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

MS. Douce 185

Summary Catalogue no.: 21759

Homiliary; Germany (Westphalia), 14th century, first quarter, with additions

Contents

Summary of Contents: This homiliary was made for and partly by an as yet unidentified community of nuns in north-western Germany. It is unusual both for being restricted to the Christmas season and for its rich illumination. It falls into three sections. Fols. 1–102 (quires 1–13) contain material perhaps in liturgical order (although there are few rubrics) from the vigil of Christmas until Epiphany. Fols. 103–181 (quires 14–23) contain further Christmas sermons for unspecified occasions. Fols. 182–196 (quires 24–25) contain a mixture of Christmastide and Marian sermons.
Homiliary

Fol. 1r blank.

1. (fols. 1v-12v)
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermo VI in vigilia Natiuitatis Christi
Incipit: Auditum audimus[sic] plenum gratia dignum accepcione
Explicit: a terra omnia trahat ad se qui est benedictus in secular amen
PL 183.109–16
2. (fols. 12v-17r)
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermo IV in natiuitate Christi (?)
Incipit: Tanta est fratres hodierna dominice natiuitatis sollempnitas, ut et spacium breue, et terre ei angusta sit latitudo
Explicit: glorificabit gloriosus adueniens
Cf. PL 183.126–7, text here varying considerably.
3. (fols. 17v-23va)
Rupert of Deutz, De divinis officiis III.12–13, De officio in vigilia natalis domini
Rubric: \In vigilia natalis domini Sermo/
Incipit: Frequens et celeberriumum est
Incipit: omnis caro salutare dei
CCCM 7.78–81; PL 170.68–71
4. (fols. 23vb-31va)
Rupert of Deutz, De divinis officiis, III. 15–18
Incipit: Illud quesitu dignum est
Explicit: propter nos generationis
CCCM 7.86–90; PL 170.74–7
5. (fols. 31vb-35rb)
Rupert of Deutz, De divinis officiis, III.20–1, de officio primae missae in die natiuitatis domini
Incipit: Prime misse officum dominus dixit
Explicit: celo est nata
CCCM 7.92–5; PL 170.79–81
6. (fols. 35va-37va)
Ps.-Augustine, Serm. app. 123, in natali domini VII (extract)
Incipit: Natiuitas domini nostri ihesu christi totum mundum
Explicit: habere non poterat
Final rubric: \Omelia Beati Augustini episcopi de [sic]/
PL 65.898–899B; =Ps.-Fulgentius, serm. 36, CPL 844; cf. 108r below
7. (fols. 37vb-39ra)
Jerome, Commentary on Matthew (extract, 1:1–3)
Incipit: Liber generationis […] In Isaia legimus Generationem eius quis enarrabitur
Explicit: ponitur et bethsabee uxor urie
CPL 590; PL 26.21
8. (fols. 39ra-b)
Rubric: \Lectio sancti ewangelii secundum Matheum/
Incipit: In illo tempore. Exiit edictum a Cesare
Explicit: sirie cirino. Et rel.
9. (fols. 39va-41vb)
Gregory I, Homiliae in Evangelia I.8.1
Rubric: (fol. 39rb) \Om(e)l(ia) Grego(rii)/
Incipit: Quia largiente domino missarum sollempia ter hodie celebraturi sumus
Explicit: pax hominibus bone voluntatis
PL 76.1103–1104C
10. (fols. 41vb-42ra)
