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les Enluminures

Prayerbook (Use of Utrecht or Windesheim?)

In Dutch with some Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Eastern Netherlands, Arnhem?, c. 1460-1480

TM 322

84 ff, fragmentary (collation: i-ii6, iii8 [evidently missing leaves between ff. 20-21 (a quire?), also probably missing one or more quires before quire iii], iv-viii8, ix7 [of 8, with ii cancelled, most likely missing a quire or more before ix], x10+1 [with f. 69 inserted], xi3 [missing after ff. 80, 82], xii2), written in a gothic liturgical bookhand, in brown ink, on up to 16 long lines (justification: 75 x 53 mm), ruled in brown ink, some prickings still visible, rubrics in red, some text capitals touched in red, one-line initials alternately in red or blue, 2-line high initials also alternately in red or blue, calendar KL initials in burnished gold or blue with respectively either rose or red calligraphic pen flourishing, nine 3 to 4-line high burnished gold or blue initial with respectively blue or red calligraphic penwork extending into the margins, first leaf with decorative horizontal burnished gold staff in the lower margin adorned with gold tripetals and colored leaves, 5-line high burnished gold initial (f. 68) with blue infill on a rose ground highlighted with white floral tracery and sprays of hairline stems with “hairy” burnished gold leaves and colored tripetals in rose and blue, larger 7-line high initial (f. 38) in blue with white tracery and pink flowers on a burnished gold ground with full border composed of descending baguettes in burnished gold, blue and rose highlighted with white tracery and sprays of hairline stems with “hairy” burnished gold trefoils, besants and leaves, as well as colored tripetals in rose and blue. Bound in a later rigid vellum binding, covers with reused parchment presenting fragments of a liturgical manuscript, likely a gradual [“Graduale: Letatus sum in hiis que dicta sunt...”, followed by another rubric “Tractus,” with music in staveless neumatic notation, followed by Gospel extracts according to John. Fragment apparently of German origin, first half of the 15th c.?]. Dimensions 132 x 100 mm.

Vernacular prayerbook that follows, in part, the Dutch translation of Geert Grote and that was most likely produced in the milieu of the Devotio Moderna, the heartland of which was in the Eastern Netherlands. The metallic borders and other features (hairy petals and tripetals) of the decoration relate the manuscript to works of an Arnhem provenance (Arnhem was the adopted home of Geert Grote).


1.The present manuscript appears to originate from the Dutch-German border area, as the language is clearly Dutch and apparently presents no Eastern features. There is no Office of the Virgin, allowing for a study of the liturgical use, but the Calendar reveals a number of clues with numerous saints for Utrecht (such as Saints Pontianus, Agnes, Boniface, Odulf, Lebuin, Lambert) but also interestingly for Cologne (such as Saints Panthaleon, in red; Cunibert, in red; Severinus, in red; Gereon, in red; see Grotefend, 1997, pp. 82-86). Finally, the Office of the Dead is either for the use of Utrecht or Windesheim. In addition, stylistically, the painted border decoration presents similarities with Arnhem, with the characteristic “hairy” trefoils and besants and the colored tripetals in rose and blue. The present Prayerbook must have been decorated somewhere in the Dutch-German border area, not far from Arnhem. See the section on Arnhem with further illustrations in Korteweg, 1992 (pp. 130-137), and compare especially a manuscript today in Huis Bergh in ‘s Heerenberg (MS 7, f. 111r). For artists of the Eastern Netherlands of this period, which apparently also supported a luxury trade in illuminated manuscripts, including for patrons of Arnhem, see Defoer, 1990, pp. 244-252. We are grateful to Anne Korteweg and James Marrow for their help with comparisons and localization.

2. Seventeenth-century inscription in brown ink: “S. Catharina Eÿllers v. zum Roesendal [Rosendaal, North Brabant] wan el in der andacht gesessen ihr wollen den schriver nicht vergessen. 1642”;


ff. 1-12v, Calendar, with a saint for every day, in red and brown ink, in Dutch, with noteworthy saints: Pontianus (Jan. 14); Agnes (Jan. 21); Servatius (May 13); Boniface (June 5); Odulf (June 12); Lebuin (June 25); Panthaleon, in red (July 28); Lambert (Sept. 17); Wencelaus (Sept. 28); Gereon and Victor, in red (Oct. 10); Severinus, in red (Oct. 23); Willibrod (Nov. 6); Cunibert, in red (Nov. 12);

