TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Devotional Miscellany including Psalms, Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sanctorale and Common of the Saints

In Latin, decorated hybrid book on paper
[Antwerp, Michael van Hoochstraten, likely 1513] and Germany, Saxony (Bremen), c. 1515 (before 1513)

TM 172

219 ff. [ff. 1-142v, imprint; ff. 143-219, manuscript], missing at least the first folio (title-page) and last folio of imprint (A1 and R8) [signatures of imprint: A2-8 (missing A1), B-R8, S1-7 (missing R8)], missing leaves at the end, paper for manuscript portion with watermarks close to Briquet, “Tête de boeuf”, no. 15157, Breme, 1511, manuscript portion copied in a cursive bookhand, on up to 21 long lines (justification 95 x 65 mm), rubrics in red, initials and some capitals of print portion highlighted in red, and psalm numbers underlined in red, initials in red and blue (1- to 3-line high), large painted red or blue initials with infill and grounds of red penwork, larger painted blue initials on burnished gold grounds with red penwork and some flourishing extending in the margin, some initials traced with ajouré ornamental motifs. Contemporary pink-stained alum-tawed skin over wooden boards, spine sewn on 3 raised bands, tooled in blind to a panel design with fillets dividing the panels in compartments, with repeated rounded stamps showing a lily in a circle (of the type in I. Schunke, Die Schwenke-Sammlung… (1979), p. 182, no. 398) and diamond-shaped stamps showing a heart surmounted with lily (“Herz mit Lilie rhomb.” (of the type in I. Schunke, Die Schwenke-Sammlung… (1979), p. 134, no. 10 and 11), leather and brass clasps on lower cover, catches on upper cover, small rounded leather tabs allowing for quick referral to major textual breaks (Binding rubbed). Dimensions 145 x 100 mm.

In its original state of preservation with its attractive contemporary binding, this is an interesting hybrid book, comprised of an extremely rare Antwerp imprint issued by the famous Michael van Hoochstraten, c. 1513, and completed by a manuscript section added in Germany, likely in Lower Saxony. The present book is a fine example of how both print and manuscript media coexisted and complemented each other in the first century of printing, in order to provide the owner with a unique, more personalized book suited for individual or conventual worship.


1. Script and watermarks for the manuscript portion of this hybrid book, as well as ornamentation and penwork suggest a Northern German origin. The presence of saint Willehad, in the Sanctorale (f. 212), bishop of Bremen who preached amongst Frisians in the Netherlands and later in Saxony further confirms this origin. The printed section contains a partial colophon (final colophon was likely to be found on last folio, now missing), confirming Antwerp as place of printing and Michael van Hoochstraten as the printer (f. 141): “Finit Psalterium Antwerpiae impressum per me Michaelem de Hoochstraten.” The last folio would have confirmed: ”Finit Psalterium Antwerpie impressum iuxta cemeterium dive virginis Marie. Per me Michaelem Hillenium Hoochstratanum anno incarnationis dominice millesimo quingentesimo .xiii.” However, the present imprint is likely the Psalter Michael van Hoochstraten issued in 1513, rather than the earlier edition of 1510 (Nijhoff-Kronenberg, II, no. 2425), largely based on quire signatures and number of folios (see Nijhoff-Kronenberg, I, no. 329: the imprint presents the same signatures and a close number of folios, as the complete imprint contains 136 ff., whereas the c. 1510 edition does not present the same codicological aspects and thus must be excluded). The 1513 copy cited by Nijhoff-Kronenberg (without shelfmark) is the only other copy we have been able to locate, so evidently the imprint is extremely rare.

2. Modern bookplate pasted on bottom pastedown: “Ex libris C .de P.”


ff. 1-135, Ferial Psalter [missing first folio, title-page; Psalms complete], incipit, “Psalmus primus. Beatus vir”; f. 19, “Dominus illuminacio mea et salus mea” (Psalm 26, Feria II); f. 31, “Dixi custodiam vias meas” (Psalm 38, Feria III); f. 42v, “Dixit insipiens in corde suo” (Psalm 52, Feria IV); f. 53v, “Salvum me fac” (Psalm 68, Feria V); f. 67v, “Exultate Deo adjutori nostro” (Psalm 80, Feria VI); f. 79v, “Cantate Domino canticum novum” (Psalm 97, Sabbatum); f. 94v, “Dixit Dominus” (Psalm 109, Vespers); f. 122v, “Laudate dominus de caelis” (Psalm 148); f. 123-135, Weekly Canticles and Psalms, beginning “Canticum Esaie” to “Symbolum Athanasii”;

This is the text of the Ferial Psalter used in the Divine Office. It is made up of the 150 psalms of the Old Testament, divided throughout the seven days of the week so that all the psalms are recited in one week. The psalms, the divinely-inspired poetical prayers principally of King David, have always been at the center of the Church's liturgical worship, just as they were at the temple during Old Testament times.

