Walters Ms. W.425 Prayer Book Fragment

The fragmentary Walters Ms. W.425 Prayer Book is an interesting manuscript. Not only is it a a fragment, but in addition, it consists entirely of single folios that were added and/or moved around. There are enough missing folios that that the MS. cant’t be collated. The dimensions of the ms. are 6.5 cm wide by 9.0 cm high (c. 2 3/4 inches x 3 1/2 inches). This is a tiny book, a pocket prayer book intended to be portable and personal. The Walters detailed description notes that the hand is littera gotica rotunda, and that the are extant foliation includes iv+58+iv. You can page through a digital facsimile of Walters MS. W.425.

The Walters W.425 prayer book was “probably produced in Brussels, ca. 1520-30,” and “in the style of the Master of Charles V.” The Master of Charles V was a particularly skilled Flemish illuminator, and there are some shared characteristics in the images in this MS. Walters E. 425 is particularly notable for the strikingly charming calendar images showing labors and pastimes of the months. The saints and other data from the calendar (which is incomplete; none of the monthly calendar pages contain dates after the 18th of the month) suggest a Franciscan connection, and the inclusion of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in the suffrages is an interesting choice.