A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

MS. Douce 180

Summary Catalogue no.: 21754

The Douce Apocalypse

Apocalypse with commentaries ('The Douce Apocalypse'); England (?Westminster), c. 1265–1270


1. (fols. 1–12v)
Apocalypse with anonymous commentary (French prose apocalypse)
Incipit: (prologue) Seint pol la postle dist ki tuz ceus ki uoilent piement uiuere
Incipit: (text) (fol. 2ra) ⟨J⟩eo iohan uostre frere e parcener en tribulaciun
Incipit: (commentary) ⟨P⟩ar seint iohan sunt signifie li bon prelat de seinte iglise

Dean & Boulton, no. 475

Incomplete; text missing after fol. 3, fol. 6, fol. 9.

Prologue, unprinted (?); for main text, cf. L'apocalypse en français au XIIIe siècle (Bibl. nat., fr. 403), ed. L. Delisle et P. Meyer (1901), pp. 1–8, 17-27, 61-73, 80-92. Differing sometimes from the edition in the way that text and gloss are grouped, e.g. the text and gloss for xvi.1–4, 9–11, xvii.2–3 are here grouped together.

Language(s): Anglo-Norman
2. (fols. 13r-61r)
Apocalypse with extracts from the commentary of Berengaudus

Cf. PL 17. 765–970

Language(s): Latin (inscriptions for some miniatures in Anglo-Norman)

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 61 + ii fols.
Dimensions (leaf): 310 × 215 mm.


Missing two folios after fol. 3, two folios after fol. 9, probably a quire of 8 after fol. 6, a quire of eight after fol. 12, and single leaves after fols. 17, 18, 39, 61, 63 (end of text).


2 cols., 225 × 65 mm. , 31 lines to a full page, a variable number when small script is also used.


Important miniatures (in various stages of competion, partly drawings). Fine border, historiated initial, fol. 1, by a different artist, before 1272. (Pächt and Alexander iii. 469, pl. XLIII-XLV) Morgan (1987, cat. 153) distinguishes three artists, or one artist working in slightly different styles: pp. 1–74; pp. 75–90; pp. 91–7. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, MS. lat. 10474 is from the same workshop, but with this exception the artist(s) have not been identified in other manuscripts.

Fols. 13r-61r (pp. 1–97): 97 miniatures occupying the upper half of the page (of an original 103, six scenes lost on missing leaves after fols. 17 (p. 10), 18 (p. 12), and 39 (p. 54). Those on fols. 13r-41v, 51r-52v, 55r-56v (pp. 1–58, 77–80, 85–88) are fully painted; on fols. 50r-v, 53r-54v, 57r-58r (pp. 75–76, 81–84, 89–91), gilded with part painting; fols. 58v-61r (pp. 92–97), gilded only; fols. 42r-49v (pp. 59–74), drawing only. The subjects are (cf. Morgan (1987), Table of Apocalypse Subjects):