ff. 13-13v, Papal Indulgence, rubric, Bonifacius die pauwes heeft gegeven .iim. iaer aflaers al den genen die dit gebet lesen tusschen der elevacien en den dorden agnus dei om beden wil des conincs van vrancrijck; incipit, “O here ihesu christe die dat...”;

ff. 13v-14, Papal indulgence, rubric, Soe wie dit gebet leest als onsen lieven heer boer die heft van den pauwes gregorius .ccc. dage alaets ende nege karenen;

ff. 14-14v, Prayer to the Holy Sacrament, rubric, Een suverlike devote gruet totten heiligen weer den sacrament…;

ff. 15-20v, Prayer to Our Lady, rubric, Soe wie dat is inden staet der gratien ende dit gebet .xxx. dage lanc leset nuchteren opten...;

ff. 20v-27v, Seven Joys of the Virgin, rubric, Dit syn die souen blijtscappen van onser liever vrouwen ave maria, ends incompletely at bottom of f. 20v;

ff. 21v-37, Seven Penitential Psalms, with Litany and, with the following saints included in the Litany: Pontianus, Lambert, Servatius, Remigius, Willibrod, Lebuin, Odulf, beginning “God ontfermdi [Miserere mei]…”; see Van Wijk, p. 141.

f. 37v, blank;

ff. 38-66, Office of the Dead (use of Utrecht or Windesheim), with rubric f. 37: Hier beghint die vigilie; with three readings: Here di dine dienre ghescapen (f. 50v); Dine Hande (f. 51v); Ic bid here (f. 52). The Use is difficult to determine here as the Office of the Dead contains only three readings and the difference can be made only by verifying lesson 9, preceding responsory 9 [here not included; we thank Mrs. Anne Korteweg for this “key”]; for the text, see Van Wijk, p. 157.

ff. 67, Confirmation of Papal Indulgence by Innocent IV and Clement VII, with long rubric, beginning, Sanctus gregorius die pauwes hevet gegeven alle den genen die mit gebuichden... Anno domini m. cccc. ende xlix [1449] et m. cccc. lvi. [1456];

f. 67v, blank;

ff. 68-75v, Seven Requests of the Lord, incipit, “O heer Ihesu Christe ic aenbede di anden cruce…”;

ff. 75v-77, Eight verses of Saint Bernard, rubric, Men vindet bescreven dat die boese geest op een tijt sente bernardus…;

ff. 77-80v, on the Seven Last Words, rubric, Hier beghint die bedinge des eersamen vaders beda van den lesten soeven woerden...;

f. 80v, Prayer on the Five Wounds, rubric, Een gebet vanden heiligen vijf wonden...[prayer lacking as leaf or leaves missing in quire];

ff. 81-82v, Papal Indulgence, rubric, Die pauwes Johannes heft gegeven .iiim dage aflaets…; followed by a Prayer: “O god die ons daer bewijst…”;

f. 83, Prayer to Our Lady, incipit, “[O] sunfer (?) maria ic geve my dy egen…”;

f. 83v, blank;

f. 84, Seventeenth-century inscription in brown ink: “S. Catharina Eÿllers v. zum Roesendal [Rosendaal, North Brabant] wan el in der andacht gesessen ihr wollen den schriver nicht vergessen. 1642”;

f. 84v, blank.

The text of both the Seven Penitential Psalms and the Vigil follow the translation of Geert Grote (d. 1384), and it seems likely the manuscript is a product of the Devotio Moderna. Further study of the text and decoration might help secure a more precise location in the region of the Eastern Netherlands, perhaps in or near Arnhem. Arnhem was an important center for the Devotio Moderna, the movement founded by Geert Grote, who retired to a monastery near Arnhem. The movement gathered together lay brothers and sisters known as Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life, united in voluntary obedience without vows, and eventually came to encompass the Windesheim Congregation, the monastic branch of the Devotio Moderna consisting mainly of houses of the Augustinian Canons Regular. Many of their foundations, lay and monastic, were located in Arnheim.


Defoer, H et al. The Golden Age of Dutch Manuscript Illumination, exhibition catalogue, New York, George Braziller, 1990.

Grotefend, H. Zeitrechnung des Deutschen Mittelalters und der Neuzeit, Hannover, 1892 (reprint 1997), vol. 2, pp. 82-86 (Cologne calendar) and pp. 192-197 (Utrecht calendar).

Korteweg, Anne. Kriezels, aubergines en takkenbossen, Randversiering n Noornederlandse handschriften uit de vijftiende eeuw, exhibition catalogue, The Hague, 1992.

Van Wijk, N. Het Getijdenboek van Geert Grote, Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1940.

Online resources

Het Getijdenboek van Geert Grote