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Walters Ms. W.47, Psalter-Hours of Brother Guimier

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Psalter-Hours of Brother Guimier

Text title


This unusually large Psalter-Hours was created in the last quarter of the thirteenth century in the Thérouanne region of northeastern France, considered Flanders at the time. Illuminated throughout with elaborate decorated and historiated initials, the manuscript also contains a single full-page miniature of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. An emphasis on Augustine in the calendar and litany suggest that the manuscript's original patron may have been associated with an Augustinian foundation, possibly Saint-Augustin-lès-Thérouanne. An inscription dated 1590 indicates that the book was given to Brother Iohannes Guimier by a previous owner, Henricus Iordanus. It was at this time that an alphabetical index, foliation, and notations were added to the manuscript, suggesting that Brother Guimier used it a great deal. The binding, a nineteenth-century fabrication, is adorned with a large medieval champlevé enamel plaque in the Limoges style, which is roughly contemporary with the manuscript.


Last quarter 13th century CE


Northeast France (Flanders at the time)






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin.

Support material


Medium to heavy-weight parchment; well finished but darkened from use


Foliation: iii+209+i

First and last flyleaves are modern parchment; the second and third front flyleaves are sixteenth-century parchment, and were labeled "i" and "ii," so those earlier numbers will be how they are referred to here; several sets of foliation present: late sixteenth-century ink foliation, upper right corners, rectos, present in Psalms and Canticles only; early, incorrect pencil foliation lower right corners, rectos, which has been struck out and replaced after fol. 35 by smaller modern pencil foliation below (used here)


Formula: Quire 1: 8, lacking first folio (fols. 1-7); Quire 2-16: 8 (fols. 8-127); Quire 17: 6 (fols. 128-133); Quire 18: 8 (fols. 134-141); Quire 19: 10 (fols. 142-151); Quire 20: 2 (fols. 152-153); Quire 21-25: 8 (fols. 154-192, includes fol. 171bis); Quire 26: 10 (fols. 193-202); Quire 27: 8, with first folio cancelled (fols. 203-209)

Catchwords: Lower right corners, versos, last page of quire

Signatures: None



24.0 cm wide by 32.0 cm high

Written surface

13.5 cm wide by 19.6 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 20
  3. Layout does not apply to calendar: written surface 14.7 x 20.3 cm, seven columns, and thirty-three lines

