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Speculum Humanae Salvationis: MS 43-1950

An image of Cutting (manuscript)

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Current Location: Gallery 32 (Rothschild)


Speculum Humanae Salvationis




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, pairs of drawings excised from original manuscript and mounted within cardboard frames, i paper flyleaf + 25 fols. + ii paper flyleaves, 139 x 190 mm (ruled area for each drawing within a pair 130 x 80 mm)

BINDING: Nineteenth century, probably c.1876, dark olive-green leather over pasteboards with gold-tooled frames, lettered on spine and upper cover SPECULUM HUMANAE SALVATIONIS, by Rivière & Son

fols. 1r-8v Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Chapter VIII.3 - Chapter XVI.2
fols. 9r-16v Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Chapter XXIV.3 - Chapter XXXII.2
fols 17r-17v Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Chapter XXXVII.3 - Chapter XXXVIII.2
fols. 18r-25v Speculum Humanae Salvationis, Chapter XL.3 - Chapter XLV.6

DECORATION: Twenty five cuttings with pairs of tinted drawings on both sides, with occasional use of gold for haloes, crowns and other details, lacking the text below: fol. 1r Aaron's flowering rod, Augustus (Octavian) shown a vision of the Virgin and Child by the Tiburtine Sibyl; fol. 1v Adoration of the Magi, Magi see the star which contains the Christ Child; f. 2r David offered drink by three knights, Throne of Solomon; fol. 2v Presentation in the Temple, Ark of the Covenant; fol. 3r Seven-branched candlestick, Hannah presents Samuel to Eli; fol. 3v Flight into Egypt with fall of idols, image of Virgin and Child set up by the Egyptians; fol. 4r Moses as a child throws down Pharaoh's crown, Dream of Nebuchadnezzar of the great statue; fol. 4v Baptism of Christ, the Molten Sea in which stand twelve oxen (not the usual laver resting on golden oxen); fol. 5r Naaman washes in the Jordan, the Ark of the Covenant carried across the dry Jordan; fol. 5v Temptations of Christ, Daniel destroys the idol of Bel and feeds the dragon; fol. 6r David about to cut off Goliath’s head, David killing the bear and the lion; fol. 6v St Mary Magdalene washing Christ's feet, Penitence of King Manasses kneeling in a prison cell; fol. 7r Return of the Prodigal Son; David rebuked by Nathan; fol. 7v Entry into Jerusalem, Jeremiah lamenting over Jerusalem; fol. 8r David bringing Goliath’s head Saul, Heliodorus repulsed from the Temple; fol. 8v Last Supper, Manna falling from Heaven collected by the Israelites; fol. 9r Death of King Codrus of Athens, Eleazar killing a war-elephant; fol. 9v Christ on the Cross mocked by the Jews, Michal derides David; fol. 10r Death of Absalom, King Evilmerodach cuts his father's corpse into pieces; fol. 10v Deposition from the Cross, Jacob shown Joseph's bloody coat; fol. 11r Adam and Eve grieve over slain Abel, Naomi and her daughters lament over the death of her husband and two sons; fol. 11v Lamentation and Entombment of Christ, David laments at the funeral of Abner; fol. 12r Joseph cast into the well, Jonah thrown to the whale; fol. 12v Hell below Heaven, the three Hebrew boys delivered from the fiery furnace by an angel; fol. 13r Habakkuk brings food to Daniel in the lions' den, Ostrich frees its young from a glass vessel with reptile's blood; fol. 13v Christ tramples on the Devil, Benaiah overcomes the lion in the pit; fol. 14r Samson fighting the lion, Ehud kills Eglon; fol. 14v The Virgin overcomes the Devil, Judith kills Holofernes; fol. 15r Jael kills Sisera, Tomyris kills Cyrus; fol. 15v Christ leads souls out of Hell, Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt; fol. 16r Abraham delivered by God from the fire of Ur of the Chaldees, Lot escapes from the destruction of Sodom leaving the column of salt; Resurrection with Christ stepping from the tomb, Samson dismantling the gates of Gaza; fol. 17r The woman of Tekoah appeases David's wrath against Absalom, The Wise Woman of Abel casts out the head of Seba to appease Joab; fol. 17v The Virgin as Mater misericordiae protects mankind, Tharbis defends the city of Sabba against Moses; fol. 18r Parable of the Ten Virgins, Daniel interprets the writing on the wall for Belshazzar; fol. 18v Pains of Hell, Punishment of the men of Rabbath; fol. 19r Punishment of the elders of Succoth, Pharaoh and his army drowned in the Red Sea; fol. 19v Joys of Heaven as Christ with the angels, Virgin Mary and the saint, Queen of Sheba visits Solomon; fol. 20r Feast of King Ahasuerus, Job feasting with his sons and daughters; fol. 20v Christ carrying Cross appears to a hermit (introducing Seven scenes of the Passion of Christ), Last Supper; fol. 21r Christ's prayer in Gethsemane, Betrayal; fol. 21v Christ before Pilate, Flagellation; fol. 22r Pilate washes his hands and Christ carrying the Cross, Crucifixion of Humility; fol. 22v the Virgin Mary pierced by five (sic) swords (introducing the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary), Presentation in the Temple (First Sorrow); fol. 23r Dream of Joseph and Flight into Egypt (Second Sorrow), Christ among the Doctors (Third Sorrow); fol. 23v Way of the Cross (Fourth Sorrow), Crucifixion (Fifth Sorrow); fol. 24r Deposition from the Cross (Sixth Sorrow), The Virgin contemplates the Instruments of the Passion (Seventh Sorrow); fol. 24v Virgin Mary appears to a sick monk (introducing the Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary), Annunciation (First Joy); fol. 25r Nativity (Third Joy), Visitation (Second Joy); fol. 25v Adoration of the Magi (Fourth Joy), Presentation in the Temple (Fifth Joy).


History note: Sir William Boxall (1800-1879), Director of the National Gallery (1866-1874), acquired by 1857; presented by him on 11 Feb. 1876 to Sir John Duke (1820-1894), first Baron Coleridge and Lord Chief Justice, in memory of his father, Sir John Taylor Coleridge (donation recorded in gold capitals on front pastedown); to his son, Bernard John Seymour (1851-1927), second Baron Coleridge (his bookplate on the first flyleaf); purchased from him by Thomas Henry Riches (1865-1935) in 1923; his bequest, 1935 (received in 1950).

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1935) by Riches, Thomas Henry


14th Century, second half
Circa 1370 CE - Circa 1390 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 43-1950
Primary reference Number: 178377
Project ID: 3555
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 13 November 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 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: 2024-06-21 02:21:22

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