The eight-fold Psalter evolves from the earlier three-fold division dividing the Psalter into three parts containing fifty Psalms each, and it anticipates the devotions of the Book of Hours divided into eight hours of the day, with the Psalms arranged throughout the hours and accompanied by antiphons, responses, readings, etc.

ff. 135v-139, Litany;

ff. 139-141, ; colophon: “Finit Psalterium Antwerpiae impressum per me Michaelem de Hoochstraten”;

ff. 141v-142v, Registrum [missing last folio of Registrum, likely containing final closing colophon];

ff. 143-168v, and readings for the first half of the Liturgical year, including ff. 143, Advent, rubric, Dominica prima adventus domini ad magnificat; incipit, “Ecce nomen domini venit…”; f. 145v, Nativity; ff. 153v, Easter; f. 156, Ascension; f. 157, Pentecost; f. 157v, In festo per venerabilis sacramenti;

ff. 169-201, Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with f. 169, Annunciation, rubric, In annunciatione beate marie virginis ad vesperas antiphona; incipit, “Ave Maria gracia plena…”; f. 181, Assumption with rubric, In assumcione beate marie virginis ad vesperas super psalmos antiphona; f. 188, Nativity of the Virgin, with rubric, In nativitate beate marie virginis ad vesperas antiphona; f. 193, Presentation, rubric, In presentacione beate marie virginis; f. 194v, Purification, rubric, In purificacione beate marie virginis ad vesperas antiphona;

ff. 202-214, Sanctorale, rubric, De sancto Andrea ad magnificat, antiphona; explicit, “[…] In dedicatione ad magnificat… Zachee festinans descende… a deo facta est” (includes f. 212, Willchadi (saint Willehad of Bremen, Feast 8 November); f. 212v, Eliza; f. 214, Dedication of a church).

f. 214v, blank;

ff. 215-219v, Commune sanctorum, rubric, Incipit commune sanctorum et primo de apostolis in simplicibus festis ad magnificat antiphona; incipit, “Ecce ego mitto vos…”; explicit, “[…]De virginibus ad magnificat. Simile est regnum celorum… Dan obis domine deus… frequentemus obsequiis…”

The present hybrid book is composed of a printed Ferial Psalter, printed by Michael Hillen van Hoochstraten (died 1559), whose workshop was active in Antwerp as early as 1506. Antwerp was the most active center for printing in the Netherlands, printing over half of all printed books in the Netherlands during the first half of the sixteenth century. The city had gained international recognition, and its printed production was exported all over Europe. Three figures of the printing world dominate Antwerp production, Johannes Grapheus, William Vosterman (400 titles) and the present Michael Hillen van Hoochstraten, who printed over 500 titles, including a number of Lutheran and Reformation-related works.

The printed Psalter only composes half of the book, which was enhanced by the addition of a number of devotional and liturgical texts in manuscript. The presence of the relatively rare saint Willehad, eighth-century bishop of Bremen, in the Sanctorale, as well as the watermarks found in paper dated Bremen, 1511, suggest the book was completed for use in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), a region not so far from the Netherlands, and one that most likely turned to Antwerp for its printed books. The decoration of the manuscript portion of this book was likely executed locally, but presents similarities with the decoration of northern Netherlandish manuscripts, like those realized in centers such as Groningen (see Korteweg, 1992, “Groningen en Noordoost-Nederland,” pp. 140-145). Further research on Lower-Saxon book production might lead to interesting comparisons with the present hybrid book and its decoration.


Korteweg, A. ed. Kriezels, aubergines en takkenbossen, The Hague, Rijksmuseum Meermanno-Westreenianum, 1992 (catalogue of an exhibition).

Nijhoff, Wouter and M.E. Kronenberg. Nederlandsche Bibliographie van 1500 tot 1540, The Hague, 1923-1940.

Online resources

On Michael Hillen van Hoochstraten, printer of the New Testament (1530)