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Walters Ms. W.528, Gospel Book

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Shelf mark



Gospel Book

Text title
Gospel Book


This Gospel Book is representative of a large group of illuminated manuscripts produced during the second half of the twelfth century and possibly in the first decades after the Crusader conquest of Constantinople (1204). Its one surviving miniature was painted over in the twentieth century but retains some of its original character. Each Gospel opens with an exuberantly ornamented headpiece.


Early 13th century CE


Byzantine Empire






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

Support material


Good quality, no significant defects


Foliation: i+233

Flyleaf included in foliation, and therefore runs through 234; foliation in pencil in upper right corners of rectos


Formula: 1(8), 2(6), 3(8,-3,4), 4-6(8), 7(10,-2,9), 8(8), 9(10,-3,9), 10-14(8), 15(6,-6), 16(2,-2), 17-30(8), 31(8,-8)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: Often trimmed, on first folio of each quire, middle of upper margin, separately for each Gospel

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 2(1), 10(2), 16(3), 22(4), 30(5), 38(6), 46(7), 54(8), 62(9), 70(10), 78(11), 86(12), 94(13), 102(14), 110(15), 115(16), 116(17), 124(18), 132(19), 140(20), 148(21), 156(22), 164(23), 172(24), 180(25), 188(26), 196(27), 204(28), 212(29), 220(30), 228(31)


16.5 cm wide by 23.0 cm high

Written surface

9.8 cm wide by 14.7 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 23
  3. Hardpoint ruling

fols. 1r - 234v:
  1. Title: Gospel Book
  2. Contents: Incomplete: fols. 2r-69v: Gospel of Matthew; fols. 70r-114v: Gospel of Mark, end lost, ends with Mark 16:17; fols. 116r-187v: Gospel of Luke, end lost, ends with Luke 24:29; fols. 188r-234v: Gospel of John, end lost, ends with John 18:31
  3. Hand note: "Epsilon" style; written in one hand throughout


fol. 2r:

  1. W.528, fol. 2r
  2. Title: Title page of the Gospel of Matthew
  3. Form: Ornamented headpiece, zoomorphic initial

fol. 69v:

  1. W.528, fol. 69v
  2. Title: Decorated tailpiece
  3. Form: Ornament
  4. Comment:

    Twentieth-century tailpiece

fol. 70r:

  1. W.528, fol. 70r
  2. Title: Title page of the Gospel of Mark
  3. Form: Ornamented headpiece, illuminated initial

fol. 115v:

  1. W.528, fol. 115v
  2. Title: The Evangelist Luke
  3. Form: Full-page miniature
  4. Comment:

    St. Luke

    Fol. 115 certainly belonged to the manuscript from an early date, and the faded inscription with the name of St. Luke above the frame is written in magenta ink and perhaps in the scribe’s hand. The miniature, however, is almost entirely painted over. Its colors differ noticeably from those used in the four headpieces and initials, which are original to the volume.

fol. 116r:

  1. W.528, fol. 116r
  2. Title: Title page of the Gospel of Luke
  3. Form: Ornamented headpiece, zoomorphic initial

fol. 188r:

  1. W.528, fol. 188r
  2. Title: Title page of the Gospel of John
  3. Form: Ornamented headpiece, zoomorphic initial


The binding is not original.

Greek; perhaps seventeenth-century; tooled brown goatskin over grooved boards, with prominent brown calf repairs on exterior of upper and lower boards; many quires fortified with paper at gutter; raised endbands; paper pastedowns; parchment flyleaf, probably added by Leon Gruel (foliated as fol. 1); traces of pins and fastening braids


Henry Walters, Baltimore, acquired before 1931


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


K. W. Clark, A Descriptive Catalogue of Greek New Testament Manuscripts in America (Chicago, 1937), 358–359

O. Demus, “Studien zur byzantinischen Buchmalerei des 13. Jahrhunderts,” Jahrbuch der Österreichischen byzantinischen Gesellschaft 9 (1960), 77–89, esp. 80–84

H. Buchthal, “Studies in Byzantine Illumination of the Thirteenth Century,” Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen 25 (1983), 27–102, esp. 68–70

A. W. Carr, Byzantine Illumination 1150–1250: The Study of a Provincial Tradition (Chicago and London, 1987), 210

G. R. Parpulov, “A Catalogue of the Greek Manuscripts of the Walters Art Museum”, Journal of the Walters Art Museum 62 (2004), 71-189, esp. 104-106


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.