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.527, Gospel Book

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

Shelf mark



Gospel Book

Text title
Gospel Book


The Gospel text in this Constantinopolitan manuscript of ca. 1000 is now fragmentary and its folios are bound out of order. However, it provides a fine and quite early example of the so-called pearl script: a calligraphic form of minuscule handwriting that was extremely popular in the Byzantine Empire. The single surviving miniature is of interest because of the peculiar technique, similar to watercolor, in which it was painted. Another Evangelist portrait from the same set survives in Mount Athos, Docheiariou Monastery MS 56.


Ca. 1000 CE


Constantinople (Istanbul)






The primary language in this manuscript is Greek, Ancient (to 1453).

Support material


High quality, white and smooth


Foliation: i+136+i

Twentieth-century pencil foliation in upper right corners of rectos (followed here), includes fol. 36bis, ends at fol. 135; earlier pencil foliation in lower right corners of rectos


Formula: 1(10,-10), 2-4(8), 5(8,-8), 6-7(8), 8(10,-7), 9(8), 10(4), 11(8,-7,8), 12-13(8), 14(12,-3,6,8,11), 15(10,-3,9), 16-17(8), 18(8,-6,7,8)

Signatures: There are three parallel sets of quire signatures in the lower margins of each quire's first and/or last leaf. Two of them are in Greek characters, the third one is in Cyrillic characters. All postdate the copying of the book by several centuries.

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 10(2), 18(3), 26(4), 34(5), 40(6), 48(7), 56(8), 65(9), 73(10), 77(11), 83(12), 91(13), 99(14), 107(15), 115(16), 123(17), 131(18). Missing some quires, others reconstructed. Original order of folios currently extant in this manuscript: lacuna, fols. 77-135, 1-39, lacuna, fols. 40-59, lacuna, fols. 60-72, lacuna, fols. 75, 73, lacuna, fols. 76, 74.


15.0 cm wide by 20.4 cm high

Written surface

8.5 cm wide by 12.8 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 20
  3. Hardpoint ruling

fols. 1r - 135v:
  1. Title: Gospel Book
  2. Contents: Gospel Book
  3. Text note: Incomplete and out of sequence: fols. 1v-39v: Mark 1:1-14:3; fols. 40r-59v: Luke 2:41-8:16; fols. 60r-72v: Luke 9:41-12:42; fols. 73r-v: John 8:19-8:33; fols. 74r-v: John 10:4-10:18; fols. 75r-v: John 8:5- 8:19; fols. 76r-v: John 9:29-10:3; fols. 77r-135v: Gospel of Matthew, beginning lost, starts at Matthew 9:6
  4. Hand note: Perlschrift, medium to dark brown ink, one hand
  5. Decoration note: One full-page miniature extant; one ornamental headpiece; rubrics in red or gold over maroon; text in dark brown ink


fol. 1v:

  1. W.527, fol. 1v
  2. Title: Evangelist Mark
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Text: Gospel of Mark
  5. Comment:

    Inscribed "ὁ ἅ(γιος) Μάρκος" or "St. Mark."

    The Evangelist is shown deep in thought, his hand raised to his mouth (compare to image with similar composition in Baltimore, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.530.A). On the desk before him are pens, an inkwell, a pair of compasses, and two knives (used to prepare parchment for writing and to erase errors).

fol. 2r:

  1. W.527, fol. 2r
  2. Title: Title page of the Gospel of Mark
  3. Form: Ornamented headpiece
  4. Text: Mark 1:1-5
  5. Comment:

    Inscribed "τὸ κατὰ Μάρκο(ν) ἄγιον εὐ(α)γ(γέλιον)· τῇ κυ(ριακῇ) πρὸ τῶν Φώτων· κε(φάλαιον) α," or "The Holy Gospel according to Mark; on the Sunday after the Feast of the Baptism; Chapter 1."


The binding is not original.

Reused Armenian cover originally from Venice, San Lazzaro MS 1580 (according to Guy Petherbridge); tooled brown leather over thin squared boards


Henry Walters, acquired before 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


Clark, Kenneth. A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937, pp. 357-358.

Vikan, Gary, ed. Illuminated Greek Manuscripts from American Collections: An Exhibition in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973, pp. 70-71, cat. no. 7.

Weitzmann, Kurt. Die byzantinische Buchmalerei des 9. und 10. Jahrhunderts: Addenda und Appendix. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996, p. 82, figs. 640-641.

Parpulov, Georgi. “A Catalogue of Greek Manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum.” Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004): 71-189.


Principal cataloger: Parpulov, Georgi R.

Editors: Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William

Copy editor: Joyal, Stephanie

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Emery, Doug; Noel, William; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-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.