Rubric: \Secundum Iohannem/
Incipit: In illo tempore. Pastores loquebantur ad inuicem
Explicit: quod dominus ostendit nobis. Et reliqua.
11. (fols. 42ra-44ra)
Bede, Homeliae euangelii I.6, in aurora nativitatis domini
Rubric: \Omelia venerabilis Bede presbiteri de eadem lecti(one)/ [added, lower margin]
Incipit: Nato in Bethlehem domino saluatore
Explicit: positum in presapio
PL 94.34–35C
12. (fol. 44ra-b)
Rubric: \Inicium ewangelii secundum Iohannem/
Incipit: In principio erat uerbum
Explicit: factum est nichil. Et reliqua.
13. (fols. 44va-48ra)
Bede, Homeliae euangelii I.7 (extract)
Rubric: (fol. 44rb) \Omelia venerabilis Bede Presbiteri de [sic]/
Incipit: Quia temporalem mediatoris
Explicit: cum ait, Et deus erat verbum
PL 94.38C-39D
14. (fols. 48ra-49va)
Gregory I, Hom. in Evangelia I.8.2
Incipit: Regem hodie natum angelus nunciat, eiusque uoci angelorum chori concinunt, et congaudentes clamant […] Prius quippe quam redemptor noster per carnem nasceretur, discordiam cum angelis habuimus
Explicit: quia propter te factus est deus homo qui cum patre etc
PL 76.1104–5
15. (fols. 49va-51va)
Leo, Sermo 21 c. 1, in natiuitate domini
Incipit: Saluator noster dilectissimi hodie natus est gaudeamus
Explicit: daturus non dubitarentur et virgini
PL 54.190D-191C
16. (fols. 51va-56rb)
Augustine, Sermo 194, in natali domini xi
Incipit: Audite filii lucis adoptati in regnum dei
Explicit: agnoscamus presepe domini nostri ihesu christi
PL 38.1015–1017
17. (fols. 56va-60(b)rb)
Honorius of Autun, Speculum ecclesiae: de nativitate domini
Incipit: Letentur celi et exultet terra, iubilate montes laudem. Merito iubentur celi hodie letari
Explicit: indeficientem lucem uocauit, qui cum patre
PL 172.815–820
18. (fols. 60(b)rb-63vb)
Rubric: \Sermo beati augustini/
Incipit: Sanctus et sollempnis dies fratres dilectissimi mundo hodie illuxit; exultemus et letemus in ea. Hodie sol uerus ortus est mundo, et hodie in tenebris lumen uerissimum ingressum est
Explicit: Natus de spiritu sancto et Maria uirgine et regnat cum patre in seculo seculorum amen
19. (fols. 64ra-65rb)
Isidore, De ecclesiasticis officiis c. xxvi, De natali domini
Incipit: Natalis domini dies. Dies ea de causa a patribus
Explicit: reuocetur quod natus est christus
PL 83.761C-762B
20. (fols. 65va-67va)
Ambrose, Commentary on Luke II.55–7
Rubric: \In die circumcisionis domini sermo/
Incipit: Circumciditur itaque puer. Quis ille puer nisi ille de quo dictum est, Puer natus est nobis
Explicit: ut inmaculatus exiret
21. (fols. 67vb-71ra)
Ps.-Maximus of Turin, Hom. xvi, de calendis Januariis
Incipit: Quamuis non dubitem uos fratres karissimi
Explicit: et uelut doctrine sue fructum paulus
CPL 220.16 (=CPL 219b); PL 57.255–8; Paul the Deacon I.37
22. (fols. 71rb-77rb)
Leo, Sermo xxii, in natiuitate domini II
Incipit: Exultemus in domino, dilectissimi, et spirituali iocunditate letemur
Explicit: in sua maiestate regnantem amen

