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Speculum Humanae Salvationis: MS 23

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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


Fifteenth century, third quarter
Production date: circa AD/CE 1460

People, subjects and objects depicted

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

Penwork Illumination

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: [compas]sionem
  • 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: Wednesday 18 August 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 18 August 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Other" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-01-24 19:40:48

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{{cite web|url=|title=Other|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-01-24 19:40:48|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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