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Walters Ms. W.759, Beaupre Antiphonary, Vol. 1

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Beaupre Antiphonary, Vol. 1

Text title
Beaupré Antiphonary, Vol. 1


Illuminated in Hainaut ca. 1280 and completed in 1290, this collection of richly illuminated Cistercian manuscripts is a rare example of those being produced in Flanders at the end of the thirteenth century. Eighteen extant large historiated initials, flourished and decorated initials, and an abundance of amusing drolleries facilitate a liturgical narrative within the text. However, additions and removals within the text and imagery tells much about the use and history of the manuscript. The liturgical contents of this volume provide musical settings from Easter to the Assumption of the Virgin. This manuscript is the first of a set of three volumes destined for use on the abbess’ side of the choir at the Cistercian abbey of Sainte-Marie at Beaupré (diocese of Cambrai). Two sets of antiphonaries, each composed of three volumes, were originally created for the abbess and prioress of Beaupre. Of these two sets, the Walters Art Museum houses three volumes: two volumes from the set intended for the abbess and one volume from the set designated for the prioress. A fourth associated volume was created later to supplement W.759. It should be noted that apart from the volumes housed at the Walters, there survive four cutout initials from the other volumes. However, in 1865, these manuscripts were regrettably lost in a fire that spread from a house adjacent to Sotheby’s, where the books were being prepared for sale. In addition to the manuscripts' rich illumination, there is also a wealth of historical evidence throughout. Added at the beginning of each volume is a full-page inscription that details ownership: “Antiphonaire pour sevir dans le Coeur du coté de Ma-Dame L’abbesse, à Pâques jusque â L’Assumption de Notre Dame,” as well as an anathema for a thief, and a blessing for the faithful and honest user. Further information on provenance can be gleaned from the illumination itself; the third volume (W.761) contains an author portrait of the scribe/artist, a Cistercian monk named Johannes de Toussens (fol. 1r), while the manuscripts' patroness who married into the de Viane family is depicted with a younger woman named Clementia on fol. 3v of vol. 1 (W.759). Donations by members of the de Viane family to Sainte-Marie of Beaupré were recorded from 1244 to 1293. Since the volume’s assemblage, there have been updates in two major campaigns: ca. 1475-1500 at which time select thirteenth-century Offices were replaced in part by revisions and by additions placed at the end of the volume (see W.762 for supplement) and the second campaign in the eighteenth century at which time some thirteenth- and fifteenth-century leaves were removed, changes were made to both neumes and text passim, and additions were added at the end of the volume or in the Supplement. The first of these campaigns was presumably for abbess Jacqueline Hendricx (1473-1500), the second in the eighteenth century likely for the last abbess, Angéline de Lossy (1755-96), after which point the abbey was seized during the French Revolution. Drolleries are most often found on pages with historiated initials, and principally focused on centered bas-de-page scenes. While many drolleries were effaced, some traces of these images can be recognized by their shadowy outlines. Many of these erasures are thought to be at the hand of John Ruskin, who is also credited with authoring a separate table of contents, as well as several transcriptions of the Latin text found on numerous leaves. Truly a remarkable work, this multi-volume antiphonary was generously gifted to the Walters Art Museum in 1957 at the bequest of the Hearst Foundation.


Dated 1290 CE








The primary language in this manuscript is Latin. The secondary languages of this manuscript are Latin, French.

Support material


Parchment of medium to heavy weight, well selected and prepared; extensive use evident from revisions dating from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries, as well from cockling, stains, and grime; endleaves of thick modern parchment were added by rebinder after 1904


Foliation: iii+223+iii

Page height and width ranges from 47.5cm-48cm x 33.5cm-34cm; modern pencil foliation upper right corners rectos (used here); three other foliatiions, the first in the style of fifteenth or nineteenth-century roman numerals at or near center of fore-edge on each recto, brown ink, often erased, beginning on fol. 2, actual total of 278 folios due to repetition of numerals on fols. 148, 149, 199; second and third foliations, mostly erased in arabic numerals at outer top corner of rectos and versos, brown ink, earlier arabic foliation mostly erased, placed slightly higher than later arabic pagination, the latter being fully extant, approximately aligned with top ruling, begins on fol. 2, skipping "177" (now fol. 90r), "416" accidentally written "461" (now fol. 209r)


