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Speculum Humanae Salvationis: MS 23

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Current Location: In storage


Speculum Humanae Salvationis




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, ii paper flyleaves + 48 fols. + ii paper flyleaves, 364 x 266 (250 x 189) mm, 2 columns, 28 lines, ruled in pink ink.

BINDING: 19th century, gold-tooled red leather over pasteboards.

CONTENTS: fols. 1r – 2v Table of Contents and Prologue; fols. 3v – 48r Speculum Humanae Salvationis.

DECORATON: One-hundred and eighty column miniatures [c.16 ll.] in thin ink frames with text forming borders and gold arch above, for chapters: fol. 3v God Enthroned, angels worshiping, devils falling in Hell-Mouth; Creation of Eve. fol. 4r Marriage of Adam and Eve; Temptation of Eve; fol. 4v Fall; Expulsion from Paradise; fol. 5r Adam digging, Eve nursing Cain and Abel; Flood, dove returning to Ark with olive branch; fol. 5v Annunciation; Dream of King Astyages; fol. 6r Sealed fountain in enclosed garden; Balaam’s prophesy; fol. 6v Nativity of the Virgin; Tree of Jesse; fol. 7r Closed Gate; Temple of Solomon; fol. 7v Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple; fishermen offer table (pink, not gold) to statue of Apollo; fol. 8r Jephthah sacrifices his daughter; Queen of Persia in Hanging Gardens of Babylon; fol. 8v Marriage of Virgin and Joseph; marriage of Sarah and Tobias; fol. 9r Tower of Baris; Tower of David; fol. 9v Annunciation; God addressing Moses from Burning Bush; fol. 10r Gideon receiving sign from angel; Rebecca offering Elijah a drink; fol. 10v Nativity; dream of pharaoh's butler; fol. 11r David offered drink by three knights; Solomon receiving gifts from Queen of Sheba; fol. 11v Presentation in the Temple; Ark of the Covenant; fol. 12r Seven-branched candlestick; Hannah presents Samuel to Eli in temple at Shiloh; fol. 12v Flight into Egypt, fall of idols; image of Virgin and Child worshiped by Egyptians; fol. 13r Moses snatching Pharaoh’s crown, reaching for coals; Dream of Nebuchadnezzar (statue intact); fol. 13v Baptism; the molten sea (laver resting on golden oxen before Temple); fol. 14r Nathan in the Jordan; Joshua leading the Ark of the Covenant across the dry Jordan; fol. 14v Temptation of Christ; Daniel feeding the dragon, image of Baal destroyed; fol. 15r David beheading Goliath; David killing lion and bear; fol. 15v St Mary Magdalene washing Christ’s feet; King Manassas chained to throne; fol. 16r Return of the Prodigal Son; David rebuked by Nathan; fol. 16v Entry into Jerusalem; Jeremiah lamenting; fol. 17r David entering Jerusalem with Goliath’s head; Heliodorus attacked in the temple; fol. 17v Last Supper; Manna from Heaven; fol. 18r Israelites with Passover lamb; Melchisedech offering bread and wine to Abraham; fol. 18v Ego sum; Samson slaying Philistines with ass jaw-bone; fol. 19r Shamgar slaying 600 Philistines; David slaying enemies; fol. 19v Betrayal; Joab killing Amasa; fol. 20r David cast out by Saul; Cain slaying Abel; fol. 20v Christ mocked by soldiers; Christ mocked by Jews (sic); fol. 21r Drunkenness of Noah; Sampson mocked by Philistines; fol. 21v Flagellation; Achior bound to tree; fol. 22r Lamech rebuked and beaten by wives; Job beaten by wife and Satan; fol. 22r Christ crowned with thorns; Apamene takes crown from King Darius (labeled Apemen. Jozobabel); fol. 23r Shimei curses and casts stones at David; King Hanun (Amon) mistreats David’s messengers; fol. 23v Road to Calvary; Isaac bearing wood, Abraham at prayer; fol. 24r Servants casting lord’s son out of vineyard; Spies with bunch of grapes return from Canaan; fol. 24v Christ nailed to the Cross; Jubal and Tubalcain in smith’s workshop; fol. 25r Martyrdom of Isaiah; Moab sacrificing his son; fol. 25v Crucifixion; Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a tree that must be felled; fol. 26r Death of Codrus, king of Athens; Eleazar killing war-elephant, then crushed beneath it; fol. 26v Christ on the Cross, mocked by soldiers and Jews; David harping before Ark; fol. 27r Death of Absalom; King Evilmerodach cuts his father’s corpse into 300 pieces and feeds it to birds; fol. 27v Deposition; Jacob shown Joseph’s coat; fol. 28r Adam and Eve grieve over slain Abel; Naomi, arriving at Bethlehem with Ruth, says she is to be called Mara; fol. 28v Entombment; David grieves at burial of Abner; fol. 29r Ruben weeping at pit, Joseph sold into slavery; Jonah thrown to whale; fol. 29v Four levels of Hell; the three boys in the firey furnace; fol. 30r Habakkuk carried by angel brings food to Daniel in lion’s den; Ostrich frees its young from glass with reptile’s blood; fol. 30v Christ triumphing over the devil; Benaiah beating lion in pit; fol. 31r God saving Abraham from fire of Chaldeans; Lot’s wife turned to salt as Sodom destroyed; fol. 31v Resurrection, Christ stepping from tomb; Sampson carrying gates of Gaza; fol. 32r Jonah delivered from whale; stone rejected becomes the cornerstone; fol. 32v Ascension; Jacob’s dream of the ladder; fol. 33r Christ as the Good Shepherd; Ascension of Elijah; fol. 33v Pentecost; construction of the Tower of Babel; fol. 34r Moses receives the Law (scroll, not Tablets) from God, Israelites wait below; widow and her son fill barrel with oil as instructed by Elisha; fol. 34v Virgin with symbols of Joys and Sorrows; Anna and Tobit, Tobias led by angel; fol. 35r Parable of the lost piece of silver; Marriage of Michal and Phalti; fol. 35v Coronation of the Virgin; David harping before Ark brought to Jerusalem; fol. 36r Virgin as Woman clothed in Sun (with Sacred Monogram) and Moon; Solomon and Bathsheba; fol. 36v Virgin interceding for mankind flanked by Saints Dominic and Francis and suppliant figures, Christ above brandishes spears; meeting of David and Abigail; fol. 37r David and the woman of Tekoah; Sheba’s head thrown from the city walls; fol. 37v Virgin as Mother of Mercy; Tharbis defends Saba against Moses’ attack; fol. 38r Abimelech struck on head by millstone thrown by woman, armour-bearer at his side; David flees from Saul, assisted by Michal; fol. 38v Christ displaying wounds; Antipater showing scars to Caesar; fol. 39r Virgin as Intercessor; Esther and Mordecai before Ahasuerus, Haman crucified; fol. 39v Last Judgement; Parable of the Talents; fol. 40r Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins; Daniel before Belshazzar; fol. 40v Christ as Judge, damned cast into Hell-Mouth; captives flayed and sawn asunder by David’s army; fol. 41r Gideon punishing elders of Succoth; Moses leads Israelites, Egyptians drowned in Red Sea; fol. 41v Virgin and God the Father enthroned, suppliant figures below; man and woman offer gifts to Solomon; fol. 42r Ahasuerus’s feast; feast of Job’s sons and daughters; fol. 42v Christ carrying Cross appears to hermit; Last Supper, Christ offers bread to Judas; fol. 43r Betrayal; Mocking of Christ; fol. 43v Christ before Herod; Flagellation; fol. 44r Carrying of the Cross; Crucifixion; fol. 44v Friar pierced by sword (Dominican’s vision of the Sorrow of the Virgin); Presentation in the Temple (First Sorrow); fol. 45r Flight into Egypt, angel speaks to Joseph (Second Sorrow); Christ among the Doctors (Third Sorrow); fol. 45v Christ led from Gethsemane (Fourth Sorrow); Crucifixion (Fifth Sorrow); fol. 46r Entombment (Sixth Sorrow); Mary weeping before Instruments of the Passion (Seventh Sorrow); fol. 46v Sick clerk cured by Mary; Annunciation (First Joy); fol. 47r Visitation (Second Joy); Nativity (Third Joy); fol. 47v Adoration of the Magi (Fourth Joy); Presentation in the Temple (Fifth Joy); fol. 48r Christ among the Doctors (Sixth Joy); Coronation of the Virgin (Seventh Joy).

