (fols. 1-6); Quire 2: 4, with first and sixth folios added (fols. 7-12); Quire 3: 8 with ninth folio added (fols. 13-21); Quires 4-5: 8 (fols. 22-37); Quire 6: 6 (fols. 38-43); Quire 7: 8, with sixth folio added (fols. 44-52); Quire 8: 8 with second, seventh, and tenth folios added and a folio cancelled (fols. 53-64); Quire 9: 8, with third folio added (fols. (65-73); Quire 10: 4 (fols. 74-77); Quire 11: 6, with first folio added (fols. 78-84); Quire 12: 8, with first folio added (fols. 85-93); Quire 13: 6, with seventh folio tipped in (fols. 94-100); Quire 14: 8, with first folio added (fols. 101-109); Quires 15-16: 8 (fols. 110-125); Quire 17: 6 (fols. 126-131)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Most miniatures inserted; quire 2 was originally a quire of four folios with two folios added, resulting in a quire of six folios; quires 4-5 are misbound (see Mass of the Virgin for details); quire 8 has an added bifolium as well as two tipped in images


12.3 cm wide by 16.7 cm high

Written surface

6.0 cm wide by 9.0 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 17
  3. Ruled in pale rose ink; layout does not apply to calendar: written area 5.7 x 10.3 cm, 4 columns of 34 lines

fols. 1r - 131v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Artist: Master of the Gold Scrolls and followers
  3. Hand note: Textura
  4. Decoration note: Ten extant full-page miniatures, three smaller miniatures (13 lines) paired with three historiated initials (4 lines); foliate borders around pages with miniatures, borders do not match and are more densely painted where miniatures open to facing text, decorated illuminated initials opposite text to opening full-page miniatures (5-6 lines); small decorated initials at secondary text divisions (2 lines); five ciphers at secondary text divisions (fols. 8v, 10r, 11v, 45v, 100r); 'K L' initials in calendar (3 lines); small flourished initials in alternating blue and gold for versals (1 line); geometric line fillers in blue and gold; rubrics in red; text in dark brown ink. Note: artist stamp found on the inner border of miniatures in the form of a circle of light brown thistles (5mm)
fols. 1r - 6v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarius habet dies. xxxi. luna. xxx.
  3. Contents: Calendar less than half full, graded in red and black; Egyptian days designated by "D" in some months; a combination of South Netherlandish and North French, with occasional English saints; feasts of note include: Amandus (Feb. 6), Milburga (Feb. 23), David (Mar. 1, confessor), Valeric (Apr. 1, "Walricii episcopi"), Sixtus (Apr. 9, "p[a]pe & m[arti]ris"), Amalberga (May 14, regularly July 10), Brendan (May 17), Eligius (June 25, Translation), Walburga (Aug. 4, this date marks departure from England; feast on Aug. 6 in Bruges calendar), Aegydius (Sept. 1), Bertin (Sept. 5), Remigius and Bavo (Oct. 1), Francis (Oct. 4), Donatian (Oct. 14), Livin (Nov. 12), Maclovius (Nov. 15, "Machuti episcopi"), Elizabeth of Hungary (Nov. 19, "Elyzabeth uidue"), Clement (Nov. 23), Catherine (Nov. 25), Eligius (Dec. 1), Lazarus (Dec. 12), Thomas Becket (Dec. 29, "Thome martyris")
fols. 7v - 12r:
  1. Title: Added suffrages to SS. Margaret, Sebastian, and Anthony
  2. Rubric: De sancta margareta
  3. Incipit: Gaude virgo margareta
  4. Contents: Added early; fols. 8r-9r: Margaret (rhyming); fols. 9v-10v: Sebastian; fols. 11r-12r: Anthony
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures fols. 7v, 8r, 9v, and 11r; miniature on fol. 7v is not a saint and appears to be connected with ownership of the manuscript; historiated initials fols. 8r, 9v, and 11r
fols. 13v - 16v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Rubric: Officium sancti crucis. Ad matutinam
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Decoration note: Full page miniature fol. 13v; large decorated initial fol. 14v
fols. 17r - 21v; 23r - 24v; 29r - 29v:
  1. Title: Mass of the Virgin and Gospel Sequences
  2. Rubric: Incipit missa beate virginis
  3. Incipit: Introibo ad altare Dei
  4. Contents: Misbound; fols. 17r-21r and 23r-24v: Mass of the Virgin; fols. 21r-v and 29r: John 1:1-14; fols. 29v and 23r: Matthew 2:1-12; fols. 24r-v: Mark 16:14-20
  5. Text note: Gospel of John appears partway through Mass of the Virgin (fols. 21r-v, 29r); Luke follows (fols. 29r-v, 23r); Gospels and Mass of the Virgin misbound
fols. 25r - 28v; 22r - 22v; 30r - 77v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Officium beate marie virginis secundum usum romane curie. Ad matuinam.
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
  4. Contents: Misbound
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fols. 49v, 54v, 59v, 63v, and 67v; large decorated initial fols. 25r, 40r, 50r, 55r, 60r, 64r, 68r, and 74r
fols. 78v - 84v:
  1. Title: Advent Office of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Officium beate marie virginis quod dicitur per totum adventum. Ad vesperas.
  3. Incipit: Deus in adiutorium meum
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 78v; large decorated initial fol. 79r
fols. 85v - 95r:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Rubric: Septem psalmi penitentiales
  3. Incipit: Domine ne in furore tuo
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 85v; large decorated initial fol. 86r
fols. 101v - 131v:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Rubric: Antiphona. Placebo
  3. Incipit: Dilexi quoniam exaudiet Dominus vocem orationis mea
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 101v; large decorated initial fol. 102r
fols. 95r - 100v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrie eleison
  3. Contents: Netherlandish and French saints; including John the Baptist as sole patriarch/prophet; sixteen apostles from Peter to Mark; seventeen martyrs including: Cornelius, Quintinus, Lambert, Callistus; seventeen confessors, seven popes, followed by Nicolas, Benedict, Amandus, Bavo, Anthony, Francis, Dominic, Leonard, Elegies, Aegydius; fifteen virgins, such as Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Catherine, Barbara, Agatha, Anne, Clare, Elizabeth (of Hungary?), Gertrude, Walburga; fols. 97v-100r: Petitions, invocations, nine versicles; fol. 100r-v: three collects