PL 54.193–199

23. (fols. 77va-82ra)
Ps.-Maximus of Turin, Serm. IV, de nativitate domini I
Incipit: Dominus noster iesus christus fratres karissimi, qui in eternum est cunctorum creator
Explicit: non infirmitatis sed uirtutis, qui cum patre et spiritu […]
CPL 223.4; PL 57.850B-852A
24. (fols. 82ra-88rb)
Augustine, Serm. 187, in natali domini IV
Incipit: Laudem domini loquetur os meum
Explicit: exultemus et iocundemur in eo, qui uiuit et reg(nat)
PL 38.1001–3
25. (fols. 88rb-90rb)
Augustine, Serm. 200, in epiphania domini II, 1.1–2
Incipit: A⟨d⟩ partum virginis adorandum, magi ab oriente uenerunt
Explicit: ille natus est, cuius regnum non est de hoc seculo
PL 38.1028–29
26. (fols. 90rb-92va)
Augustine, Serm. 200, in epiphania domini II, 1.2–3.4
Incipit: Nobilitas fuit christi nascentis, in virginitate parientis; et nobilitas parientis in diuinitate nascentis
Explicit: perseuerantissima dilectione coherente

Text continues from the preceding item.

27. (fols. 92va-93rb)
Gregory, Hom. in evangelia I.XI.6–7
Incipit: Nato domino rege, aurum oferimus
Explicit: amaricati redeamus, prestante domino nostro iesus christi qui cum patre
PL 76.1113–1114
28. (fol. 93v-95vb)
Ps.-Augustine, Serm. app. Caillau 17, in epiphania domini
Incipit: Post miraculum virginei partus
Explicit: quia ne deus in carne positus esset obscurus
CPL 371; ed. Caillau, Opera omnia, 24.1 pp. 403–405.14
29. (fols. 96ra-100va)
Ps.-Augustine, Serm. app. Caillau 17, in epiphania domini
Incipit: seruit et celum reddunt
Explicit: post sepulchra uictores. Tu autem domine nostri miserere.

Continuing the previous item, but added in a later fourteenth century hand: quire 13 (fols. 96–102) is a later replacement. Ed. Caillau, Opera omnia, 24.1 pp. 405.14–409.3

Rest of fol. 100va blank. Fols. 100vb-101rb ruled, blank. Fol. 101v-102r blank. Fol. 102va-b ruled, blank.

30. (fols. 103ra-105vb)
Augustine, Serm. 186, in natali domini III
Incipit: Gaudeamus hodie et letemur, et exultent gentes. Diem istum preclarissimum
Explicit: significat a quo

PL 38.999–1000, ending incomplete through loss of one leaf after fol. 105.

31. (fols. 106ra-108ra)
Incipit: ||ut libenti animo sermones
Explicit: in ista festa temporalia quandoque cum angelis celebretis in secula amen

Cento: begins imperfect through loss of leaf before fol. 106, as Ps.-Augustine, Serm. 117 (PL 39.1977), followed at fol. 106va by Honorius of Autun's Speculum ecclesiae (PL 172.815 'Hodie namque rex celorum ... angelis sociare', PL 172.819 'Hec nativitas singularis ...' )

32. (fols. 108rb-110va)
Incipit: Predicemus hodie, Natum ex Maria Virgine saluatorem infantem in presepio positum, cum uigilantibus pastoribus moniti cum angelis adoremus
Explicit: sicut omne genus uirorum, adam nouus recuparar dominus noster ihesus christus qui cum patre

Cento: extract from Ps.-Augustine, Serm. app. 121 (CPL 368.121, PL 39.1987) followed (fol. 108va) by an extract from Ps.-Fulgentius of Ruspe, serm. 36, beg. 'Facta est Maria fenestra celi...' (PL 65.899B-900).

33. (fols. 110vb-115vb)
Quodvultdeus, Sermo contra iudaeos XI.1-XIV.9
Incipit: Vos inquam conuenio o iudei, qui usque in hodiernum diem negastis filium dei
Explicit: corrigiam calciamenti eius

CCSL 60.241–6; PL 42.1123–1125

34. (fols. 115vb-121vb)
Sermo 'Eterni numinis'
Incipit: Eterni numinis virgineum partum
Explicit: qui utrumque in se retinet iesus christus qui cum
A cento; for details of the sources see Grégoire, Homéliaires (1980), p. 140 (Alan of Farfa I 3a-c)
35. (fols. 121vb-125ra)
Augustine, Sermo 188, in natali domini V
Incipit: Filii dei sicut est equalis et coeternus
Explicit: virginis inuenisset

