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Walters Ms. W.86, Book of Hours

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Shelf mark



Book of Hours

Text title
Book of Hours


This small, early Book of Hours dates to the late thirteenth century. It was created for use in Arras, and remained in that region for most of its existence. Although the majority of the book is written in Latin, the calendar is in Old French. The manuscript contains a prefatory cycle of six Passion miniatures, as well as seven extant full-page historiated initials.


Late 13th century CE


Northeast France (Flanders at the time)






The primary language in this manuscript is Latin. The secondary language of this manuscript is French, Old (842-ca.1400).

Support material


Thin, well-prepared parchment


Foliation: iv+174+iii

Three flyleaves at beginning and end are modern parchment; a fourth parchment page at the beginning, which has a pricked design on it, appears to be contemporary with the original manuscript, but is not part of the quire structure is therefore counted as a flyleaf; one set of foliation, upper right corners rectos, until fol. 119, where an earlier pencil foliation becomes incorrect and has been crossed out and the correct number written above


Formula: Quire 1: 12 (fols. 1-12); Quire 2: 4, with a fifth folio added (fols. 13-17); Quire 3: 10, with the first folio added (fols. 18-28); Quires 4-5: 10 (fols. 29-48); Quire 6: 8 (fols. 49-56); Quire 7: 10 (fols. 57-66); Quire 8: 10, lacking the eighth and ninth folios (fols. 67-74); Quire 9: 10, lacking the fourth folio (fols. 75-83); Quires 10-12: 10 (fols. 84-113); Quires 13-19: 8 (fols. 114-169); Quire 20: 6, lacking fourth and fifth folios, with seventh glued in to end(?) (fols. 170-174)

Catchwords: Occasional catchwords visible partially cropped, lower right, versos (eg. fol. 83v)



6.0 cm wide by 8.5 cm high

Written surface

4.0 cm wide by 5.5 cm high

  1. Columns: 1
  2. Ruled lines: 11
  3. Ruled in lead

fols. 1r - 174v:
  1. Title: Book of Hours
  2. Hand note: Textura; calendar and main text probably by different hand
  3. Decoration note: Six full-page miniatures; seven extant full-page historiated initials (two missing); one small historiated initial (5 lines); decorated initials used for "KL" in calendar and at secondary text divisions in gold against blue and rose grounds with white accents (2 lines); small flourished initials throughout in alternating gold and blue with red or blue penwork (1 line); geometric line fillers in varying combinations of red, blue, and gold; rubrics in red; text in black ink; unusual designs created out of prickings on front flyleaf iv and on fol. 173
fols. 1r - 12v:
  1. Title: Calendar
  2. Rubric: Jenviers a xxxi. ior. lun(?) xxx.
  3. Contents: Calendar one half to three-quarters full; graded in red and brown ink; saints in calendar indicate use of Arras, and include Vedast and Amandus (Feb. 6), Eligius (June 25), Vedast (translation, July 15), Thomas of Canterbury (Dec. 29); several saints have atypical dates indicated for feasts, including Quintinus (Mar. 9), Desiderius (Mar. 10), Walburga (Nov. 15), and Helen (Dec. 17)
fols. 13v - 18r:
  1. Title: Prefatory cycle
  2. Contents: Miniatures related to Christ's Passion
fols. 19r - 106v:
  1. Title: Hours of the Virgin
  2. Incipit: Domine labia mea
  3. Contents: Incomplete; lacking opening text of Terce and Sext due to removal of historiated initials after fols. 73 and 77; occasional psalm numbers provided in margins in ink by an eighteenth-century hand
  4. Text note: Use of Arras; unusually, several of the historiated initials contain rubrics within the text beneath them along with the first words of the incipit (e.g., fols. 65v, 83r, 88v, and 99v, even while rubrics are also sometimes provided in red ink on the preceding page (e.g., fol. 65r contains rubric "Ad prima," and this is repeated in the historiated initial on the reverse side of the page, fol. 65v)
  5. Decoration note: Full-page historiated initials fols. 19r, 50r, 65v, 83r, 88v, and 99v
fols. 107r - 126r:
  1. Title: Seven penitential psalms
  2. Incipit: Domine ne in furore
  3. Contents: Rubric unusually provided within historiated initial as in Hours of the Virgin (see part for details)
  4. Decoration note: Full-page historiated initial fol. 107r
fols. 126v - 133r:
  1. Title: Litany, petitions, and collects
  2. Incipit: Kyrieleyson
  3. Contents: Fols. 126v-129v: litany: saints suggest use in Arras; sixteen martyrs, including Stephen, Nicasius, Firmin, Quintinus, and Dionysius; eleven confessors such as Vedast, Silvester, Martin, Nicolas, Eligius, Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Remigius, Benedict, and Antony; nine virgins including Agnes, Columba, Catherine, and Margaret; fols. 130r-131r: petitions; fols. 131r-133r: three collects
fols. 135r - 169r:
  1. Title: Long Hours of the Holy Spirit
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt hore de sancto spiritu
  3. Incipit: Domine labia mea aperies
  4. Text note: Marginal psalm numbers added in ink by eighteenth-century hand (as in Hours of the Virgin)
  5. Hand note: Small historiated initial fol. 135r
fols. 169r - 172v:
  1. Title: Fifteen gradual psalms
  2. Rubric: Incipiunt quindecim psalmi
  3. Incipit: Ad dominus
  4. Contents: Only the first twelve psalms have cues included; Psalm 132 written out after rest but imperfect, ending with "sicut res hermon qui descendit in montem syon"


fol. 13v:

  1. W.86, fol. 13v
  2. Title: Christ washing his disciples' feet
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 14r:

  1. W.86, fol. 14r
  2. Title: Arrest of Christ
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 15v:

  1. W.86, fol. 15v
  2. Title: Christ before Pilate
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 16r:

  1. W.86, fol. 16r
  2. Title: Flagellation
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 17v:

  1. W.86, fol. 17v
  2. Title: Crucifixion
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 18r:

  1. W.86, fol. 18r
  2. Title: Marys at the tomb
  3. Form: Full-page miniature

fol. 19r:

  1. W.86, fol. 19r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Annunciation
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Matins

fol. 50r:

  1. W.86, fol. 50r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Visitation
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Lauds

fol. 65v:

  1. W.86, fol. 65v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Nativity
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Prime

fol. 83r:

  1. W.86, fol. 83r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Presentation in the Temple
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: None

fol. 88v:

  1. W.86, fol. 88v
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Massacre of the Innocents
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Vespers

fol. 99v:

  1. W.86, fol. 99v
  2. Title: Initial "C" with the Flight into Egypt
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Hours of the Virgin: Compline

fol. 107r:

  1. W.86, fol. 107r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with King David harping before face of God
  3. Form: Full-page historiated initial
  4. Text: Seven penitential psalms

fol. 135r:

  1. W.86, fol. 135r
  2. Title: Initial "D" with the Trinity
  3. Form: Historiated initial "D," 5 lines
  4. Text: Long Hours of the Holy Spirit


The binding is not original.

Early twentieth-century English binding by Rivière & Company, London (binding signed on lower turn-in of front cover); brown leather with blind tooled patterns on covers and spine; gilt title on spine: "HEURES DE LA VIERGE," and below, "MS. DU 13me SIECLE"


Created in Northeast France (French Flanders) in the thirteenth century for the Use of Arras; appears to have been used in that region for most of its existence based on ownership inscriptions

Fragmentary fourteenth- or fifteenth-century inscription, fol. 173r, reads "...Aucton...honore...liber a ton...da"

Nicolas Josephes Varoquier, Orchies, ca. 1700; ownership inscription, fol. 133v, reads "Cette livre appertien a nicola[s] josephes Varoquier Celui qui le retrouvra et le rendra pour dieu ou pour de argent a Orchies Septembre 1706 [1700?];" Orchies lies approximately kilometers northeast of Arras

Two contemporary inscriptions in red ink on front flyleaf iV: "Timotheus La Bussiere 1712" and "Tim: La Meillerais 1712"

Henry Walters, Baltimore, purchased between 1900 and 1931


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. 782, cat. no. 161.

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. 366.

Wieck, Roger S. Time Sanctified. The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life. New York: George Braziller. 1988, pp. 66, 172, cat. no. 4, fig. 40.

Hemzik, Pamela. "Book of Hours." In Medieval Art in America: Patterns of Collecting, 1800-1940. Exhibition Catalogue. Palmer Museum of Art. Edited by Elizabeth Bradford Smith et al., 80-87. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996; p. 85 (n. 11 for p. 80).

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, 1997; pp. 113-115, cat. no. 47.

De Beaumanoir, Philippe. Le Roman de la Manekine. Amsterdam: Rodopi Publishers, 1999; p. 39.

Busby, Keith, Terry Nixon, Alison Stones and Lori Walters, eds. Les manuscrits de Chretien de Troyes. Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1993, Vol. 1, pp. 251, 253; Vol. 2, p. 57.

Higgitt, John. The Murthly Hours: Devotion, Literacy, and Luxury in Paris, England, and the Gaelic West. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000; pp. 179, 184.

Noel, William. "Psalter with Calendar, Canticles, Collects, Litany, Office of the Dead, Hours of the Virgin, and the Seven Penitential Psalm." In Leaves of Gold: Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections. Edited by James R. Tanis, 54-56. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2001; p. 54, cat. no. 11.

Wolf, Jurgen. "Artus und sein Gefolge: Zur Tradierung des arturischen Romans in Deutschland und Frankreich." In Eine Epoche im Umbruch: Volkssprachliche Literalität 1200-1300. Edited by Christa Bertelsmeier-Kierst and Christopher Young, 2003, 205-220; p. 215.

Hourihane, Colum. Pontius Pilate: Anti-Semitism, and the Passion in Medieval Art. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009; p. 416 (n. 105).


Principal cataloger: Randall, Lilian M.C.

Cataloger: Herbert, Lynley

Editor: Herbert, Lynley

Copy editor: Dibble, Charles

Conservators: Owen, Linda; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Emery, Doug; 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.