fol. 7v:

  1. W.239, fol. 7v
  2. Title: Woman holding a white chain attached to a coat of arms on the ground
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 8r:

  1. W.239, fol. 8r
  2. Title: St. Margaret issuing from dragon; Initial "G" with St. Margaret guarding sheep
  3. Form: Miniature; historiated initial "G," 4 lines
  4. Text: Added suffrages: St. Margaret

fol. 9v:

  1. W.239, fol. 9v
  2. Title: St. Sebastian martyred; Initial "O" with St. Sebastian in a landscape
  3. Form: Miniature; Historiated initial "O," 4 lines
  4. Text: Added suffrages: St. Sebastian

fol. 11r:

  1. W.239, fol. 11r
  2. Title: St. Anthony; Initial "O" with Temptation of St. Anthony
  3. Form: Miniature; Historiated initial "O," 4 lines
  4. Text: Added suffrages: St. Anthony

fol. 13v:

  1. W.239, fol. 13v
  2. Title: Crucifixion
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 49v:

  1. W.239, fol. 49v
  2. Title: Nativity-Adoration
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Prime

fol. 54v:

  1. W.239, fol. 54v
  2. Title: Annunciation to the Shepherds
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Terce

fol. 59v:

  1. W.239, fol. 59v
  2. Title: Massacre of an Innocent
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Sext (presumably misbound from Vespers)

fol. 63v:

  1. W.239, fol. 63v
  2. Title: Adoration of the Magi
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None (presumably misbound from Sext)

fol. 67v:

  1. W.239, fol. 67v
  2. Title: Presentation in the Temple
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Vespers (presumably misbound from None)

fol. 78v:

  1. W.239, fol. 78v
  2. Title: Crowned Virgin blessed by God
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 85v:

  1. W.239, fol. 85v
  2. Title: Last Judgment
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 101v:

  1. W.239, fol. 101v
  2. Title: Mourners and corpse
  3. Form: Full-page miniature


The binding is not original.