PL 38.1003

36. (fols. 125rb-128rb)
Leo, Serm. 27, in nativitate domini VII
Rubric: (fol. 125ra) \Sermo beati leonis pape/
Incipit: Fesitiuitati[sic] hodierne dilectissimi uenerator uerus et pius est cultor
Explicit: apparebitis cum ipso in gloria amen

PL 54.216–221

37. (fols. 128ra-131vb)
Leo, Serm. 28, in nativitate domini VIII
Rubric: \Sermo Leonis pape/
Incipit: Cum semper nos dilectissimi gaudere in domino
Explicit: redempti peruenimus ad patriam nostram, in qua ipse gloriose uiuit et regnat deus in secula a

PL 54.221–6 (varying in c. 7)

38. (fols. 131vb-135rb)
Ps.-Augustine, Serm. app. 121, in natali domini V
Rubric: \Alius sermo/
Incipit: Quis tantarum[sic] rerum uerborumque copia instructus existat, qui huius sacratissime diei gratiam dignis possit laudibus predicare
Explicit: quia ipse est splendor et gloria eterna, dominus noster iesus christus, cui est honor et gloria in secula seculorum amen

PL 39.1987–89

39. (fols. 135va-143rb)
Rubric: (fol. 135rb) \Sermo bernhardi abbatis/
Incipit: Cantate domino canticum nouum; quia mirabilia fecit. Nouus homo uenit in mundum; nouum canticum intulit mundo. Canticum illud leticie et exultationis, quod dudum auditum erat a pastoribus

ut digni sumus cum ceteris sanctis, hic et in futuro ei cantare canticum nouum Amen

Not identified

40. (fols. 143va-147rb)
Augustine, Sermo 369, de natiuitate domini I
Rubric: (fol. 143rb) \Sermo Augustini/
Incipit: Saluator noster natus de patre sine die
Explicit: de incorrupta femina carne processit

PL 39.1655–7

41. (fols. 147rb-150ra)
Augustine, Sermo 195, in natali domini XII
Rubric: \Sermo sancti Augustini/
Incipit: Filius dei idemque filius hominis dominus noster iesus christus sine matre de patre natus
Explicit: fideliterer[sic] exoptemus
Explicit: PL 38.1017–1019
42. (fols. 150ra-158va)

Cento, as Gregoire, 228 no. 16 (=Alan of Farfa, I.2b-e, Gregoire 139–40, although the analysis there differs in some details from that presented here)

(fols. 150ra-vb)
Incipit: Audiat in presenti dilectio uestra fratres karissimi queadmodum ysaias propheta
Explicit: adorat in terris

Petrus Chrysologus, Serm. 145 (PL 52.589–91) = (Ps.-?) Augustine, Serm. Caillau I 6

(fols. 150vb-153rb)
Incipit: Hodie fratres karissimi hesternum debemus reddere sermonem
Explicit: facit iam celestem

Petrus Chrysologus, Serm. 148 (PL 52.596–8)

(fols. 153rb-154va)
Incipit: Fratres dilectissimi scriptum est rorate celi desuper et nubes pluant iustum. Ueniat angelus, prediecet[sic] uerbum, aperiatur terra
Explicit: est benedicta

Cf. Ps.-Augustine, Serm. Caillau I.9 (p. 29)

(fols. 154va-157ra)
Incipit: Hodie ergo peperit uirgo maria eum qui filios dei faceret
Explicit: sanare corrupta

Ps.-Augustine, Serm app. 121 c. 2–4 (part) (PL 39.1988)

(fols. 157ra-158va)
Incipit: Deus ab angelis proditur et agnus pastoribus demonstratur
Explicit: ut redderet fratres; sic amauit ut faceret heredes iesus christus dominus noster qui cum patre et spiritu sancto uiuit et [sic]

