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Walters Ms. W.805, Bible (part)

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Shelf mark



Bible (part)

Text title
Bible (Jerome's prefaces, Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, chapter lists)


This large-scale manuscript contains the first eight Old Testament books, Genesis through Ruth. The date of completion is given as February 2, 1507. The illumination of the Creation within a cosmographic scheme is based in part on the woodcut illustrations of the Creation in the 1483 Koberger Bible and the 1493 Nuremberg chronicle by the same printer. Large historiated initials mark the beginning of each book. This large-format form of the Bible was revived in the low countries and Rhineland in the mid fifteenth century; later in the century such books were being made in southeast Germany and Bohemia. The style of the miniatures in this manuscript is typical of upper Austrian miniature painting of the later fifteenth century.


Dated February 2, 1507 CE


Austria or Bohemia






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

fol. 160v:
  1. Transliteration: 1507 4 nonas februarias
  2. Translation: February 2, 1507

Support material


Cream-colored parchment of medium thickness


Foliation: i+160+i

Foliation in pencil in upper right corners of rectos; flyleaves of added laid paper


Formula: i, 1-20(8), i

Catchwords: None

Signatures: Sheet signatures of the type ai, aii, aiii, aiiii visible at the bottom right corners of the rectos of the first four leaves of each quire, in most cases

Comments: Quires begin on fols. 1(1), 9(2), 17(3), 25(4), 33(5), 41(6), 49(7), 57(8), 65(9), 73(10), 81(11), 89(12), 97(13), 105(14), 113(15), 121(16), 129(17), 137(18), 145(19), 153(20)


29.7 cm wide by 42.3 cm high

Written surface

20.5 cm wide by 31.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 2
  2. Ruled lines: 34
  3. Ruled in light brown ink

fols. 1r - 160v:
  1. Title: Bible (Jerome's prefaces, Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, chapter lists)
  2. Contents: Fols. 1r-5v: Incipit epistola beati hieronymi presbyteri ad Paulinum presbiteram de omnibus divine hystorie libris (Frater Ambrosius [Stegmüller 284]); fols. 5v-6r: Incipit prefatio beati hieronimi presbiteri in Pentateucum (Desiderii mei desideratas accepi [Stegmüller 285]); fol. 6r: Incipit liber Genesis qui dicitur Hebraice bresith. Capitulum primum; fols. 6v-37v: Genesis; fols. 37v-61v: Incipit liber Hellesmoth quem nos Exodi dicimus. Capitulum primum, Exodus; fols. 62r-78r: Incipit vagethra id est liber Leviticus. Capitulum primum, Leviticus; fol. 78r: Incipit vadegeber id est Numeri. Capitulum primum; fols. 78v-102r: Numbers; fols. 102r-124r: Incipit liber Elleaddaberim qui Deuteronomium prenotatur. De quorumdam mandatorum epilogatione cum determinatoribus quibusdam additis. Capitulum primum, Deuteronomy; fols. 124r-124v: Incipit prologus beati hieronymi presbyteri in librum Iosue (Tandem finito Pentateucho [Stegmüller 311]); fol. 124v: Incipit argumentum (Iesus filius nave typum [Stegmüller 307]); fols. 124v-140r: Incipit liber Iosue. De Iosue qualiter receptus est in locum Moysi et eius edicto ad principes de transmeatione Iordani. Capitulum primum, Joshua; fols. 140r-155v: Incipit liber Sopthim quem nos Iudicium appellamus. Quomodo Iudas pugnavit contra chananeum absque deletionem aliquorum habitantium in terra. Capitulum primum, Judges; fols. 155v-157v: Incipit liber Ruth. De peregrinatione elimelech et Noemi uxoris sue tempore famis in regione moabitarum ac de reditu eiusdem cum Ruth nuru sua. Capitulum primum, Ruth; fols. 158r-158v: Incipit capitulatio libri Genesis. L. Capitula continentis (De creatione celi Empirei); fols. 158v-159v: Incipit capitulatio libri Exodi. XL. Capitula continentis (De servitute et oneribus filiorum Israel); fols. 159v-160r: Incipit capitulatio libri Levitici qui XXVII continet capitula (De holocaustis filiorum Israhel); fols. 160r-160v: Incipit capitulatio libri Numerorum qui in XXXVI dividitur capitula
  3. Hand note: Written in Gothic bookhand (textura); chapter list and colophon written in a second hand; punctus flexus punctuation possibly indicating Cistercian or Carthusian use
  4. Decoration note: One half-page miniature; eight large historiated initials (11 lines); chapter initials in red or blue throughout (3 lines); headings, rubrics, and explicits in red; rubric to preface on fol. 1r in gold; text in dark brown ink


fol. 1r:

  1. W.805, fol. 1r
  2. Title: St. Jerome in his study
  3. Form: Historiated initial "F," 9 lines
  4. Text: Jerome's letter to Paulinus

fol. 6v:

  1. W.805, fol. 6v
  2. Title: Creation of the world and Eve
  3. Form: Half-page miniature
  4. Text: Genesis

fol. 37v:

  1. W.805, fol. 37v
  2. Title: Moses before the burning bush
  3. Form: Historiated initial "H," 11 lines
  4. Text: Exodus

fol. 62r:

  1. W.805, fol. 62r
  2. Title: Moses explains the law to two Israelites
  3. Form: Historiated initial "V," 11 lines
  4. Text: Leviticus

fol. 78v:

  1. W.805, fol. 78v
  2. Title: God appears to Moses and a group of Israelites
  3. Form: Historiated initial "L," 11 lines
  4. Text: Numbers

fol. 102r:

  1. W.805, fol. 102r
  2. Title: Moses preaches to the Israelites from a pulpit
  3. Form: Historiated initial "H," 11 lines
  4. Text: Deuteronomy

fol. 124v:

  1. W.805, fol. 124v
  2. Title: Joshua, in silver armor, leads the assault on Jericho
  3. Form: Historiated initial "E," 11 lines
  4. Text: Joshua

fol. 140r:

  1. W.805, fol. 140r
  2. Title: Samson kills the lion
  3. Form: Historiated initial "P," 11 lines
  4. Text: Judges

fol. 155v:

  1. W.805, fol. 155v
  2. Title: Naomi and Ruth
  3. Form: Historiated initial "I," 11 lines
  4. Text: Ruth


The binding is original.

Blind-stamped tanned leather over heavy wooden boards; sewn in six bands; boards ruled with a frame and diaper pattern and stamped with floral tools, as well as lozenge-shaped rosettes, lilies, and quatrefoils; nine (of the original ten) elaborate, pierced metal fittings for stubs of clasps and catches present (clasps themselves lacking); extensively rebacked


Finished on February 2, 1507, in Bohemia(?); made for monastic use, probably Cistercian or Carthusian

Unknown monastic owner, eighteenth century ("Nr. 78" written on front pastedown)

November 9, 1931, Sotheby's London, lot 216, to Marks(?)

Otto Ege, Cleveland, bought in 1932 from E. Dawson, Los Angeles

Walters Art Museum, December 11, 1984, purchased from Sotheby's London, no. 54


Museum purchase


De Ricci, Seymour. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. Vol. 2. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1937, p. 1938, no. 6.

Randall, Lilian M. C. "Tradition in Transition." The Walters Art Gallery Bulletin 38, no. 3 (1984): 1-2.

Hindman, Sandra. Important Western Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts and Illuminated Leaves. Akron, OH: Bruce Ferrini, 1987, p. 53.

König. Eberhard. "The History of Art and the History of the Book at the Time of Transition from Manuscript to Print." In Bibliography and the Study of 15th-Century Civilization: Papers Presented at a Colloquium at the British Library, 26-28 September 1984, edited by Lotte Hellinga and John Goldfinch. London: British Library, 1987, pp. 154-184, n. 62.


Cataloger: Walters Art Museum curatorial staff and researchers since 1934

Editors: Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William

Copy editor: Bockrath, Diane

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Bockrath, Diane; Dutschke, Consuelo; Emery, Doug; Hamburger, Jeffrey; Noel, William; Sciacca, Christine; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Valle, Chiara


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.