Early nineteenth-century French red leather binding; gold tooling with foliate and floral designs on boards and spine; similar to binding signed Gaudreau, although no signature is present; gilded title on spine reads "Officium M. S."; page edges are gilded


Created ca. 1430-45; illuminated by followers of the Masters of the Gold Scrolls, North Netherlandish influence, which suggests Bruges

De Mailly branch of the Mametz family of Picardy (?), mid-to-late fifteenth century, suggested by an armorial shield (fol. 7v)

Rev. Henry White, Litchfield, second half of the nineteenth century; added entry by White (?) of "MCCCL"

Sold in Rev. White's sale London, Sotheby's, April 21, 1902, to D. Robson, London bookseller

Sotheby's, London, resold on May 6, 1909, to Robson

Gruel and Engelmann, Paris, between 1909 and 1931, their bookplate inscribed with "No=957" on front pastedown, sale slip formerly affixed to back flyleaf i

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel before 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. 790, cat. no. 209.

Farquhar, James Douglas. "Identity in an Anonymous Age: Bruges Manuscript Illuminators and Their Signs," Viator II (1980): pp. 380, 382, fig. 10.

Dogaer, Georges. Flemish Miniature Painting in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Amsterdam: B. M. Israël, 1987; p. 31.

Farquhar, James Douglas. "Manuscript Production and Evidence for Localizing and Dating Fifteenth-Century Books of Hours: Walters MS 239." Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 45 (1987): passim, figs. 1-17.

Gifford, E. M. "Pattern and Style in a Flemish Book of Hours: Walters MS 239." Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 45 (1987): passim.

Christie's. New York, December 7, 1988; ref. under lot 23.

Wieck, Roger S. Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. Exhibition Catalogue, the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. New York: George Braiziller, 1988; pp. 30, 125, 211, cat. no. 87, fig. 110.

Smeyers, Maurits, and B. Cardon. "Utrecht and Bruges: South and North 'Boundless Relations' in the 15th Century." In Masters and Miniatures (1989); p. 101.

Smeyers, Maurits. "Pre-Eyckian Manuscripts: Mass Production and Workshop Practices I." In Le dessin sous-jacent dans la peinture, ed. R. van Schoute and H. Verougstraete-Marcq. Université Catholique de Louvain, Institut Supérieur d'Archéologie et d'Histoire de l'Art, Colloque IX (September 12-14, 1991), Document de travail 27; pp. 59-74.

Alexander, J. J. G. Medieval Illuminators and Their Methods of Work. New Haven: 1992; p. 174.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 2, France, 1420-1540. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1992; p. 273 (ref. under cat. no. 157, W. 252).

Rogers, N. J. "The Miniature of St. John the Baptist in Gonville and Caius MS 241/127 and Its Context." Fifteenth Century Flemish Manuscripts. Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 10.2 (1992): p. 128.

Wieck, Roger S. “The Death Desired: Books of Hours and the Medieval Funeral.” In Death and Dying in the Middle Ages. Edited by Edelgard E. DuBruck and Barbara I. Gusick, 431-476. New York: Peter Lang, 1999; pp. 437 (as fig. 8), 446 (n. 9), 456 (fig. 8).

Van Bergen, Saskia. “The Production of Flemish Books of Hours for the English Market.” In Manuscripts in Transition: Recycling Manuscripts, Texts, and Images. Proceedings of the International Congres held in Brussels (5-9 November 2002). Edited by Brigitte Dekeyzer and Jan van der Stock, 271-284. Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters, 2005; p. 282.

Luyster, Amanda. “Two Books of Hours: The Gold Scrolls Group, England, and Internationalism in the Fifteenth Century.” In Catholic Collecting: Catholic Reflections (1538-1850). Exhibition Catalogue, College of the Holy Cross and the Cantor Art Gallery, February 22-April 13, 2006. Edited by Virginia C. Raguin, 89-101. Worcester, MA: Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross, 2006; p. 95.

Vanwijnsberghe, Dominique. "Le cycle d'enfance des petites de la vierge dans les livres d'heures des pays-bas méridionaux." In Manuscripten en miniaturen: Studies aangeboden aan Anne S. Korteweg bij haar afscheid van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Boekhandel. Nieuwe Reeks (8). Edited by Jos Biemans, Klaas van der Hoek, Kathryn M. Rudy, and Ed van der Vlist, 355-366. Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 2007; p. 362.

Yoshikawa, Naoë Kukita. Margery Kempe's Meditations: The Context of Medieval Devotional Literature, Liturgy, and Iconography. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007; p. 162 (n. 57).

Ubl, Matthias. "'The Office of the Dead': a New Interpretation of the Spes Nostra Painting." The Rijksmuseum Bulletin 61 (2013): pp. 323-337.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbold, Rebekah

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Wallace, Susan

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.