  • (fol. 13r, p. 1) John on Patmos ordered by the Angel to write.
  • (fol. 13v, p. 2) The Seven Churches.
  • (fol. 14r, p. 3) Vision of Christ and the Candlesticks.
  • (fol. 14v, p. 4) Letter to Ephesus.
  • (fol. 15r, p. 5) Letter to Smyrna.
  • (fol. 15v, p. 6) Letter to Pergamos.
  • (fol. 16r, p. 7) Letter to Thyatira.
  • (fol. 16v, p. 8) Letter to Sardis.
  • (fol. 17r, p. 9) Letter to Philadelphia.
  • (fol. 17v, p. 10) Letter to Laodicea.
  • (fol. 18r, p. 11) The Angel proclaims 'who is worthy'; John consoled by elder.
  • (fol. 18v, p. 12) The Lamb enthroned.
  • (fol. 19r, p. 13) First Seal: The White Horse.
  • (fol. 19v, p. 14) Second Seal: The Red Horse.
  • (fol. 20r, p. 15) Third Seal: The Black Horse.
  • (fol. 20v, p. 16) Fourth Seal: The Pale Horse.
  • (fol. 21r, p. 17) Fifth Seal: Souls of the Martyrs.
  • (fol. 21v, p. 18) Sixth Seal: Earthquake
  • (fol. 22r, p. 19) Angels holding the four winds; Angel with the seal of God.
  • (fol. 22v, p. 20) Multitude adore Christ and the Lamb; John and Elder.
  • (fol. 23r, p. 21) Seventh Seal: Giving of the Trumpets.
  • (fol. 23v, p. 22) Angel given incense; Censing of the Altar; Incense cast on the earth.
  • (fol. 24r, p. 23) First Trumpet: Rain of Fire on the Earth.
  • (fol. 24v, p. 24) Second Trumpet: Fire cast on the Sea.
  • (fol. 25r, p. 25) Third Trumpet: Burning Star falls from Heaven.
  • (fol. 25v, p. 26) Fourth Trumpet: Darkening of Sun and Moon.
  • (fol. 26r, p. 27) Voice of the Eagle.
  • (fol. 26v, p. 28) Fifth Trumpet: Falling Star and Locusts from the Earth.
  • (fol. 27r, p. 29) Locusts Riding.
  • (fol. 27v, p. 30) Six Trumpet: Unbinding of the Four Angels.
  • (fol. 28r, p. 31) Army of Horsemen.
  • (fol. 28v, p. 32) Seven Thunders.
  • (fol. 29r, p. 33) The Angel gives John the Book; John eats the Book.
  • (fol. 29v, p. 34) The Angel gives John the Rod; John measures the Temple.
  • (fol. 30r, p. 35) The Witnesses breathe fire and prophesy to the People.
  • (fol. 30v, p. 36) Death of the Witnesses; the Witnesses lie in the streets.
  • (fol. 31r, p. 37) The People rejoice at their death.
  • (fol. 31v, p. 38) Ascension of the Witnesses.
  • (fol. 32r, p. 39) The Seventh Trumpet; Christ proclaimed by the Elders.
  • (fol. 32v, p. 40) The Judgement
  • (fol. 33r, p. 41) The Temple in Heaven
  • (fol. 33v, p. 42) The Woman clothed with the Sun
  • (fol. 34r, p. 43) The Seven-Headed Dragon; the Woman's Child taken to Heaven; the Woman in the Wilderness
  • (fol. 34v, p. 44) The War in Heaven
  • (fol. 35r, p. 45) The Dragon cast into the Earth; the Blood of the Lamb
  • (fol. 35v, p. 46) The Dragon persecutes the Woman; the Woman flies into the Desert; the Dragon casts out a Flood at the Woman.
  • (fol. 36r, p. 47) The Seed of the Woman fight the Dragon.
  • (fol. 36v, p. 48) The Dragon delegates power to the Seven-Headed beast.
  • (fol. 37r, p. 49) Worship of the Beast.
  • (fol. 37v, p. 50) The Beast slays the Saints.
  • (fol. 38r, p. 51) The False Prophet rises from the Earth, calls down Fire, and causes the People to worship the Beast.
  • (fol. 38v, p. 52) The False Prophet causes Men to be marked.
  • (fol. 39r, p. 53) The Lamb adored on Sion.
  • (fol. 39v, p. 54) The Elders around the Throne.
  • (fol. 40r, p. 55) The Third Angel; Judgement of those who worship the Beast.
  • (fol. 40v, p. 56) 'Blessed are they who die in the Lord'.
  • (fol. 41r, p. 57) The Harvest of the Earth.
  • (fol. 41v, p. 58) The Vintage; Blood from the Winepress.
  • (fol. 42r, p. 59) The Seven Angels; the Harpers on the Sea of Glass.
  • (fol. 42v, p. 60) The Opening of the Tabernacle of the Temple of Testimony.