fols. 1r - 209v:
  1. Title: Psalter-Hours
  2. Hand note: Written in textura semi-quadrata; several hands identified throughout, with different scribe for calendar, and definite hand change at fol. 154
  3. Decoration note: One full-page miniature; one full-page historiated initial; eight historiated initials begin Psalm 109 and each of the Hours of the Holy Spirit (5-7 lines); decorated initials in gold against blue and gold grounds mark major divisions within Psalter and Hours where not marked by historiated initials (5-9 lines); smaller decorated initials for "KL" in calendar (5 lines) and secondary divisions in Psalms and Office of the Dead (2 lines); small flourished initials throughout in alternating blue and gold with red and blue pen trails (1 line); geometric line fillers throughout in red and blue ink; rubrics in red; text in black ink
fols. ff.i,r - ff.ii,v:
  1. Title: Added index
  2. Contents: Index of alphabetized Psalms on added folios, late sixteenth century; Arabic numbers correlate with Roman numerals added in contemporary foliation
  3. Hand note: Sixteenth-century hand
fols. 1r - 6v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Prima dies mensis et septima truncat ut ensis.
  3. Incipit: Januarius habet dies .xxxi. et luna .xxx.
  4. Contents: Calendar not quite half full; graded in red and black; Egyptian verses begin each month; use in Thérouanne, Saint-Omer, suggested by saints selected; notable saints include Antony (Jan. 17), Vincent (Jan. 22), important feast erased (Feb. 25), Albinus (Mar. 1), Benedict (Mar. 21), Boniface, now erased (June 5), Thomas of Canterbury (July 3, trans.), Martin (July 4, trans.), Benedict (July 11, trans.), Augustine (Aug. 28), important feast, possibly for Bertin, erased (Sept. 5), important feast, possibly for Audomar, erased (Sept. 9), Lambert (Sept. 17), important feast erased (Sept. 25), Remigius, Germanus, Vedastus, and Bavo (Oct. 1), Francis (Oct. 4), Benedicta (Oct. 10), Dionysius (Oct. 9), Donatianus (Oct. 14), Quintinus (Oct. 31), Winnoc, now erased (Nov. 6), Martin (Nov. 11), Brictius (Nov. 13), Clement (Nov. 23), Catherine (Nov. 25), important feast erased, letter "M" remains, possibly for Maximus (Nov. 27), Nicasius (Dec. 14); fourteenth-century obituary added on Mar. 18 "domini lamberte tolneere anno lvi;" Martin added in fifteenth or sixteenth century on Nov. 13
fols. 7v - 136r:
  1. Title: Biblical Psalter
  2. Incipit: Beatus vir
  3. Contents: Ten-partite Biblical Psalter; divisions at psalms 1, 26, 38, 51, 52, 68, 80, 97, 101, and 109
  4. Decoration note: Full-page historiated initial fol. 7v; historiated initial fol. 106r
fols. 136r - 148r:
  1. Title: Weekly canticles
  2. Incipit: Confitebor tibi
fols. 148r - 151v:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  3. Contents: Contents suggest it was made to be used in Thérouanne, Saint-Omer; fols. 148r-149r: litany: fourteen martyrs which include Stephen, Linus, Cletus, Clement, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Vincent, Thomas, George, Dionysius, Nicasius, Eustace, and Quintinus; eighteen confessors, which include Leo, Silvester, Gregory, Remigius, Martin, Nicolas, Jerome, Augustine, Bertin, Benedict, Amandus, Audomar, Brictius, Bernard, Winnoc, Francis, Antony, and Dominic; twenty virgins, which include Mary Magdalene, Mary Egyptian, Perpetua, Felicitas, Agnes, Lucy, Brigid, Catherine, Cecilia, Margaret, Petronilla, Elisabeth, Fides, Spes, Karitas, Genevieve, Euphemia, Gertrude, Juliana, and Ursula; fols. 149r-150r: petitions; fols. 150r-151v: fourteen collects
fols. 152v - 152v:
  1. Title: Miniature of Thomas Becket
  2. Contents: Miniature of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket; inserted bifolium, uncertain relationship with texts
fols. 154r - 193v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Holy Spirit, with Hours of the Virgin interspersed
  2. Rubric: Sancti Spiritus assit nobis gratia.
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  4. Contents: Fols. 154r-190v: Hours of the Holy Spirit, with canonical divisions interspersed with those of the Hours of the Virgin after lauds; fols. 190v-193v: sequence of prayers
  5. Decoration note: Historiated initials fols. 154r, 157v, 172v, 176r, 178v, 181r, 183r, and 187r
fols. 195r - 209r:
  1. Title: Office of the Dead
  2. Rubric: Placebo domino
  3. Incipit: Dilexi quoniam exaudiet Dominus
  4. Contents: Use of Thérouanne


Upper board outside :

  1. W.47, Upper board outside
  2. Title: Binding with champlevé enamel plaque of the Crucifixion
  3. Form: Binding
  4. Comment:

    Velvet binding is nineteenth-century, but plaque is medieval, dating from the thirteenth or fourteenth century.

fol. 7v:

  1. W.47, fol. 7v
  2. Title: Initial "B" David as king harping, with David and Goliath below
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Psalm 1

fol. 106r:

  1. W.47, fol. 106r
  2. Title: Trinity
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Psalm 109

fol. 152v:

  1. W.47, fol. 152v
  2. Title: Martyrdom of Thomas Becket
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 154r:

  1. W.47, fol. 154r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the betrayal of Christ
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 7 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit: matins

fol. 172v:

  1. W.47, fol. 172v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with Christ being stripped and beaten
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit: prime

fol. 176r:

  1. W.47, fol. 176r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Flagellation
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit: terce

fol. 178v:

  1. W.47, fol. 178v
  2. Title: Inmitial "D" with the Carrying of the Cross
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit: sext

fol. 181r:

  1. W.47, fol. 181r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Crucifixion
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit: none

fol. 183r:

  1. W.47, fol. 183r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Deposition
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 6 lines
  4. Text: Hours of the Holy Spirit: vespers

fol. 187r:

  1. W.47, fol. 187r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Entombment
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 5 lines
  4. Text: Hours if the Holy Spirit: compline


The binding is not original.

