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Walters Ms. W.269, Book of Hours

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Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours was completed for Use of Reims ca. 1450-1475 in northeastern France. The book was first owned by Collette, who is portrayed on fol. 76r with the Virgin and Child. An inscription from 1559 on the back pastedown records later ownership by female owner G. Marlot, as well as by her aunt, née Labourgue, wife of the merchant Jean Bourguet, followed by G. Marlot's daughter, Martine Marlot. There is a large amount of unusual and specifically female content in the book, including a heightened amount of prayers to the Virgin, virgins listed in the calendar and litany, as well as the unusual inclusion of the Hours of St. Catherine. The manuscript also contains charming marginalia, most famously a garden party scene in which couples play music, and even games such as backgammon, together (fol. 16r).


Ca. 1460


Northeastern France






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin. The secondary language of this manuscript is French, Middle (ca.1400-1600).

Support material


Medium to thick parchment, well selected and prepared; color difference notable between brown hair side and white flesh side, mostly calfskin; goat used for folios added to the beginning and end (fols. 1-3 and 154-156)


Foliation: 156

Modern pencil foliation, upper right corner rectos


Formula: Quire 1: 2, with first folio used as front pastedown (fol. 1); Quire 2: 2 (fols. 2-3); Quires 3-4: 6 (fols. 4-15); Quires 5-9: 8 (fols. 16-55); Quire 10: 4 (fols. 56-59); Quires 11-15: 8 (fols. 60-99); Quire 16: 10 (fols. 100-109); Quire 17: 6 (fols. 110-115); Quires 18-21: 8 (fols. 116-147); Quire 22: 6 (fols. 148-153); Quire 23: 4, with last folio used as back pastedown (fols. 154-156)