ORNAMENTATION: Blue or pink white-patterned initials [3 – 6 ll.] with foliage infill on gold grounds for Table of Contents, Preface and Chapter 1; alternate red and blue penwork initials [4 ll.] with black ord red pen-flourishing for chapters; full bar, floral spraywork and ivy leaf border (fol. 1r); gold paragraph signs on dark pink or blue grounds for Table of Contents and Preface; capitals highlighted in yellow.


History note: 17th century Marian prayers in French (fols. 9v, 46v – 48r); 18th century book-stamp of crest (a grenade) with scroll inscribed ‘Wm. Wilson’ pasted onto fol. i verso, probably William Wilson (1783 – 1873), canon of Winchester and Biblical scholar, or William Rae Wilson (1772 – 1849), FSA, who gave £300 to Glasgow University for essay prize on Christ); Richard, seventh viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745 – 1816), acquired in 1812; his bequest, 1816.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1816) by Fitzwilliam, Richard, 7th Viscount


15th Century, third quarter#
Production date: circa AD 1460

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of paper parchment
Text Height 250 mm Width 189 mm
Page Height 364 mm Width 266 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: [compas]sionem
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 23
Primary reference Number: 169702
Project ID: 48
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 9 October 2023 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Speculum Humanae Salvationis" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-21 03:33:40

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