Ps.-Augustine, Serm. Mai 176 (Mai, Nova Patrum Bibliotheca I, 397); a variant of Ps.-Augustine, Serm. app. 121 (PL 47.1229–31)

43.
(fols. 158vb-162ra)
Rubric: (fol. 158va) \Sermo Fulgencii episcopi/
Incipit: Hodie per totum mundum mellifui facti sunt celi; quia ad salutem nostram ex utero uirginis natus est filius dei. ⟨H⟩odie nobis de celo pax uera descendit. ⟨I⟩pse enim vere est pax uera qui fecit utraque unum, quoniam sua sanctissima natiuitate concordauit totum mundum
Explicit: pacem terris redditam denunciat, qui cum patre et spiritu sancto uiuit et regnat […]
44. (fols. 163rb-167vb)
Ps.-Maximus of Turin, Sermo 11, de natiuitate Domini vi
Rubric: \Fulgentii/
Incipit: Iustissime fratres festiuitate presentis diei in omne se gaudium
Explicit: honore debito misteria semper christi uirtutesque laudemus

CPL 220.11 (=CPL 219b); PL 57.243–8; Paul the Deacon I.20.

45. (fols. 167vb-171rb)
Ps.-Maximus of Turin, Sermo 10, de natiuitate Domini V
Rubric: \Sermo Fulgencii/
Incipit: Hodie christus natus est nos renati. Hodie saluator mundi per matrem nascendi tempus accepit
Explicit: teneamus celestis fidei ueritatem

CPL 220.10 (=CPL 219b); PL 57.241–4; Paul the Deacon I.21.

46. (fols. 171rb-173vb)
Incipit: Fratres karissimi, domini natalem celebrandum indicat tempus annuale, mundo gaudium instat generale
Explicit: iam infigimus uere claritati
47. (fols. 173rb-178vb)
Fulgentius, Sermo 2
Rubric: \Sermo Fulgentii/
Incipit: Cupientes aliquid de huius sacratissimi diei sollempnitate narrare
Explicit: in fide et caritate custodiat idem deus et dominus noster amen

CPL 829; CCSL 91A, 899–903; PL 65.726–9

48. (fols. 179ra-181ra)
Ps.-Maximus of Turin, Sermo 13, de natiuitate domini vii
Incipit: ⟨H⟩odierni misterii sacramentum, fratres karissimi, sicut credidistis et semper creditis, reparacio est salutis humane
Explicit: dubitare non possis

CPL 220.13 (=CPL 219b); PL 57.249; Paul the Deacon I.23.

Rest of fol. 181ra-b blank; fol. 181v blank, ruled.

49. (fols. 182ra-186rb)
Hildebert of Le Mans, Sermo 55, in festo annutiatione, de incarnatione
Incipit: Audita feci tibi noua, et signata sunt que nescis. Uerba sunt spiritus sancti in uisione sancto ysaie loquentis[sic]
Explicit: corpori claritatis sue iesus christus […]

PL 171.605–10

50. (fols. 186rb-190rb)
Incipit: Volens deus perditum mundum reparare, et seductum famulum celo reuocare, misit unigenitum hostem debellare
Explicit: et sacrum spiramen in diuina specie contemplemur amen
51. (fols. 190va-192vb)
Hildebert of le Mans, Sermo 5, in adventu domini V
Incipit: Egrediemini filii syon […] Et ego si linguis hominum loquar et angelorum tamen in irritum cedet labor meus
Explicit: morte uiuere sempiterne. A qua nos liberet iesus […]

PL 171.364–8 (= PL 198.1772, as Peter Comestor, serm. 19) slightly abbreviated.

Rest of fol. 192vb blank.

