Home > Digitized Walters Manuscripts

This document is a tranformation of a TEI P5 XML manuscript description incorporating images. If you have trouble reading special or non-Latin characters on this page, please make sure you have appropriate Unicode fonts installed and an up-to-date web browser.

Walters Ms. W.440, Book of Hours

Browse images (Browse images in a new window) | TEI in XML format

Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This Book of Hours was created by the artists known as the Ghent Associates ca. 1490-1500. The manuscript appears to have been originally made for Philip the Handsome, also known as Philip the Fair (1478-1506), duke of Austria, Brabant, and Burgundy, and count of Flanders and Hainaut. Although there are no longer extant miniatures, many of the fifty-one decorated illuminated initials contain images that refer to its prominent owner. Most notably, Philip's heraldry is found on fol. 91r, and some of the many jewels depicted throughout the initials can be traced to jewelry worn by women in his family in portraits, such as his mother, Mary of Burgundy, and his wife, Joanna of Castille (see Randall p. 464 for details). As there are a large number of decorated initials, only those with known special significance have been cataloged here.


Ca. 1490-1500 CE


Ghent (?)






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

Support material


Well-selected and prepared medium-weight parchment; flyleaves and adjoining pastedowns are modern parchment


Foliation: i+211+2 bis folios+i

Two folios were left unnumbered at time of foliation and now carry a "bis" number; modern pencil foliation, upper right corners rectos


Formula: Quire 1: 8 (fols. 1-8); Quires 2-3: 6 (fols. 9-20); Quire 4: 4 (fols. 21-24); Quire 5: 8 (fols. 25-32); Quire 6: 4 (fols. 33-36); Quire 7: 8, with first folio missing (fols. 37-43); Quire 8: 8 (fols. 44-51); Quire 9: 8, including fol. 52 bis (fols. 52-58); Quires 10-23: 8 (fols. 59-170); Quires 24-25: 4 (fols. 171-178); Quire 26: 2, with first folio added (fols. 179-181); Quire 27: 6 (fols. 182-187); Quires 28-29: 4 (fols. 188-195); Quire 30: 6 (fols. 196-201); Quire 31: 8, including fol. 203bis (fols. 202-208); Quire 32: 2, with third folio added (fols. 209-211)

Catchwords: Occasional catchwords visible starting on fol. 14v; some complete examples as on fol. 32v

Signatures: Sometimes visible in far lower right corners; some provide evidence of the later rearrangement of quires, such as signatures a2 and a3 on fols. 183 and 184



14.5 cm wide by 21.1 cm high

Written surface

6.8 cm wide by 10.3 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 17
  3. Ruled in pale rose ink; layout not exactly the same in calendar: written space 10.5 x 6.9 cm, 4 columns, 17 lines