  • (fol. 43r, p. 61 The Giving of the Vials.
  • (fol. 43v, p. 62) The First Vial poured on the Earth.
  • (fol. 44r, p. 63 The Second Vial poured on the Sea.
  • (fol. 44v, p. 64) The Third Vial poured on the Fountains and Rivers; Angels praise the Judgement of the Lord.
  • (fol. 45r, p. 65) The Fourth Vial poured on the Sun.
  • (fol. 45v, p. 66) The Fifth Vial poured on the Seat of the Beast.
  • (fol. 46r, p. 67) The Sixth Vial poured on the Euphrates.
  • (fol. 46v, p. 68) Frogs come from the mouths of the Dragon, False Prophet and Beast.
  • (fol. 47r, p. 69) The Seventh Vial: Earthquake and Destruction throughout the Earth.
  • (fol. 47v, p. 70) The Great Whore seated on the Waters.
  • (fol. 48r, p. 71) The Great Whore seated on the Beast.
  • (fol. 48v, p. 72) The Great Whore drunk with the Blood of the Saints.
  • (fol. 49r, p. 73) The Fall of Babylon.
  • (fol. 49v, p. 74) The Lament over the Sins of Babylon.
  • (fol. 50r, p. 75) The Lament of the Kings.
  • (fol. 50v, p. 76) The Lament of the Merchants.
  • (fol. 51r, p. 77) The Angel casts the Millstone into the Sea.
  • (fol. 51v, p. 78) Destruction of the Whore of Babylon in flames; Triumph in Heaven.
  • (fol. 52r, p. 79) The Lamb and his Bride.
  • (fol. 52v, p. 80) John bidden by the Angel to write; The Marriage-Feast of the Lamb; John kneels before the Angel.
  • (fol. 53r, p. 81) The Armies of Heaven and Christ in the Winepress.
  • (fol. 53v, p. 82) The Birds Summoned.
  • (fol. 54r, p. 83) The Battle with the Army of the Beast.
  • (fol. 54v, p. 84) The Defeat of the Beast.
  • (fol. 55r, p. 85) The Dragon chained and led to Prison; the Dragon locked up.
  • (fol. 55v, p. 86) The First Resurrection.
  • (fol. 56r, p. 87) Satan comes forth again.
  • (fol. 56v, p. 88) Attack on the Holy City; the Casting into Hell.
  • (fol. 57r, p. 89) The Judgement.
  • (fol. 57v, p. 90) The Holy City comes down from Heaven.
  • (fol. 58r, p. 91) John instructed to write; 'I am alpha and omega'; punishment of the unbelieving.
  • (fol. 58v, p. 92) The Angel carries John to the New Jerusalem; New Jerusalem shown by the Angel.
  • (fol. 59r, p. 93) Measuring of the City; 'The Lamb is as the Lamp thereof'.
  • (fol. 59v, p. 94) The River of Life
  • (fol. 60r, p. 95) John and the Angel
  • (fol. 60v, p. 96) 'Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb'; those without the City
  • (fol. 61r, p. 97) John before Christ

Border, fol. 1r

10-line historiated initial 'S', fol. 1r.

Bas-de-page hunting scene, fol. 1r.

Throughout, spaces left for 2-line initials, not filled in.


Gold-stamped leather over pasteboard, English, 1580s.


Origin: 13th century, third quarter (1254 × 1272; ?c. 1265–70) ; English, Westminster (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Two production units (fols. 1–12, 13–61), but with the same ruling and possibly the same scribe.

Fol. 1, historiated initial, kneeling figures identifiable from their arms as Edward I of England (before his accession, 1272), and Eleanor of Castile; they married in 1254, so datable between 1254 and 1272. Morgan (2007), on art-historical grounds suggests a date of c. 1265–70.

William Wilson, F.S.A., of the Minories, his sale, Christie's, 31 Jan.-1 Feb. 1833, lot 56 on 1 Feb.; bought by Thorpe for £53. 11s.

Purchased from Thorpe by Douce, Feb. 1833.

Bequeathed by Douce to the Bodleian in 1834.

Record Sources

Description (in progress) adapted from The Douce Legacy (1984), no. 65; Watson; Pächt and Alexander (see Bibliography); and the Summary Catalogue (1897).


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Last Substantive Revision

2017-07-01: First online publication.