52. (fols. 193ra-194va)
Rupert of Deutz, Commentary on Song of Songs (extracts)
(fols. 193ra-193vb)
Incipit: Surge propera amica mea, columba mea, formosa mea. Tu amica mea per humilitatem, columba mea per caritatem, formosa mea per castitatem. Tu contra deum non tumuisti
Explicit: et recedet hymes ire celestis

PL 168.867–8

(fols. 193vb-194va)
Incipit: In lectulo meo per noctem quesiui, quem diligit anima mea. Hoc senciunt amici
Explicit: in lectulo suo habuit[sic] eum

PL 168.874; breaks off unfinished?

Rest of fol. 194va blank; 194vb blank except for the rubric for following item.

53. (fols. 195ra-196va)
Rubric: (fol. 194rb) \Sermo beati augustini episcopi/
Incipit: Quia uenerabilem diem assumptionis sancte marie genitricis dei columus, fratres karissimi, dignum et iustum est ut in domino gaudeamus, et spiritali[sic] iocunditate exultemus
Explicit: et macula non est in te. Tu autem domine.

Rest of fol. 196v blank. Fol. 197r-v (early paper endleaf) blank.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i (early paper endleaf) + 197 + i (early paper endleaf)
Dimensions (leaf): 310 × 220 mm.

Collation

1(8) (fols. 1–8; the outer bifolium a later replacement), 2(8)-12(8) (fols. 9–95 including 60a, 60b) | 13(8–1: 6 canc.) (fols. 96–102: this quire is a late-fourteenth-century replacement) | 14(8–1: 4 missing with loss of text) (fols. 103–109), 15(8)-23(8) (fols. 110–181) | 24(8) (fols. 182–189), 25(8–1: 8 canc.) (fols. 190–6). Quires numbered in roman on the final verso, often more than once; the numberings suggest that quires 24–25 once followed or were intended to follow quire 13.

Layout

Usually 2 columns of 15 lines, ruled space 180–5 × 140 mm.

Fols. 166–181 (quires 22–23) 17–19 lines, ruled space 195–210 × 140 mm. , partly above top line

Fols. 182–196 (quires 24–25): 20 long lines, ruled space 220 × 140 mm. , above top line, except for fols. 195–6, below top line, so 19 lines.

Hand(s)

The main text was written in textualis formata by several hands, often to be distinguished only with difficulty; a full analysis is not attempted here.

Fols. 96ra-100va added by one hand in textualis formata, later fourteenth century.

Decoration

Important, fine and good miniatures, fine borders, historiated and other initials, many with fleuronnée work. (P&A i. 136, pl. X).

The decoration, which is unfinished, was carried out in several campaigns. The more finished decoration is found in seven quires and comprises borders (in different styles), historiated initials and flourished initials by three professional illuminators. The first professional artist worked in quire 1 (fols. 2–7); his work has also been identified by Oliver in Baltimore, Walters Art Museum W. 148. The second artist, who is sometimes compared with the Willehalm Master, worked in the second quire (fols. 9–16). The remaining professional decoration is attributed to a third artist (styled by Dorothy Miner the 'Master of Douce 185' and by Oliver the 'Jesse Master'). He and assistants were responsible for the outer bifolium of the first quire and for quires 5–7, 14–15 and 20.

This decoration was supplemented by borders, historiated and decorated initials, and flourished and coloured initials added by a number of less skilled artists, assumed to be the nuns themselves, with noticeable differences in style and approach between quires.

For more detailed discussion, to which the present description is indebted, see Judith Oliver, ‘Too Many Cooks? The Multiple Hands in a German Convent Homilary (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 185)’, in Manuscripts Changing Hands, ed. by Corine Schleif and Volker Schier, Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien, 31 (Wiesbaden: Harrossowitz Verlag in Kommission, 2016); and Judith Oliver, ‘Christmas Lessons in Word and Image in the Douce Homiliary’, Studies in Iconography, 37 (2016).

