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Walters Ms. W.113, Psalter from a Psalter-Hours (second half in Paris)

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Psalter from a Psalter-Hours (second half in Paris)

Text title



This Psalter, dating to the last quarter of the thirteenth century, was made in French Flanders for use in the diocese of Metz. Originally part of a Psalter-Hours, the two parts of the book were separated long ago and bound separately in the eighteenth century. The Hours half has recently been identified by François Avril as belonging to the Bibliothèque nationale de France, where it is n.a. Lat. 915. The Psalter component is heavily decorated, containing historiated initials as well as borders and line fillers full of hybrid creatures and grotesques.


Last quarter of the 13th century CE


Northeast France (Flanders at the time)






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Thin to medium-weight parchment, finish uneven with hair follicles visible on hair sides; first front flyleaf and last two flyleaves in back are laid paper


Foliation: v+190+ii

Modern pencil foliation, upper right corners, rectos


Formula: Quire 1: 6 (fols. 1-6); Quires 2-12: 10 (fols. 7-116); Quire 13: 10, with first, second, and third folios cancelled (fols. 117-123); Quire 14: 10, with seventh folio cancelled (fols. 124-133); Quires 15-19: 10 (fols. 134-184); Quire 20: 6 (fols. 185-190)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None



10.0 cm wide by 13.7 cm high

Written surface

4.8 cm wide by 7.2 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 18
  3. Ruled in lead; layout does not apply to calendar: 6.4 x 9.6 cm, 5 columns, 32 lines

fols. 1r - 190v:
  1. Title: Psalter
  2. Contents: Incomplete; originally part of a Psalter-Hours; second half of book with Hours is in BnF, n.a. Lat. 915
  3. Hand note: Compressed textura, at times closer to quadrata or semi-quadrata; calendar and main text by two different hands
  4. Decoration note: Seven extant historiated initials (6-8 lines) begin each biblical Psalm, with eighth now lacking at Psalm 97; enlarged decorated initials in blue, rose and gold with white patterning throughout, used for "KL" in calendar, secondary text divisions, and Psalm versals (1-2 line); line-fillers and bar borders throughout, filled with flora, fauna, dragons, and hybrid creatures; red rubrics in calendar only; text in dark brown ink
fols. 1r - 6v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Januarius habet dies. xxxi. luna. xxx
  3. Contents: Calendar one-third full; ungraded, written in brown ink; choice of feasts indicates use in diocese of Metz, and Franciscan and Dominican sympathies; feasts of note include: Valerius and Serena (Jan. 29), Peter martyr (Apr. 29), Clement (translation, May 2), Antony (June 13), Theobald (July 1), Benedict (translation, July 11), Divisio apostolorum (July 15), James and Christopher (July 25), Stephen (finding of his relics, Aug. 3), Priscus (Sept. 1), Lambert (Sept. 17), Francis (Oct. 4), Augustine (translation, Oct. 11), Amantius (Nov. 4); several feasts added early: Brigid (Feb. 1), Juliana (Feb. 16), added next to Antony: "de ordine fratrum minorum (June 13), Margaret (July 20), added next to Francis: "fundatoris ordinis fratrum minorum" (Oct. 4), Catherine (Nov. 25); see Metz 336 for comparable calendar
fols. 7r - 173v:
  1. Title: Biblical Psalter
  2. Incipit: Beatus vir
  3. Contents: Incomplete; eight-partite biblical Psalter; text missing after fol. 116 (Psalms 93.22-97.5) and fol. 129 (Psalms 105.41-106.7); part of a Psalm verse (Ps. 88.16-17) was accidentally left out, and was inscribed in the margin on fol. 109v, with a messine neume used both above the added verse as well as in the spot in the text where the verse belongs
  4. Decoration note: Historiated initials fols. 7r, 33r, 50r, 65r, 81r, 101r, and 135r
fols. 173v - 190v:
  1. Title: Weekly canticles
  2. Incipit: Confitebor tibi


fol. 7r:

  1. W.113, fol. 7r
  2. Title: Initial "B" with David beheading Goliath, and David as king playing harp
  3. Form: Historiated initial "B," 8 lines
  4. Text: Psalm

fol. 33r:

  1. W.113, fol. 33r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with David crowned by Samuel
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 26

fol. 50r:

  1. W.113, fol. 50r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with King David pointing to mouth before altar and face of God
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 52

fol. 65r:

  1. W.113, fol. 65r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the fool eating a loaf
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 52

fol. 81r:

  1. W.113, fol. 81r
  2. Title: Initial "S" with King David orant, and Christ blessing
  3. Form: Historiated initial "S," 7 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 68

fol. 101r:

  1. W.113, fol. 101r
  2. Title: Initial "E" with King David playing bells
  3. Form: Historiated initial "E," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 80

fol. 135r:

  1. W.113, fol. 135r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with Throne of Grace
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 109


The binding is not original.

Rebound with brown speckled calf skin in France, second half of the eighteenth century; gilt tooling on spine with inscription "PSAUME DE DAVID"; page edges regilt and leather tabs affixed late nineteenth or early twentieth century


Created in northeastern France, last quarter of the thirteenth century, for use in the diocese of Metz; contents suggest original owner had Franciscan or Dominican affiliation

Early, subsequent owner also had Franciscan affiliation, indicated by additions made to calendar

"Deberud[?]t" inscribed in lower margins of fols. 68v and 69r by seventeenth-century hand, possible ownership inscription

Léon Gruel and Edmond Engelmann collection, Paris, late nineteenth or early twentieth century; their bookplate on front pastedown, inscribed "No. 134"

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel in 1903 (invoice in WAM archives)


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. 772, cat. no. 97.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 1. France, 875-1420. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press in association with the Walters Art Gallery, 1989; pp. 86-88, cat. no. 37.

Avril, Francois. "915 N.A.: Leroquais, Heures, II, 277-278." In Fichier bibliographique des manuscrits latins et grecs. Nal 770-1196. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 2009; p. 343. Can be accessed at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k1401374/f343.image.

Doyle, Maeve. "The Portrait Potential: Gender, Identity, and Devotion in Manuscript Owner Portraits, 1230-1320." Ph.D. dissertation, Bryn Mawr College, 2015.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Herbold, Rebekah; Noel, William; Schuele, Allyson; Sedovic, Katherine; 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.