Catchwords: Somewhat extant beginning on lower right corner of fol. 37v



13.0 cm wide by 18.5 cm high

Written surface

7.3 cm wide by 9.6 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 16

fols. 1r - 156v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Hand note: Written in textura
  3. Decoration note: Eighteen full-page miniatures; decorated illuminated initials at major text openings accompanied by full-page miniatures (4 lines); small decorated initials at secondary text divisions and at "K L" in calendar (2 lines); smaller illuminated initials at versals (1 line); foliate borders surrounding text divisions signified by miniatures; drolleries present in borders surrounding full-page miniatures; line fillers in litany; rubrics in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1r - 3v:
  1. Title: Three Prayers
  2. Incipit: Sire dieu tour puissant
  3. Contents: Second prayer for female suppliant added early and misbound from after fol. 3
fols. 4r - 15v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Janvier a xxxi jour la lune xxx
  3. Contents: Calendar partly full; graded in red and black; includes Egyptian dates; contains saints venerated in northern France and notable Reims feasts; saints of note include Remigius and Hilary (Jan. 13), Peter martyr (Apr. 29), Gibrian (May 7), Gangulf (May 11), Theoderic (Jul. 1), Anne (Jul. 26), Louis of France (Aug. 25), Remigius (Oct. 1), Benedicta (Oct. 8), Dionysius (Oct. 9), Bercharius (Oct. 16), Crispinus and Crispinianus (Oct. 25), Hubert (Nov. 3), Laetus (Nov. 5), Brictius (Nov. 13, archbishop of Tours), Lucia (Dec. 13), Nicasius (Dec. 14, Reims)
fols. 16r - 57r:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  3. Contents: Matins 3-lesson; French headings beginning at Prime but lacking at None
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures fols. 16r, 25r, 34r, 38v, 42r, 45r, 48r and 53v
fols. 57v - 58r:
  1. Title: Seven Verses of St. Bernard
  2. Rubric: Les vii. vers saint bernard
  3. Incipit: Illumina oculos meos neunquam
  4. Contents: Prayer for female suppliant
fols. 58r - 58v:
  1. Title: Five Joys of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Les .v. joies nostre dame
  3. Incipit: Gaude virgo mater xristi
fols. 59r - 59v:
  1. Title: Two devotions to the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Salutacion a nostre dame
  3. Incipit: Ave ancilla trinitas ave preelecta
fols. 60r - 69v:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Incipit: Domine ne infurore
  3. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 60r
fols. 69v - 75v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, collects and Gospel Sequence of St. John
  2. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  3. Contents: Contents suggest Reims as per calendar; fols. 69v-72v: litany, including regional saints from Reims; twenty-two martyrs, including Vincent, Sebastian, Christopher, Dionysius, Maurice, Gereon, Quintinus, Timothy, Apollinaris, Crispin, Crispinianus, George, Blasius, Cosmas, Damian, Lambert, Nicasius; sixteen confessors, including Benedict, Remigius, Amandus, Brictius, Aegydius, Eligius, Nicolas, Basolus; twenty-three virgins, including Bova and Doda; fols. 72v-74r: Petitions; fol. 74r-74v: two collects, headed by "oratio"; fols. 74v-75v: Gospel Sequence of St. John, headed "Inicium sancti ivvangelii secundum johannem"
fols. 75v - 80v:
  1. Title: Fifteen Joys of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Les .xv. joies notre dame
  3. Incipit: Doulce dame de misericorde
  4. Contents: Rubric precedes full-page miniature with incipit text on fol. 75v
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 76r
fols. 81r - 83v:
  1. Title: Seven Requests to Our Lord
  2. Incipit: Quiconques veult estre bien
fols. 83v - 86v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Rubric: Les heures de la crois
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Rubric on fol. 83v preceding full-page miniature with incipit on fol. 84r; headings at hours in French
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 84r
fols. 86v - 100v:
  1. Title: Devotional Sequence
  2. Rubric: Les heures du saint esprit
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Rubric on fol. 86v preceding full-page miniature with incipit on fol. 87r; Gospel Sequence of Passion according to John incorrectly attributed to Luke in rubric; headings in French throughout; fols. 87r-89v: Hours of the Holy Spirit; fols. 89v-93v: two prayers to the Virgin: fols. 89v-92v: Obsecro te; fols. 92v-93v: Saluto te; fols. 93v-94r: Gospel Sequence of Passion according to John; fols. 95r-95v: Prayer to Christ; fols. 95v-96v: Communion prayers; fols. 96v-97v: Prayer of Indulgence, with 240 days of pardons supposedly granted by Pope Innocent; fols. 97v-98v: Prayer of Indulgence, in French, daily recitation of which supposedly granted 20,036 days of pardon from St. Gregory; fols. 98v-100v: Three suffrages, to SS. Michael, Quintinus, and Sebastian
  5. Decoration note: Full-page miniature fol. 87r
fols. 101r - 109v:
  1. Title: Devotional Sequence
  2. Rubric: Cy apres sensieulent le hures Sainte katherine
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Fols. 101r-105r: Hours of St. Catherine; fols. 105r-106r: Prayers for recitation at Mass; fols. 106r-107r: Suffrages to SS. Apollonia, Peter, Paul and the Virgin, Candlemas, Blasius, and Agnes
  5. Decoration note: Foliate border and large decorated initial on fol. 101r; blank page with four slits in corners imply past removal of devotional image fol. 109r-109v
fols. 110r - 114v:
  1. Title: Suffrages
  2. Rubric: [?] de saint lie antiphona.
  3. Incipit: Nulla enim infirmitas
  4. Contents: Suffrages to SS. Laetus, Remigius, Nicolas, Christopher, and Catherine
  5. Text note: Headings in French
  6. Decoration note: Full-page miniatures fols. 110r, 111r, 112r, 113r and 114r
fols. 116r - 150r:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Incipit: Placebo. Dilexi quoniam
  3. Contents: For Use of Reims
  4. Decoration note: Full-page miniature on fol. 116r
fols. 150v - 155v:
  1. Title: Prayers in honor of the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Missus est gabriel angelus ad marium virginem
  3. Contents: Fols. 150r-155v added early; fol. 155r-v repeats prayer on fol. 1r-v
  4. Hand note: Fol. 155r-v added by same scribe who added fols. 1r-3v


fol. 16r:

  1. W.269, fol. 16r
  2. Title: Annunciation, with garden populated by lovers playing music and backgammon in margin
  3. Form: Full-page miniature with marginalia in border
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins

fol. 25r:

  1. W.269, fol. 25r
  2. Title: Visitation
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Lauds

fol. 34r:

  1. W.269, fol. 34r
  2. Title: Nativity
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Prime

fol. 38v:

  1. W.269, fol. 38v
  2. Title: Annunciation to Shepherds and Shepherdess
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Terce

fol. 42r:

  1. W.269, fol. 42r
  2. Title: Adoration of the Magi
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Sext

fol. 45r:

  1. W.269, fol. 45r
  2. Title: Presentation in the Temple
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None

fol. 48r:

  1. W.269, fol. 48r
  2. Title: Flight into Egypt
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Vespers

fol. 53v:

  1. W.269, fol. 53v
  2. Title: Coronation of the Virgin
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Compline

fol. 60r:

  1. W.269, fol. 60r
  2. Title: Last Judgment
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms

fol. 76r:

  1. W.269, fol. 76r
  2. Title: Virgin and Child adored by female manuscript owner named Colette with marginalia
  3. Form: Full-page miniature; marginalia
  4. Text: Fifteen Joys of the Virgin

fol. 84r:

  1. W.269, fol. 84r
  2. Title: Crucifixion, with inhabited initial "D" containing pelican drawing blood from its chest to feed young
  3. Form: Full-page miniature; inhabited initial "D," 4 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross

fol. 87r:

  1. W.269, fol. 87r
  2. Title: Pentecost/All saints
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit

fol. 110r:

  1. W.269, fol. 110r
  2. Title: St. Laetus
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrages

fol. 111r:

  1. W.269, fol. 111r
  2. Title: St. Remigius
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrages

fol. 112r:

  1. W.269, fol. 112r
  2. Title: St. Nicolas resuscitating three youths
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrages

fol. 113r:

  1. W.269, fol. 113r
  2. Title: St. Christopher carrying Christ Child
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrages

fol. 114r:

  1. W.269, fol. 114r
  2. Title: St. Catherine
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Suffrages

fol. 116r:

  1. W.269, fol. 116r
  2. Title: Death of the Virgin, with Christ carrying Virgin's soul and couple playing music together in margin
  3. Form: Full-page miniature with marginalia
  4. Text: Office of the Dead


The binding is not original.

Bound in France ca. 1550-1575; brown calfskin boards; gilded foliate design on upper and lower boards, names "Claude/Armilhon" (upper board) and "Martinne/Marlot" (lower board) in gilt lettering; spine added ca. eighteenth or nineteenth century with gilt lettering of title, "Heures/Gotiques"; endbands of pink and blue thread with edgebead added ca. eighteenth or nineteenth century


Created in northeastern France ca. 1460 for first owner, identified as Collette (portrayed on fol. 76r)

Entry on inside of upper board by female owner G. Marlot dated 1559 recording ownership by aunt, named Labourgue, who was the wife of the merchant Jean Bourguet

Given to G. Marlot, who then gave the book to her daughter Martine Marlot, who was the wife of Claude Armilhon

Acquired by Léon Gruel, Parisian bookbinder and bookseller, late nineteenth or early twentieth century

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Léon 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. 793, cat. no. 227.

Bowles, E. A., "A Checklist of Musical Instruments in Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Manuscripts at the Walters Art Gallery." Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 32, no. 4 (1976): 719-726; p. 723, pp. 721-725.

Bowles, E.A. Musikleben im 15. Jahrhundert. Musikgeschichte in Bildern, Leipzig: Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1977, vol. 3; p. 180

Randall, Lilian M. C. "Jewels as Ornaments in Books." The Walters Art Gallery Bulletin 32, no. 3 (December 1979): 7-8, fig. 1 (fol. 16r).

Bowles, E.A., La pratique musicale au moyen âge / Musical Performance in the Late Middle Ages. Geneva: Minkoff et Lattès, 1983; p. 126, pl. 93 (fol. 16r)

Owens, M.B., "Musical Subjects in the Illumination of Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century France and Flanders", Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 1987; p. 447.

Wieck, Roger S. Time Sanctified. The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. New York: George Braziller, 1988; pp. 118, 188-189, cat. no. 41, fig. 98 (fol. 112).

Withee, Diana. "Making Music in Medieval Manuscripts." The Walters Art Gallery 41, no 10 (December 1988): p. 5, fig. at bottom (detail fol. 16r)

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 1: France, 1240-1540. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1989; pp. 139-144, cat. no. 129

Burin, Elizabeth. "Medieval Games of Love and War." The Walters Monthly Bulletin 48, no. 10 (December 1995):2-3; p. 3, fig. 2 (fol. 16r)

Sponsler, Claire. Drama and Resistance: Bodies, Goods, and Theatricality in Late Medieval England. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997; pp. 191-192 (n. 51).

Avril, François. Très riches heures de Champagne: L'Enluminure en Champagne à la fin du moyen âge. Paris: Hazan, 2007; pp. 66, 68, 149, figs. 58, 61, and 129 (fols. 38v, 16r, and 11r).

Newman, Paul B. Daily Life in the Middle Ages. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. 2001; p. 105.

Bagnoli, Martina. The Medieval World. Baltimore and London: Walters Art Museum and D. Giles, Ltd., 2011; p. 152, fig. 136.

Reinburg, Virginia. French Books of Hours: Making an Archive of Prayer, c. 1400-1600. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012; pp. vii, 23 (n. 25), 24 (fig. 1), 116 (n. 103).

Fischer, Doris. "Spielen wie im Mittelalter: Über 50 Anleitungen zum Nachbauen und Mitspielen." Stuttgart: Theiss, 2013; p. 20.

Clark, Gregory T. "Walters 269 and Manuscript Illumination in the Second Third of the Fifteenth Century." Journal of the Walters Art Museum 72 (2014): 23-41; pp. 29 fig. 9 (fol. 16r), 29 fig. 10 (fol. 45r), 30 fig. 11 (fol. 53v), 30 fig. 12 (fol. 60r), 31 fig. 13 (fol. 84r), 31 fig. 14 (fol. 116r),


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Ransom, Allison

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Wallace, Susan

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Ransom, Allison; 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.