fols. 1r - 211v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Contents: Gospel sequences and other aspects of the manuscript are possibly misbound according to Randall, who suggests John and Luke on fols. 183-186 originally comprised the first quire based on signatures "a2" and "a3" that she sees on fols. 183 and 184; however, she does not provide a suggestion as to how the folios were originally ordered, and it is not clear where those folios belong, as they do not comprise their own quire but are flanked by suffrages within the quire; therefore, a reconstruction has not been attempted, and the contents are recorded here as they are currently found in the manuscript
  3. Hand note: Written in littera batarda
  4. Decoration note: No full-page miniatures are extant but were likely there and are now missing; remaining illuminations appear to be by Ghent Associates; twelve illusionistic borders, some with drolleries; fifty-one extant decorated illuminated initials (5 lines), with one missing at the beginning of Hours of the Virgin (after fol. 37); smaller, less carefully painted foliate initials at secondary text divisions and for KL in calendar (2-3 lines); grisaille, red-brown, and gold initials for versals (1 line); occasional line filler throughout in same colors as versals; rubrics in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1v - 13r:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarius habet dies xxxi. luna vero. xxx.
  3. Contents: Calendar two-thirds full, often skipping lines between feasts; graded in red and brown ink; contents closely connected with Bruges calendar; notable for unusual dates or spellings are: Apollonia (Feb. 8), Quirinus (Mar. 30, "kyrini"), Ursmar (Apr. 17), Transfiguration (May 23), Landoald (June 13), Peter and Paul (June 29, termed "Passio petri et pali," cf. W.434), Domitian (July 14), Remigius and Bavo (Oct. 1), and Gangulf (Oct. 12)
fols. 14r - 24v:
  1. Title: Devotional sequence
  2. Rubric: Ad salutandum veronicam.
  3. Incipit: Salve sancta facies
  4. Contents: Devotional sequence consisting of suffrages, Gospel sequences, and prayers; Suffrages: fols. 14r-15r: to the Holy face; fol. 16r-v: George; fols. 17r-18v: Piatus, rhyming antiphon, contains reference to Tournai; fol. 19r-v: Christopher; Gospel sequences: fols. 20r-21r: Matthew 2.1-12; fol. 22r-v: Mark 16.14-20; fols. 23r-24v: John 19.1-35, excerpts, and prayer (mainly Passion sequence); fol. 24r-v: Oratio. Deus qui manus
  5. Hand note: Decorated initials fols. 14r, 16r, 17r, 19r, 20r, and 23r
fols. 25r - 30v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Cross
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt hore sancte crucis
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Decoration note: Decorated illuminated initial fol. 25r
fols. 31r - 36v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Holy Spirit
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt hore sancti spiritus
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Ends with prayer to the Holy Spirit on fol. 36r-v: Domine sancte spiritus
  5. Decoration note: Decorated initial fol. 31r
fols. 37r - 90v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Incipit: ...adoremus et procidamus ante deum
  3. Contents: Use of Rome; text begins imperfectly in Matins; fol. 90r-v: Salutation to the Virgin and prayer to God at the end of Compline
  4. Decoration note: Decorated initials on fols. 53r, 63r, 67r, 71r, 75r, and 82r
fols. 91r - 98v:
  1. Title: Advent Office of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Incipit officium beate marie virginis quod dicitur per totum adventum. Ad vesperas.
  3. Incipit: Deus in adjutorium meum intende
  4. Decoration note: Decorated initial on fol. 91r
fols. 99r - 109v:
  1. Title: Seven Penitential Psalms
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt septem psalmi penitentiales
  3. Incipit: Domine ne in furore tuo
  4. Decoration note: Decorated initial on fol. 91r
fols. 109v - 119v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Rubric: Letanie sanctorum.
  3. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  4. Contents: Saints are combination of northern French and Flemish: fols. 109v-113v: Litany: for patriarchs/prophets, John the Baptist is listed solely; seventeen apostles/evangelists/disciples, from Peter to Mark, with Luke listed twice in what appears to be scribal error; twenty-six martyrs, including Victor, Nicasius, Quintinus, Eustace, Maurice, Dionysius, Donatus, Erasmus, and Blasius; twenty-one confessors/doctors/monks/hermits, including Anthony, Nicholas, Martin, Livin, Dominic, Amandus, Leonard, Bernard, Francis, Louis, Remigius, Eligius, Aegydius, Audomar, and Bertin; nineteen virgins/widows/continentes, including Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Anne, Ursula, Apollonia, Dorothy, Christina, Geneviève, and Martha; fols. 113v-116r: petitions; fols. 116r-117r: invocations; fols. 117v-119v: ten collects, with fifth one for pope
fols. 120r - 159v:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Rubric: Incipit vigilie mortuorum.
  3. Incipit: Placebo. Dilexi quoniam
  4. Contents: Use of Rome; fols. 125v-126v: after Vespers, second collect specifies "N" for deceased man, and the third collect for deceased woman
  5. Decoration note: Decorated initial on fol. 120r
fols. 160r - 170v:
  1. Title: Devotions to the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Devotissima oratio ad mariam.
  3. Incipit: Obsecro te domina
  4. Contents: Fols. 160r-163r: two prayers; fols. 163v-167r: O intemerata; fols. 167r-168r: Five Salutations on the Five Joys of the Virgin, rhyming, closing prayer; fol. 168r-v: Three Salutations to the Virgin; fols. 169r-170v: Prayers on the sorrow of the Virgin by the cross, rhyming
  5. Decoration note: Decorated initial fol. 163v
fols. 171r - 182v:
  1. Title: Suffrages (part 1)
  2. Rubric: Memoria de sancta trinitate
  3. Incipit: Te invocamus te laudamus te
  4. Contents: Suffrages to: fol. 171r-v: the Trinity; fol. 172r-v: St. Michael; fol. 173r-v: St. John the Baptist; fol. 174r-v: SS. Peter and Paul; fol. 175r-v: St. Andrew; fol. 176r-v: St. James the Greater; fol. 177r-v: St. John the Evangelist; fol. 178r-v: St. Thomas; fol. 179r: SS. Philip and James; fol. 180r-v: St. Bartholomew; fol. 181r-v: Matthias; fol. 182r-v: St. Barnabas
  5. Decoration note: Decorated initials on fols. 171r, 172r, 173r, 174r, 175r, 176r, 177r, 178r, 179r, 180r, 181r, and 182r
fols. 183r - 186r:
  1. Title: Two Gospel sequences
  2. Rubric: Inicium sancti evvangelii secundum iohannem. Gloria tibi domine.
  3. Incipit: In principio erat verbum
  4. Contents: Randall has suggested this portion is misbound, but it is uncertain what the correct placement was originally; fols. 183r-184v: John 1.1-14 and prayer; fols. 185r-186r: Luke 1.26-38
  5. Decoration note: Decorated initials on fols. 183r and 185r
fols. 187r - 201v:
  1. Title: Suffrages and prayers (part 2)
  2. Rubric: De sancto sebastiano. Antiphona.
  3. Incipit: O quam mirra refulsit
  4. Contents: Suffrages with interspersed prayers: fol. 187r-v: St. Sebastian; fol. 188r-v: St. Stephen; fol. 189r-v: St. Lawrence; fol. 190r-v: St. Anthony; fols. 191r-192r: St. Claudius; fol. 193r-v: St. Francis; fol. 194r-v: Eight Verses of St. Bernard; fol. 195r-v: Omnipotens sempiterne deus; fols. 196r-197v: St. Anne; fol. 198r-v: St. Mary Magdalene; fol. 199r-v: St. Catherine; fol. 200r-v: St. Barbara; fol. 201r-v: St. Margaret; fols. 202r-206r: Prayer to the Virgin for reading on Saturday, attached to prayer to the Virgin as intercessor; fols. 206v-207r: Oratio. De deprecor ego mitissimam; fols. 208r-211r: Prayer to Christ for forgiveness of sins
  5. Decoration note: Decorated illuminated initials on fols. 187r, 188r, 189r, 190r, 191r, 193r, 194r, 196r, 198r, 199r, 200r, 201r, 202r, and 208r