Rebound by Léon Gruel, Paris, late nineteenth or early twentieth century; red velvet with embedded champlevé enamel plaque of the Crucifixion, done in Limoges style, thirteenth or fourteenth century; two fifteenth- or sixteenth-century gilded bronze clasps inscribed "IsMa" in Gothic lettering attached to modern straps; manuscript originally housed in matching Gruel telescopic case with his name stamped in gold (now replaced by modern conservation box)


Created in northeastern France (French Flanders) in the last quarter of the thirteenth century, likely for use of Thérouanne; form of collect suggests originally made for male supplicant (fol. 151r)

Female supplicant used, fourteenth century, based on change from male to female form in collect (fol. 151r)

Obituary added in calendar for March 18 in a fourteenth-century hand "domini lamberti de tolneere anno lvi"

Manuscript changed hands as gift in 1590; dated inscription on fol. 1r indicates "dominus Henricus Iordanus" gave the manuscript to "Frater Iohannes Guimier;" notes by latter found on fols. 7r-v, 193v, 195r; date of 1590 and gloss to Psalm 119:129 on fol. 117v, and ink folio and Psalm numeration also in his hand

English ownership, second half of nineteenth century; notes and inscriptions in pencil, mostly erased, e.g. fol. 194r, where "v r second of April, 1889" is visible (upside down)

Léon Gruel, Paris, late nineteenth or early twentieth century; Gruel and Engelmann bookplate inscribed "No 129"

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased from Gruel in 1903


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters' bequest


De Ricci, S., 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. 85.

Owens, M.B. "Musical Subjects in the Illumination of Books of Hours from Fifteenth-Century France and Flanders." Ph.D. diss, University of Chicago, 1987: p. 362 (fig. 3).

Miner, Dorothy, V.I. Carlson, and P. W. Filby. 2,000 Years of Calligraphy: A Three-Part Exhibition Organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art, Peabody Institute Library, and the Walters Art Gallery, 6 June-18 July 1965. Exhibition Catalogue. Baltimore: Trustees of the Walters Art Gallery, 1965; cat. no. 28, illus. of f. 173.

Randall, Lilian M. C. Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery. Vol. 1, pt. 1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989; pp. 93-96, cat. no. 40.

Gil, Marc, and Ludovic Nys. Saint-Omer gothique: les arts figuratifs à Saint-Omer à la fin du Moyen Âge, 1250-1550 : peinture, vitrail, sculpture, arts du livre. Valenciennes Cedex: Presses Universitaires deValenciennes, 2004; p. 75.

Bennett, Adelaide. "Christ’s Five Wounds in the Aves of the Vita Christi in a Book of Hours about 1300." In Tributes in Honor of James H. Marrow Studies in Painting and Manuscript Illumination of the Late Middle Ages and Northern Renaissance. Edited by Jeffrey F. Hamburger and A.S. Korteweg, 75-84. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2006; p. 79.

Ottosen, Knud. The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead. Norderstedt, Germany: Books on Demand, 2007; pp. viii, 197.

Randall, Lilian M.C. "An Early Fourteenth-Century Psalter from East Anglia." In Tributes to Lucy Freeman Sandler: Studies in Illuminated Manuscripts. Edited by Kathryn A. Smith and Carol H. Krinksy, 219-233. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2007;. p. 226 (n. 42).

Clark, Robert L.A., and Pamela Sheingorn. "Rewriting Joseph in the Life of Christ." In The Pèlerinage Allegories of Guillaume de Deguileville: Tradition, Authority, and Influence. Edited by Marco Nievergelt and Stephanie A. Viereck Gibbs Kamath, 65-90. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2013; p. 81.


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

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.