Formula: Quires 1-11: 8 (fols. 1-88); Quire 12: 10 (fols. 89-98); Quire 13: 8 (fols. 99-106); Quire 14: 8, with second folio cancelled (fols. 107-113); Quire 15: 8, with last folio cancelled (fols. 114-120); Quire 16: 8 (fols. 121-128); Quire 17*: 4, composite of two original and two added leaves; first and second folios are singletons, third* and fourth* folios attached after fol. 128, sewing between second and third folios (fols. 129-132); Quire 18*: 8 (fols. 133-140); Quire 19: 4 (fols. 141-144); Quires 20-21: 8 (fols. 145-160); Quire 22*: 8 (fols. 161-168); Quire 23: 2, bifolium (fols. 169-170); Quires 24-29: 8 (fols. 171-218); Quire 30: 6, with sixth folio cancelled (fols. 219-223)

Catchwords: Often extant in original text, found at lower right on last verso of quire, some cropped, in text hand; concerning later additions: extant on fols. 132v* and 140v*, only the former matches text on next recto, these read "et filio"

Signatures: Some extant at extreme lower right of rectos, finely drawn in red ink; for good examples see fols. 81r, 82r, 203r, 204r, 205r, and 206r

Comments: Later additions marked * in collation formula


33.5 cm wide by 47.5 cm high

Written surface

22.5 cm wide by 35.0 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 8
  3. Eight staves of four lines alternating with eight text lines