    Quire 1, fols. 1–8: historiated initial; borders; spaces left for 1-line flourished initials (except on fol. 8r-v where they are supplied)
  • (fol. 1v) Full-page historiated initial A: Tree of Jesse
    Quire 2, fols. 9–16: historiated initial, borders, 1-line flourished initials.
  • (fol. 12v) Historiated initial T, occupying two-thirds of the page: Annunciation
    Quires 3 and 4, fols. 17–32: later miniature and historiated initials; spaces for 1-line initials partly filled in with later coloured initials in red and blue.
  • (fol. 17v) Miniature, one column: Angel with scroll ('Cras egrediemini ...'); below, prophet with scroll ('Paratus esto Israel...'); below, crowd of Israelites
  • (fol. 23v) Historiated initial I, filling one column: priest at lectern
  • (fol. 31v) 7-line historiated initial P: Mass, the elevation of the host, with hand blessing above
    Quires 5–7, fols. 33–56: borders, historiated and decorated initials, 1-line flourished initials, and a more elaborate flourished initial on fol. 48ra (four lines). Gables added later to the borders in quire 5.
  • (fol. 33r) 7-line historiated initial S: the Visitation
  • (fol. 35v) Full-page historiated initial N: Nativity (above), Education of the Virgin in the Temple (below); two nuns to left
  • (fol. 37v) 7-line historiated initial L: Adoration of the Magi
  • (fol. 38r) 8-line historiated initial I, filling half the column: Isaiah
  • (fol. 39r) 7-line historiated initial E: Angel (above), Emperor Augustus (below)
  • (fol. 39v) Historiated initial Q filling two-thirds of the page: Presentation (above); Christ in the Temple (below)
  • (fol. 41v) 8-line decorated initial I (half the column width), interlace pattern on gold ground.
  • (fol. 42r) 8-line historiated initial N: two angels above, and one to the left, with three haloed figures (possibly also angels), one kneeling, all with scrolls; probably the 'multitudo celestium agminum que gloriam deo caneret' described in Bede's sermon (cf. Oliver, 'Christmas lessons' 122 for a slightly different interpretation.)
  • (fol. 44r) 9-line historiated initial I (half the column width): John the Evangelist with his eagle
  • (fol. 44v) Historiated initial Q filling two-thirds of the page: Virgin and child enthroned, with angels and two nuns.
  • (fol. 49va) 7-line historiated initial S: Nativity
  • (fol. 51va) 9-line historiated initial A: upper compartment, two midwives offering the Virgin food ; lower compartment, bathing the Christ child; kneeling nun to the right side of the letter.
  • (fol. 56va) 7-line historiated initial L: king enthroned with three vases
  • Quire 8, fols. 57–63: 1-line coloured initials added, incompletely; spaces left for larger initials on fols. 60brb (sketch for a decorated initial added), 63vb.
    Quire 9, fols. 64–71: later borders; later historiated and decorated initials; later 1-line flourished and decorated initials.
  • (fol. 64r) 7-line historiated initial N: identified by Oliver as prophets' vision of incarnation
  • (fol. 65v) Historiated initial C filling two-thirds of the page: Nativity
  • (fol. 67v) 6-line decorated initial Q: gold interlace pattern on red and blue ground
    Quire 10, fols. 72–9: later historiated initial; later 1-line coloured initials, fols. 72r-75r and 79v
  • (fol. 77va) 6-line historiated initial D: Virgin and Child
  • Quire 11, fols. 80–7: coloured initials added in places; 9-line space for a larger initial, fol. 82ra, with preparatory sketch.
    Quire 12, fol. 88–95: later historiated initials; later 3-line initials in gold; 1-line coloured initials added sporadically
  • (fol. 88rb) 6-line historiated initial A: adoration of the Magi
  • (fol. 93v) Full-page historiated initial P: adoration of the Magi
  • Quire 13, fols. 96–102: coloured 1-line initials.
    Quires 14–15, fols. 103–117: borders, historiated initials, 1-line flourished initials, with larger and more elaborate flourished initials in gold, red, and blue, sometimes with purple and green, on fols. 108rb, 109va, 111vb, 113ra, 114rb, 115vb
  • (fol. 103r): 7-line historiated initial G: vision of the Virgin and child in a star, seen by a prophet and three singing clerics.
  • (fol. 110v): 5-line historiated initial U: prophet
    Quires 16–19, fols. 118–149: later large and elaborate flourished initials in gold, red and blue, fols. 121va, 125rb, 128rb, 131vb, 135va, 147rb; later decorated initial; 1-line coloured initials added, incompletely.
  • (fol. 143v) 7-line decorated initial S: dragon-human hybrid on gold ground.
    Quire 20, fols. 150–157: borders, historiated initials, 1-line flourished initials.
  • (fol. 150r): 7-line historiated initial A: the Virgin nursing the Christ child with kneeling nun.
    Quires 21–23, fols. 158–181: later historiated initial; later large and elaborate flourished initials in gold, red, and blue, fols. 158vb, 167vb, 171rb, 173rb; 1-line coloured initials added, incompletely; unfilled 9-line space for an initial, fol. 179ra.
  • (fol. 163r): 9-line historiated initial I: bishop (possibly Fulgentius)
    Quires 24–25, fols. 182–196: later historiated and decorated initials; 1-line coloured letters added, incompletely.
  • (fol. 182r): historiated initial A filling two-thirds of the page: angel with prophets (Isaiah and Jeremiah)
  • (fol. 186r): 7-line decorated initial V
  • (fol. 190v): 9-line historiated initial E: King Solomon (above), crowd of nuns (below)
  • (fol. 193r): 8-line historiated initial S: Annuciation (?): angel (above), woman reading on seat (below)
  • (fol. 193v): 7-line decorated initial: grotesque (bird with female head) on gold ground.
  • (fol. 195r): historiated initial Q filling two-thirds of the page: death and assumption of the Virgin.