fol. 17r:

  1. W.440, fol. 17r
  2. Title: Initial "G" with pansy
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "G," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrage to St. Piatus

fol. 23r:

  1. W.440, fol. 23r
  2. Title: Initial "I" with green sheaf and red berries
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "I," 5 lines
  4. Text: Passion sequence of John

fol. 25r:

  1. W.440, fol. 25r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with gold and pearl jewel
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "D," 5 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Cross

fol. 31r:

  1. W.440, fol. 31r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with dove of the Holy Spirit
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "D," 5 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit

fol. 53r:

  1. W.440, fol. 53r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with jeweled cross pendant of gold and pearls
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "D," 5 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Lauds

fol. 91r:

  1. W.440, fol. 91r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with heraldry of Philip the Handsome, and marginal female grotesque playing vielle
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "D," 5 lines, and marginalia
  4. Text: Advent Office of the Virgin

fol. 99r:

  1. W.440, fol. 99r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with harp
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "D," 5 lines
  4. Text: Seven Penitential Psalms

fol. 120r:

  1. W.440, fol. 120r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with skull and crossbones
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "D," 5 lines
  4. Text: Office of the Dead: Vespers
  5. Comment:

    Scroll around skull reads "Respice finem," or "Look to the end."

fol. 163v:

  1. W.440, fol. 163v
  2. Title: Initial "O" with man trying to catch bees with basket
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "O," 8 lines
  4. Text: O Intemerata

fol. 171r:

  1. W.440, fol. 171r
  2. Title: Initial "T" with Crucifixion with Mary and John on hanging shield
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "T," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrages: Suffrage to the Trinity

fol. 176r:

  1. W.440, fol. 176r
  2. Title: Initial "O" with jeweled red scallop shell
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "O," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrages: Suffrage to St. James the Greater
  5. Comment:

    The scallop shell is the attribute of St. James the Greater.

fol. 177r:

  1. W.440, fol. 177r
  2. Title: Initial "I" with serpent in chalice with rosaries
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "I," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrages: Suffrage to St. John the Baptist
  5. Comment:

    The serpent and chalice is the attribute of St. John the Baptist.

fol. 178r:

  1. W.440, fol. 178r
  2. Title: Initial "O" with skull in suspended gold medallion
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "O," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrages: Suffrage to St. Thomas

fol. 190r:

  1. W.440, fol. 190r
  2. Title: Initial "U" with hanging gray bell
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "U," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrages: Suffrage to St. Anthony
  5. Comment:

    The bell is an attribute of St. Anthony.

fol. 194r:

  1. W.440, fol. 194r
  2. Title: Initial "I" with green fronds with rosary beads in maiolica vase
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "I," 5 lines
  4. Text: Eight Verses of St. Bernard

fol. 199r:

  1. W.440, fol. 199r
  2. Title: Initial "U" with wheel
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "U," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrages: Suffrage to St. Catherine
  5. Comment:

    The wheel is an attribute of St. Catherine.

fol. 200r:

  1. W.440, fol. 200r
  2. Title: Initial "O" with tower suspended by hook
  3. Form: Decorated illuminated initial "O," 5 lines
  4. Text: Suffrages: Suffrage to St. Barbara
  5. Comment:

    The tower is an attribute of St. Barbara.


The binding is original.

Bound in Flanders (Ghent?) ca. fifteenth-sixteenth century and repaired ca. 1900; brown leather over wood boards; sewn on five single bands, rehitched at beginning and end by rebacker; upper and lower boards decorated with four blind-tooled panels depicting angels playing instruments (horn, triangle drum, lute, portative organ, harp) within spiraling vines, a design connected with the Gavere family of binders (see W.170 and W.439 for related); inscription around border is from Psalm 137.1, and reads (beginning in the upper left corner and going clockwise): "In conspectu angelorum psallam tibi domine et adorabo ad templum sanctum tuum et confitebor nomini tuo"; spine rounded and backed, with modern endbands in pink and green silk; edges gilded and gauffered with pairs of fillets forming large diamonds with centered rosettes formed of six dots around a central dot (Randall sees this, but it is difficult to make out); traces of clasps with five rivets are visible on edges of boards; brass studs on cover are probably modern; modern leather fore-edge tabs mark illuminations


Created ca. 1490s, likely in Ghent, with art by a member of the Ghent Associates

Philip the Handsome (1478-1506), duke of Austria, Brabant, and Burgundy, count of Flanders and Hainaut; his heraldry found in initial on fol. 91r, possibly indicating patronage; initial "G" written in upper corner on fol. 15r has been suggested as personal device used by Engelbert of Nassau or Philip the Handsome (see Alexander, 1970, pp. 9-10)

Discalced Carmelite monastery, inscription ca. 1700 in brown ink on fol. 1: "Sr: Prats" (?), and below: "Carmelitarum Discalceatorum Eremi Nethensis"

Owned by the Abbey of la Bussière-sur-Ouche (Côte-d'Or) until ca. 1800, according to a modern owner's note in WAM file

Gautier d'Albrard, France, ca. 1800; passed down to his son-in-law Baron Zangiacomi, who passed it down to his son-in-law, Baron Lacave La Plagne of La Plagne (Gers); this ownership information provided in a note attached to the latter's visiting card, which records the address 7 rue Chateaubriand, Paris (in WAM file)

Léon Gruel, French (Paris) bookbinder and dealer, early twentieth century

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel in 1923 for $1,040 (date and price recorded in pencil on top right corner of back pastedown)


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. 806, cat. no. 310.

Baltimore Museum of Art. The Greek tradition in painting and the minor arts: an exhibition sponsored jointly by the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery from May 15 through June 25, 1939. Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1939, p. 80, cat. no. 106.

Alexander, J. J. G. The Master of Mary of Burgundy: A Book of Hours for Engelbert of Nassau. Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1970; pp. 9-10.

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, 1976, pp. 722-23.

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. 479.

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, 1997; pp. 459-65, cat. no. 286.

Holford-Strevens, Leofranc. “Sirens in Antiquity and the Middle Ages.” In Music of the Sirens. Edited by Linda Austern and Inna Naroitskaya, 16-51. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2006; p. 50 (n. 125 for p. 36).

Wijsman, Hanno. “Philippe le Beau dans les livres: Un 'gran oublié’ de l’histoire.” In Books in Transition at the Time of Philip the Fair‬: Manuscripts and Printed Books in the Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century Low Countries‬. Edited by Henri Willem Wijsman, Ann Kelders, and Susie Speakman Sutch, 17-92. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2010; p. 45. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Wallace, Susan

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bucca, Lauren; Emery, Doug; 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.