fols. 1r - 223v:
  1. Title: Beaupré Antiphonary, Vol. 1
  2. Hand note: Written in textura prescissa; fifteenth-century additions written in textura formata; square musical notation on four-line stave
  3. Decoration note: Eighteen extant historiated initials (varying in height from 2 staves and 2 lines of text to 5 staves and 5 lines of text); gold decorated initials at sixteen text-openings (1 stave and 1 line of text): two in ownership inscription (fol. 1v), antiphon in Office of Holy Saturday (fol. 2v), six in Easter Sunday Office responsories (fols. 5r, 6r, 7v, 8v, 9r-v), two in Office for Easter Monday antiphons (fols. 10v and 12r), one in vigils of Ascension (fol. 31v), two in Office of Pentecost antiphons (fols. 44r, 52v), one in Office of Trinity Sunday antiphon (fol. 58r), one in fragmentary Office of octave of Nativity of St. John Baptist antiphon (fol. 141r, Matins Magnificat); twelve flourished initials: some large (2 staves and 2 lines of text) featuring geometric or foliate motif, occasional fluer-dis-lis, colored in red and blue, emphasizing the openings in the Offices of Easter, Easter Octave, Pentecost octave, second Sunday after Pentecost (Benedictus antiphon), St. Mark, Commemoration of St. Peter, and in Common of Saints for apostles, one martyr (also Vespers antiphon), several martyrs, one confessor bishop, one confessor non-bishop (fols. 19r, 26r, 71r, 76v, 81v, 118v, 125r, 184r, 194r, 202v, 210r, 217r); other flourished initials colored in red and blue (1 stave and 1 line of text) found at beginning of most antiphons, responsories, and fifteenth-century additions at beginning of antiphons, hymns; plain colored initials (1 stave and 1 line of text) of red and blue ink in quires added in the fifteenth century at beginning of antiphons, responsories, and versicles; borders present at text openings featuring historiated initials, bracket-shape, of note are human and beast heads that form terminals at outer ends and junctures above and below historiated initials; drolleries varying in character and motif on pages with historiated initials, principally focused on centered bas-de-page; musical notation in dark brown ink, staves in red; rubrics and headings in red; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1r - 1v:
  1. Title: Title page and ownership inscription
  2. Incipit: Antiphonaire pour sevir
  3. Contents: Fol. 1r: title on original front flyleaf, added in the eighteenth century in red ink: "Antiphonaire pour sevir dans le coeur du coté de Ma-Dame l'abbesse, à Pâques jusque â L'Assumption de Notre Dame"; fol. 1v: full-page ownership inscription of 8 lines of text in alternating lines of red and blue ink, specifies name of convent, completion date of 1290, includes anathema for thief and blessing for honest and faithful user: "Liber ecclesie beate marie de bello prato. Qui scriptus fuit anno ab incarnatione domini. millesimo. cc Nonogesimo. Si quis illum abstrulerit anathema sit. si quis illum fideliter et honeste tractaue rit et seruauerit benedictus sit amen"
fols. 1v - 98v:
  1. Title: Temporale, from Easter through Assumption of Virgin (Aug. 15)
  2. Incipit: Alleluya alleluya, alleluya
  3. Contents: Fols. 1v-31v: Easter: vigils, feast, weekdays and Sundays after Easter; heading for vigils on Holy Saturday: "In sacratissima vigilia pasche ad vesperas super psalmos antiphona"; fols. 31v-44r: Ascension: vigils and feast; fols. 44r-58r: Pentecost: vigils and feast; fols. 58r-87v: Trinity Sunday: vigils, feast, weekdays and Sunday after Pentecost; fols. 87v-98r: Dedication of Church: vigils and Office
  4. Decoration note: Historiated initials on fols. 2r, 3v, 10r, 13v, 32v, 44v, 60r, and 90r
fols. 98v - 223v:
  1. Title: Sanctorale, St. Benedict (Mar. 21) through St. Lawrence (Aug. 10)
  2. Rubric: In natali sancti Benedicti vesperas super psalmos a.
  3. Incipit: Alleluya. R. Solem mundi.
  4. Contents: Fols. 98v-107v: St. Benedict (Mar. 21); fol. 107v: Annunciation (Mar. 25); text gap following fol. 107v, Vespers antiphon and part of first nocturn absent, however there is no gap in Arabic numeration; fols. 108r-116r: Annunciation continued beginning with Matins, first responsory; fols. 116r-117v: St. Ambrose (Apr. 4); fols. 117v-120v: St. Mark, partial Office; gap in text after fol. 120v, no gap in Arabic numeration, second nocturn, first responsory ends imperfectly on fol. 120v; fols. 121r-123v: St. Mark (Apr. 25), continued, text resumes with third responsory in second nocturn, beginning imperfectly: "nasi militudo ipsarum quatuor . . . ."; fols. 123v-124v: St. Robert of Molesme (Apr. 29, d. 1110, founder of Cistercian Order in 1098, can. 1222); fols. 124v-130r: SS. Philip and James (May 1); fols. 130r-v: Invention of the True Cross (May 3); gap in text after fol. 130 consisting of twenty leaves, missing texts include the end of preceding Office and most of Office of Nativity of St. John Baptist; no gap in Arabic numeration; insertion after fol. 130, ca. the last quarter of the fifteenth century including Nativity of St. John the Baptist; gap in text after fol. 140 consisting of thirty-one leaves, no gap in Arabic numeration, relocated after fol. 160 in rebinding, losses include most of preceding Office of Visitation and original Office of Nativity of St. John the Baptist; fol. 141r-v: Nativity of St. John the Baptist (Jul. 1), misbound original leaf from end of octave; fols. 141v-160v: SS. Peter and Paul, Commemoration of St. Paul; fol. 160v (Jun. 29): Nativity of St. John the Baptist, misbound leaf from octave: cues from Vespers Commemoration in octave through Canticles, intercalated cues for St. Peter apostle; gap in text after fol. 160 consisting of thirteen leaves, octave of Nativity of St. John the Baptist absent, no gap in Arabic numeration; insertions, ca. the last quarter of the fifteenth century: after fol. 160: St. Mary Magdalene (Jul. 22); after fol. 168: Crown of Thorns (Aug. 11, instituted in Cistercian calendar in 1241 CE); gap in text after fol. 168: losses include the end of preceding Office and perhaps opening cues to next Office; fol. 169r: St. Peter in Chains (Aug. 1); fols. 169r-174v: Invention of St. Stephen (Aug. 3); fols. 174v-183r: St. Lawrence; fols. 183r-223v: Common of Saints; fol. 223v: text ends imperfectly during "Te Deum"
  5. Decoration note: Historiated initials on fols. 99r, 99v, 108r, 141v, 143v, 153r, 169r, and 176v


fol. 2r:

  1. W.759, fol. 2r
  2. Title: Initial "A" with Harrowing of Hell and three angel-musicians
  3. Form: Historiated initial "A," 4 lines of plainsong notation + 4 lines of text
  4. Text: Easter: vigils, opening cues to Vespers antiphon, psalm, responsory, hymn, versicle

fol. 3v:

  1. W.759, fol. 3v
  2. Title: Initial "A" with the Resurrection and three Marys at the tomb
  3. Form: Historiated initial "A," 5 lines of plainsong notation + 5 lines of text
  4. Text: Easter Sunday, Matins, first responsory

fol. 10r:

  1. W.759, fol. 10r
  2. Title: Initial "A" with "Noli me tangere"
  3. Form: Historiated initial "A," 3 lines of plainsong notation + 3 lines of text
  4. Text: Easter Sunday, Lauds, opening antiphon and responsory

fol. 13v:

  1. W.759, fol. 13v
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with Road to Emmaus
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: Easter week, feria ii (Monday), Benedictus antiphon

fol. 32v:

  1. W.759, fol. 32v
  2. Title: Initial "P" with Ascension
  3. Form: Historiated initial "P," 3 lines of plainsong notation + 3 lines of text
  4. Text: Ascension vigils, Matins, first responsory

fol. 44v:

  1. W.759, fol. 44v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with Pentecost
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 3 lines of plainsong notation + 3 lines of text
  4. Text: Pentecost vigils, Matins, first responsory

fol. 60r:

  1. W.759, fol. 60r
  2. Title: Initial "B" with Trinity in form of Crucifixion with Dove and inscribed scroll symbolizing God-Father
  3. Form: Historiated initial "B," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: Trinity Sunday, Matins, first responsory

fol. 90r:

  1. W.759, fol. 90r
  2. Title: Initial "O" with Dedication of Church of Sainte-Marie of Beaupré
  3. Form: Historiated initial "O," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: Dedication of Church vigils and office: Matins, first responsory

fol. 99r:

  1. W.759, fol. 99r
  2. Title: Initial "A" with St. Benedict's miraculous repair of sieve broken by his nurse
  3. Form: Historiated initial "A," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: St. Benedict: cues to Vespers

fol. 99v:

  1. W.759, fol. 99v
  2. Title: Initial "F" with St. Benedict's miraculous resuscitation of dead child
  3. Form: Historiated initial "F," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: St. Benedict: Matins, first responsory

fol. 108r:

  1. W.759, fol. 108r
  2. Title: Initial "M" with Annunciation
  3. Form: Historiated initial "M," 3 lines of plainsong notation + 3 lines of text
  4. Text: Annunciation, Matins, first responsory

fol. 141v:

  1. W.759, fol. 141v
  2. Title: Initial "G" with St. Peter with Key, St. Paul with sword
  3. Form: Historiated initial "G," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: SS. Peter and Paul, Commemoration of St. Paul: Vespers antiphon

fol. 143v:

  1. W.759, fol. 143v
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with Crucifixion of St. Peter
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: SS. Peter and Paul, Commemoration of St. Paul: Matins, first responsory

fol. 153r:

  1. W.759, fol. 153r
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with Martyrdom of St. Paul
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 2 lines of plainsing notation +2 lines of text
  4. Text: Commemoration of St. Paul: Matins, first responsory

fol. 169r:

  1. W.759, fol. 169r
  2. Title: Initial "S" with St. Stephen revered by knight and kinswoman(?) in Cistercian habit
  3. Form: Historiated initial "S," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of text
  4. Text: Invention of St. Stephen: Matins, first responsory

fol. 176v:

  1. W.759, fol. 176v
  2. Title: Initial "Q" with Martyrdom of St. Lawrence
  3. Form: Historiated initial "Q," 2 lines of plainsong notation + 2 lines of music
  4. Text: St. Lawrence: Matins, first responsory


The binding is not original.