Binding

Sixteenth-century binding; blind-tooled white leather over boards, sewn on four double/split bands, with two clasps.

History

Origin: 14th century, first quarter and (additions) end ; German, lower Rhineland

Provenance and Acquisition

Earlier scholarship localized the volume on art-historical grounds to the upper Rhine or area of Lake Constance (Pacht and Alexander i.136; Douce Legacy no. 242), but it is now associated with Westphalia, partly because of its relationship to Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, MS. W. 148 (see below) and partly because of stylistic similarities between the 'Jesse master' and contemporary painting from Cologne. Dating to the first quarter of the fourteenth century is suggested by Oliver on art-historical grounds.

The volume was written and decorated for and/or by a community of nuns illustrated at various points in the manuscript, whose habit included a white wimple with a single red cross. General parallels for such crosses have been found among Cistercian and Premonstratensian nuns in parts of Germany, with Oliver suggesting a close parallel with the depiction of Augustinian canonesses in a gradual from Erfurt ('Christmas lessons', 127–8).

The manuscript is probably a companion volume to Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, MS. W.148, an illustrated homiliary for Eastertide. Both volumes have sixteenth-century bindings in identical style; they share an artist; and they are closely comparable in format and script.

Francis Douce, 1757–1834: bought by him in June 1831 from Payne and Foss (see Douce Legacy, no. 242); price '15.15.0' on fol. ii verso.

Bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1834

Record Sources

Description by Matthew Holford, Feb. 2021. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Availability

To ensure its availability to future readers, access to this item is restricted, and readers are asked to work from reproductions and published descriptions as far as possible. To apply to see the original, please send a message to specialcollections.enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, outlining the subject of your research, the importance of this item to that research, and the resources you have already consulted.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)
Digital Bodleian(41 images from 35mm slides)

Bibliography

Last Substantive Revision

2021-02-11: New draft description for Polonsky German digitization project.