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Speculum Virginum
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Speculum Virginum

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This manuscript, written at the Cistercian abbey of Himmerode in Germany in the early thirteenth century, is one of twenty-two surviving Latin copies of the Speculum virginum, or Mirror for virgins. Attributed to Conrad of Hirsau, the text was written in the first half of the twelfth century as a guide for nuns, offering them theological lessons in the form of a hypothetical conversation between a teacher, Peregrinus, and his student, Theodora. The twelve illustrations in the manuscript portray the protagonists as well as the mystical visions and diagrams they discuss in the text. The large, expressive pen drawings bring the text to life and are an excellent example of German art of this period.
Date Description Narrative
7/04/2013Treatmenttears repaired
8/21/2015Treatmentexamined for exhibition; media consolidation
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • Schatzkammer: Henry Walters' German Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2006.
  • The Saint John's Bible: A Modern Vision through Medieval Methods. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2009.
  • Living by the Book: Monks, Nuns, and Their Manuscripts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2013.
Provenance Cistercian abbey of Himmerode, Wittlich, Germany, by 15th century [erased ownership note, "Liber monachorum sancte Marie in hymmenrode ordinis Cisterciensis Treverensis dyocesis," fol. 1r, Shelfmark C.I.]; Josef von Görres collection, Germany, 19th century [mode of acquisition unknown]; Görres Collection Sale, Munich, 1902 [Catal.libr.mss no. 76 (no. 71 in unpublished, pre-1844 catalog of manuscripts when kept in Koblenz by Ernst Dronke)]; Julien Chappée, Le Mans and Paris, 1902, by purchase [Lot 76, p. 14]; Gruel and Engelmann Collection, Paris, 1903 [no. 88, bookplate on front pastedown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, June 9, 1903 [mode of acquisition unknown] [bookplate on front pastedown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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1st quarter 13th century (Gothic)
ink and pigments on cream-colored parchment of medium thickness with a velvety finish covered with 16th or 17th century boards covered in red velvet and embellished with a thirteenth-century Limoges champlevé enamel crucifix
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
Closed Book: H: 13 1/8 × W: 9 5/8 × D: 2 5/8 in. (33.4 × 24.4 × 6.6 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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