Late medieval binding possibly extant when acquired by John Ruskin, ca. 1850; rebound in England, after 1904; modern crimson velvet, worn; modern parchment pastedowns and endleaves; spine rounded and covered in red morocco; five compartments; gilt title "Antiphonarium Ecclesie S. Mariae de Bello Prato I MS. AD 1290"; edges are part gilt and partially painted blue; two rose silk ribbon fastenings, attached to upper and lower covers; red drop-front box, curved red morocco spine compartmentalized and titled the same as volume


Created in Hainaut ca. 1290 by the Cistercian monk Johannes de Toussens (see author portrait on fol. 1r of vol. III, W.761) for Béatrix of Grammont (1269-93/94), abbess, Cistercian abbey of Sainte-Marie of Beaupré at Grimmage near Geerardsbergen (Grammont, diocese of Cambrai, later Malines); Patroness, married into the de Viane family, depicted with a younger woman named Clementia

Abbess Jacquemine Hendricx, after 1476, Cistercian abbey of Sainte-Marie of Beaupré at Grimmage; extensive revisions, first of two major campaigns, begun under her

Abbess Angéline de Lossy (1755-96), eighteenth century; second campaign of extensive revisions; abbey seized during French Revolution and subsequently sold in 1797; church destroyed soon thereafter

John Ruskin, London, ca. 1850; likely his erasures of marginalia and grotesques

Arthur Severn (cousin of John Ruskin) and Mrs. Severn, London, ca. 1900-02/1904

Henry Yates Thompson, 1902, his bookplate; his sale, London, Sotheby's, June 22, 1921, lot 67, Pls. 4-6

Bernard Quaritch, London bookseller, after 1921

Sir A. Chester Beatty, his sale, London, Sotheby's, June 7, 1932

Spanish Art Gallery, London, after 1932

William Randolph Hearst, San Simeon, California, before 1951


Walters Art Museum, January 1957, gift of the Hearst Foundation


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Thompson, Henry Yates. Illustrations of One Hundred Manuscripts in the Library of Henry Yates Thompson. Vol. 6. London, 1916; no. LXXXIII, Pls. XII-XXIII.

Cockerell, Sydney Carlisle, and Edward Fairbrother Strange. Catalogue of Miniatures, Leaves, and Cuttings from Illuminated Manuscripts. Exhibition Catalogue: Victoria and Albert Museum. London: H.M. Stationary Office, 1923; p. 11.

Millar, Eric G. The library of A. Chester Beatty: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts. Vol. 2. Oxford: J. Johnson at the Oxford University Press, 1930; pp. 88-103, no. 63, Pls. CXXXIII-CXXXIX.

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Miner, Dorothy. 2,000 Years of Calligraphy: A Three-Part Exhibition Organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Peabody Institute, and the Walters Art Gallery. Baltimore: Trustees of the Walters Art Gallery, 1965; pp. 45-46 (fig. 27).

Dearden, J.S. "John Ruskin, the Collector: With a Catalogue of the Illuminated and Other Manuscripts Formerly in His Collection." The Library 21/2 (1966): 124-154; pp. 135, 136, 153.

Miner, Dorothy. "Since De Ricci- Western Illuminated Manuscripts Acquired since 1934: A Report in Two Parts. Part II." Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 31-32 (1968-1969): 40-117; pp. 62-68, figs. 15-17, 19.

Stones, M. Alison. "Illumination of the French Prose Lancelot in Flanders, Belgium, and Paris, 1250-1340." Ph.D. diss., University of London, 1970-1971; pp. 85, 111, 236-237, 244, 265 (n. 6).

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Dearden, J.S. "Bulletin codicologique." Scriptorium 27 (1973); pp. 123 (cat. no. 79), 395 (cat. no. 764).

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Büttner, F.O. Imitatio Pietatis: Motive der christlichen Ikonographie als Modelle zur Verähnilichung. Berlin: Gebrüder Mann Verlag, 1983; pp. 135, 206.

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Hunt, Elizabeth Moore. Illuminating the Border of French and Flemish Manuscripts, 1270–1310. London: Routledge, 2006; p. 180 (n. 26).

Hoffmann, Richard C. "Economic Development and Aquatic Ecosystems in Medieval Europe." In Internal Colonization in Medieval Europe, Part 2. Edited by Felipe Fernández-Armesto and James Muldoon, 633-672. Surrey: Ashgate/Variorum, 2008; p. 655.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbold, Rebekah

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Herbert, Lynley; Herbold, Rebekah; 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.