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Walters Ms. W.43, Psalter with added litanies

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Psalter with added litanies

Text title


This Psalter was created in northeast France, a region considered Flanders at the time, during the third quarter of the thirteenth century. Little is known of its early provenance, although its series of historiated initials has been likened to those created in the "Mathurin" and "Wenceslas" ateliers of Paris. Two different litanies for the Use of Troyes were added in the sixteenth century, suggesting it was owned in that region by that time.


Third quarter of the 13th century CE


Northeast France (French Flanders)






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Thin to medium-weight parchment


Foliation: i+254+i

Flyleaves are laid paper; modern pencil foliation upper right corners, rectos


Formula: Quire 1-10: 12 (fols. 1-120); Quire 11: 2 (fols. 121-122); Quire 12-15: 12 (fols. 123-171); Quire 16: 12, with first folio tipped in and attached to beginning of quire (fols. 172-183); Quire 17-21: 12 (fols. 184-243); Quire 22: 8 (fols. 244-251); Quire 23: (fols. ); Quire 24: (fols. ); Quire 25: (fols. ); Quire 26: 2, with first folio tipped in and attached to beginning of quire (fols. 252-254)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None



11.2 cm wide by 15.8 cm high

Written surface

7.0 cm wide by 10.3 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 16
  3. Ruled in light brown crayon

fols. 1r - 254v:
  1. Title: Psalter
  2. Hand note: Written in textura
  3. Decoration note: Eight historiated initials begin the major psalms (7-8 lines); decorated initials in gold against blue and rose grounds with white penwork mark the minor psalms (2 lines); smaller initials in alternating gold and blue with red and blue penwork used for versals (1 line); in added texts (fols. 244r-254v) initials simplified, either red or blue with no embellishments (1-2 lines); geometric line fillers throughout; rubrics in red; main text in black ink; added text in brown ink
fols. 1r - 222r:
  1. Title: Biblical Psalter
  2. Incipit: Beatus vir
  3. Contents: Eight-partite Biblical Psalter, divided at Psalms 1, 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97, and 109
  4. Decoration note: Historiated initials fols. 1r, 34v, 56r, 76v, 97r, 123r, 146v, and 172r
fols. 222r - 243v:
  1. Title: Weekly canticles
  2. Incipit: Confitebor tibi
fols. 244r - 248v:
  1. Title: Added litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  2. Rubric: Letania beate marie virginis.
  3. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
fols. 249r - 254v:
  1. Title: Added litany for Ash Wednesday, petitions, hymn, and canticles
  2. Rubric: Sensuit que nous disons le iour des cendres.
  3. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  4. Contents: Fols. 249r-v: Litany for Use of Troyes, with twelve apostles and twelve saints, latter including Leobard, Sabinianus, Leuconius, Tancha, and Mastidia; fols. 249v-250v: petitions, for conventual use; fols. 251r-v: hymn, Veni creator spiritus; fols. 251v-254v: three Canticles for Advent


fol. 1r:

  1. W.43, fol. 1r
  2. Title: Initial "B" with David strumming a harp
  3. Form: Historiated initial "B," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 1

fol. 34v:

  1. W.43, fol. 34v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with David being anointed and blessed by Christ
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 8 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 26

fol. 56r:

  1. W.43, fol. 56r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with David pointing to his mouth before the face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 38

fol. 76v:

  1. W.43, fol. 76v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with club and crossed loaf of bread
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 52

fol. 97r:

  1. W.43, fol. 97r
  2. Title: Initial "S" with David in water below a blessing Christ
  3. Form: Historiated initial "S," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 68

fol. 123r:

  1. W.43, fol. 123r
  2. Title: Initial "E" with David playing bells
  3. Form: Historiated initial "E," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 80

fol. 146v:

  1. W.43, fol. 146v
  2. Title: Initial "C" with clerics singing
  3. Form: Historiated initial "C," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 97

fol. 172r:

  1. W.43, fol. 172r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with Trinity
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 8 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 109


The binding is not original.

Rebound in England, nineteenth century, in red leather over wood boards; gilt tooled designs on upper and lower covers, spine, edges, and turn-ins; spine inscribed "LIBER PSALMORUM M.S. XV CENT"


Created in northeast France, in the region considered Flanders, third quarter of the thirteenth century

Date "1430" added on fol. 1r by unknown later owner

Owned in diocese of Troyes in sixteenth century, as indicated by addition at that time of litanies for use in that region (fols. 244r-254v)

Leo S. Olschki, Florence, early twentieth century; his number in pencil on front pastedown "35402"

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Olschki between 1900 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. 770, cat. no. 84. Entry inadvertently repeated at p. 773, cat. no. 100.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 1. France: 875-1420. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989; 71-72, cat. no. 30.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Schuele, Allyson; 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.