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Walters Ms. W.116, Biblical Psalter

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Biblical Psalter

Text title


This Psalter was created in northeastern France, a region considered Flanders at the time, during the third quarter of the thirteenth century. It was intended for use within the diocese of Cambrai, and was possibly first owned by a member of a monastic community. Originally an eight-partite Psalter, it is now incomplete and misbound. The Psalter is illustrated with six illuminated initials in the Psalms, and they are notable for their large size. The Psalter is similar in appearance to W.42, as both illustrate Psalm 109 with the Dove of the Holy Spirit within a roundel.


Third quarter of the 13th century CE


Northeastern France (French Flanders)






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Medium-weight parchment, well finished


Foliation: i+193+i

Two sets of foliation: partial earlier pencil foliation visible lower right corners rectos; modern pencil foliation, upper right corners rectos (used here)


Formula: Quire 1: 2; stitching between first and second folios, so a second bifolio possibly tipped in (?) (fols. 1-4); Quires 2-7: 8 (fols. 5-52); Quire 8: 8, with the third folio missing (fols. 53-59); Quire 9: 8 (fols. 60-67); Quire 10: 8, with the fourth through seventh leaves missing (fols. 68-71); Quire 11: 8 (fols. 72-79); Quires 11-25: 8 (fols. 80-191); Quire 26: 2, singletons (fols. 192-193)

Catchwords: None

Signatures: None

Comments: Manuscript is incomplete and misbound; recreation of text in correct sequence is as follows: fols. 5r-54v: Psalms 9.21-50.19; fols. 55r-70v: Psalms 51.10-67, with two antiphons; fols. 1-4: Psalms 68.1-70.8; fols. 71r-168r: Psalms 70.9-150; fols. 168r-186v: Weekly canticles; fols. 186v-193v: Litany, petitions, and collects


10.2 cm wide by 14.0 cm high

Written surface

6.0 cm wide by 8.4 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 18

fols. 1r - 193v:
  1. Title: Psalter
  2. Hand note: Textura
  3. Decoration note: Six historiated initials (10-13 lines); decorated initials in rose, blue, and gold begin lesser psalms and canticles, some with faces (2 lines); small alternating blue and gold initials throughout (1 line); geometric line fillers in red, blue, and gold; pen sprays in margins of rectos in red and blue; rubrics in red; text in black-brown ink
fols. 1r - 168r:
  1. Title: Psalms
  2. Incipit: Salvum me fac Deus
  3. Contents: Incomplete and misbound eight-partite biblical psalter; for remaining text, correct sequence as follows: fols. 5r-54v: Psalm 9.21-50.19; fols. 55r-70v: Psalm 51.10-67, and two antiphons: "Adoremus dominum quonium ipse ferit nos" and "Domine deus in adiutorium meum intende"; fols. 1r-4r: Psalm 68.1-70.8; fols. 71r-168r: Psalm 70.9-150
  4. Decoration note: Six historiated initials: fols. 1r, 22v, 39v, 87r, 106r, and 126v
fols. 168r - 186v:
  1. Title: Weekly Canticles
  2. Incipit: Confitebor tibi
  3. Contents: Weekly canticles, 4-8 and 9-11 correctly rubricated "Canticum;" remaining canticles misrubricated "Psalmus;" incorrect rubrications erased before: "Confitebor tibi...Ego dixi...Exultauit cor...Cantemus domino...Domine audiui...Audite celi...Benedicite omnia...Benedictus dominus...Magnificat anima...Nunc dimittis...Te deum...Quicumque uult..."
fols. 186v - 193v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Rubric: Letania
  3. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  4. Contents: Saints included indicate use in Cambrai; fols. 186v-190r: litany: twenty-seven martyrs which include: Quintinus, Firmin, Lambert, Piatus, Antony, Vitus, Modestus, Crispin, Crispinianus, Dionysius, Gereon, Maurice, Boniface; twenty-six confessors which include: Silvester, Leo, Martin, Brictius, Remigius, Vedast, Gaugeric, Aubert, Augustine, Gregory, Ambrose, Jerome, Vindicianus, Landelin, Humbert, Ghislain, Vincent, Amandus, Amatus, Nicolas, Aichard, Hugo, Philibert, Bertin, Paul, Hilarius; twenty-one virgins which include: Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Margaret, Mary Magdalen, Mary Egyptian, Catherine, Euphemia, Eugenia, Euphrosyne, Petronilla, Anastasia, Aldegund, Waldetrudis, Gertrude, Maxelendis, Praxedis, Sabina; fols. 190r-193r: petitions; fols.193r-193v: three collects


fol. 1r:

  1. W.116, fol. 1r
  2. Title: Initial "S" with Christ blessing above King David in water
  3. Form: Historiated initial "S," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 68

fol. 22v:

  1. W.116, fol. 22v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with King David pointing to eye before Christ
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 13 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 26

fol. 39v:

  1. W.116, fol. 39v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with King David pointing to mouth before Christ
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 38

fol. 87r:

  1. W.116, fol. 87r
  2. Title: Initial "E" with King David playing bells
  3. Form: Historiated initial "E," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 80

fol. 106r:

  1. W.116, fol. 106r
  2. Title: Initial "C" with two clerics singing
  3. Form: Historiated initial "C," 10 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 97

fol. 126v:

  1. W.116, fol. 126v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Trinity
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 11 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 109


The binding is not original.

Rebound in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century; red velvet, leather fore-edge tabs, gilt edges


Created ca. 1250-1275 for use within the diocese of Cambrai

Léon Gruel, Paris, late nineteenth or early twentieth century; dealer slip (in file): "Ms. 7"

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel in 1905 (invoice, in 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. 722, cat. no. 94.

Randall, Lilian M.C. Review of Die illuminierten Handschriften und Inkunabeln der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, 1: Französische Schule. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil.-Hist. Klasse, Denkschriften, 118 by Otto Pächt and Dagmar Thoss. Art Bulletin 58/3 (1976): 438-440; p. 440.

Oliver, Judith H. Gothic Manuscript Illumination in the Diocese of Liege (c. 1250-1330). Leuven: Peeters, 1988; p. 76.

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. 79-81, cat. no. 34.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Sedovic, Katherine

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; Noel, William; 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.