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Walters Ms. W.68, Ramboux Psalter

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Shelf mark



Ramboux Psalter

Text title


This Flemish Psalter was produced in the Hainaut region between 1265 and 1275. It was altered for Dominican use through the addition of antiphons in the margins in the late fifteenth century, at which point it was also rebound in its current inscribed leather binding. It was later among the books collected by Johann Anton Ramboux (1790-1866), a German painter and museum curator. The manuscript, which is illuminated throughout with twelve large historiated and inhabited initials, is a strong example of a group of manuscripts produced in the last quarter of the thirteenth century that combined the artistic styles of Hainaut and Liège, other examples including Paris, B.N. Lat. 1077, Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, BBR Ms. IV-1066, and Princeton University Art Museum 57.189.


Ca. 1265-1275 CE








The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Medium weight to heavy parchment, darkened from use


Foliation: i+109+i

Two sets of page numbering: seventeenth-century ink pagination on upper corners of rectos/versos; modern pencil foliation upper right corners rectos, used here; flyleaves are not original, and were added during its rebinding in the fifteenth or sixteenth century


Formula: Quire 1: 1, tipped in and attached to front flyleaf (fol. 1); Quires 2-3: 8 (fols. 2-17); Quire 4: 8, with fifth folio cancelled (fols. 18-24); Quire 5: 8 (fols. 25-32); Quire 6: 8, with half-folio bound in later, now fol. 34bis (fols. 33-40); Quires 7-9: 8 (fols. 41-64); Quire 10: 10, with first folio cancelled (fols. 65-73); Quire 11: 8 (fols. 74-81); Quires 12-13: 6 (fols. 81-93); Quires 14-15: 8 (fols. 94-109)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None



13.0 cm wide by 17.3 cm high

Written surface

8.2 cm wide by 12.7 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 22
  3. Ruled in plummet; the layout does not apply to the litany and petitions, which are in two columns

fols. 1v - 109v:
  1. Title: Psalter
  2. Contents: Psalter, with an Hours of the Virgin added very early on, but the latter text is now missing
  3. Hand note: Angular textura; later addition fol. 1r in rounded textura; marginal additions in irregularly formed textura by several hands
  4. Decoration note: Twelve historiated initials (8 lines to full-page) and one inhabited initial (5 lines) in blue and pink with white accents against burnished gold grounds; enlarged flourished red and blue initials begin lesser psalms, canticles and prayers (2-3 lines); small alternating red and blue initials throughout (1 line); musical staff and notation added periodically in lower margins; rubrics in red; text in black-brown ink
fols. 1v - 97r:
  1. Title: Psalms
  2. Incipit: Beatus vir
  3. Contents: Ten-partite psalter, divided at psalms 1, 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101, 109, and with a major division at psalm 119; musical notations for Dominican antiphons added probably in the fifteenth century beginning on fol. 17v; half-page fragment bound in after fol. 34, probably during rebinding in fifteenth century, beginning "Amplius laua me domine," and with versicles for Vespers on Passion Sunday on the back
  4. Decoration note: Major psalm divisions marked with historiated initials, fols. 1v, 17v, 26v, 35r-v, 44r, 54r, 64r, 65r, 74r, and 84v; inhabited initial marks Psalm 2, fol. 2r
fols. 97r - 106r:
  1. Title: Canticles
  2. Incipit: Confitebor tibi
  3. Decoration note: Historiated initial fol. 97r
fols. 106r - 109v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, invocations, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrieleison
  3. Contents: Saints in Litany, fols. 106v-107v, suggest region of Hainaut in diocese of Cambrai; saints include: seventeen apostles, from John the Baptist to Timothy; twenty-three martyrs, which include Clement, Marcellus, Clement, Anacletus, Donatus, Adalbert, Lambert, Dionysius, Maurice, Gereon, Lawrence, and Vincent; twenty confessors, which include Gelasius, Maternus, Nicholas, Augustine, Hubert, Remacle, Dominic (added), Paulinus, Servatius, and Nicholas; nineteen virgins, including Felicitas, Perpetua, Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Adeltrudis, Brigid, Waldetrudis, Juliana, Catherine (added), Walburga, Corona, and Ursula; fols. 107v-108r: petitions; fols. 108v-109v: invocations; fol. 109v: two collects, first to the Virgin, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and saints with relics in church attended by the book's owner; second collect is to God
  4. Text note: Note repeated inclusion of Clement martyr and Nicholas confessor; fifteenth-century addition of SS. Dominic and Catherine of Siena, bottom fol. 107r
fols. 109v - 109v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt hore beate marie virginis.
  3. Contents: Text possibly added very early to manuscript, now missing with exception of surviving rubric


fol. 1v:

  1. W.68, fol. 1v
  2. Title: Initial "B" with Ascension (above) and Pentecost (below)
  3. Form: Historiated initial "B," full-page
  4. Text: Psalm 1

fol. 2r:

  1. W.68, fol. 2r
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with dragon
  3. Form: Inhabited initial "Q," 5 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 2

fol. 17v:

  1. W.68, fol. 17v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with David pointing to his mouth before the face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 26

fol. 26v:

  1. W.68, fol. 26v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with David pointing to his eye before the face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 38

fol. 35r:

  1. W.68, fol. 35r
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with an enthroned king
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 51

fol. 35v:

  1. W.68, fol. 35v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with a fool taking a bite of bread
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 52

fol. 44r:

  1. W.68, fol. 44r
  2. Title: Initial "S" with David in water below, and God blessing him above
  3. Form: Historiated initial "S," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 68

fol. 54r:

  1. W.68, fol. 54r
  2. Title: Initial "E" with David ringing bells
  3. Form: Historiated initial "E," 10 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 80

fol. 64r:

  1. W.68, fol. 64r
  2. Title: Initial "C" with a singing cleric
  3. Form: Historiated initial "C," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 97

fol. 65r:

  1. W.68, fol. 65r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with David praying before face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 9 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 101

fol. 74r:

  1. W.68, fol. 74r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with God enthroned, blessing and holding a crossed globe
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 109

fol. 84v:

  1. W.68, fol. 84v
  2. Title: Initial "A" with David praying before the face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "A," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 119

fol. 97r:

  1. W.68, fol. 97r
  2. Title: Initial "C" with David praying before the face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "C," 8 lines
  4. Text: Canticles


The binding is not original.

Rebound in the fifteenth or sixteenth century in Belgium; brown calf over wood boards; blind stamped; vine patterns with beasts framed by inscriptions reading from top left corner, clockwise: "Deus de[di]t/ nobis sua[m] pace[m] et/ post morte[m]/ vita[m] eterna[m] amen"; a second inscription around the panels on the right side read "Deus dedit/ deus abstulerit/ sit nome[n]/ domini benedictu[m]"; one metal clasp detached (housed separately); one knotted fore-edge tab marks the beginning of the Canticles on fol. 97; fragment of an early liturgical manuscript used for front pastedown, and pieces of two different later service books reused as flyleaves


Likely created in Hainaut ca. 1265-1275

Adapted for Dominican use, late fifteenth century; rebound at this time

Seventeenth-century shelfmark in brown ink, upper left corner of front pastedown: "Ms. 630" (or possibly 680)

Nineteenth-century inscription in black ink, lower left portion of front pastedown: "7598 Lot(?) Beg"

Antoine Ramboux, Cologne, before 1867; ownership stamp, "I. A. Ramboux," appears twice, on top of front pastedown, and on bottom of fol. 1r; sold in Cologne, May 23, 1867

Leo S. Olschki, Florence, early twentieth century; his typed dealer slip (in file) gives it a number "28852" in ink, as well as a penciled "4," the latter also found in pencil on recto of front flyleaf

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Olschki before 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. 81.

Oliver, J.H. Gothic Manuscript Illumination in the Diocese of Liège (c. 1250-1350). Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts from the Low Countries, 3. Vol. 2. Leuven: Peeters, 1988; p. 1, 26, 53, 56, 57, 78, 85, 118, 143, 152, 153, 156-158, 160, 161, 213, 229-231, pls. 44, 60.

Oliver, J.H. In beeld geprezen: Miniaturen uit Maaslandse devotieboeken, 1250-1350. Exhibition catalogue, Saint-Truiden, Provincial Museum voor Religuize Kunst. Leuven: Peeters, 1989; cat. no. 10.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 3, Belgium, 1250-1530. Baltimore, London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1997; pp. 7-10, cat. no. 215.

Smeyers, Mauritius. Flemish Miniatures from the 8th to the mid-16th Century: The Medieval World on Parchment. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1999; pp. 152 (fig. 61), 153.

Gy, Pierre-Marie. "Bulletin de liturgie." Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 84 (2000): 513-544; p. 520.

Joslin, Mary Coker and Carolyn Coker Joslin Watson. The Egerton Genesis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001; p. 204.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Catalogers: Herbert, Lynley; Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Izer, Emily; 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.