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Speculum Humanae Salvationis

Maker(s) &

, production, Italy, Tuscany, or North-East Italy


illuminated manuscript


cutting (manuscript); sub-category
other; type of text


circa 1370 circa 1390


fourteenth century, second half


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).


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




bequeathed; 1935; Riches, Thomas Henry


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).


Riches, Thomas Henry; previous owner
Seymour, Bernard John; previous owner
Duke, Sir John; previous owner
Boxall, Sir William; previous owner


secundo folio; fol. 2r; Tres robusti adtulere



Waagen, G. F.. 1857. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, being an Account of more than forty Collections of Paintings, drawings, Sculptures, MSS etc. visited in 1854 and 1856, now for the First Time described..London: p. 196-98

Wormald, Francis. Giles, Phyllis M.. 1966. Illuminated Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.):
cat. no. 63

Wormald, F. and Giles, P. M.. 1982. A descriptive catalogue of the additional illuminated manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.):
II, 456-59, pl. 36

Alexander, J. J. G.. Marrow, J. H.. Sandler, Lucy Freeman. 2005. The Splendor of the Word: Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts at the New York Public Library.London:
cat. no. 36

Breitenbach, E.. 1930. Speculum Humanae Salvationis. Eine Typengeschichtliche Untersuchung..Strasbourg:
pp. 15, 74, 88, 92, 94, 95, 96, 100, no. 129

James, M. R.. Berenson, B.. 1926. Speculum Humanae Salvationis..Oxford:

Antal, F.. 1948. Florentine Painting and its Social Background..London:
pp. 253-55, pls. 90A, 90B

Büttner, F. O.. 1983. Imitatio Pietatis. Motive der christlichen Ikonographie als Modelle zur Verähnlichung..Berlin:
pp. 111, 112, 211, fig. 122

Wilson, A.. Wilson, J. L.. 1984. A Medieval Mirror: Speculum humanae salvationis 1324-1500..Berkeley:
pp. 30-32 (as being in Oxford)

Niesner, M.. 1995. Das Speculum Humanae Salvationis der Stiftsbibliothek Kremsmünster..Cologne: p. 22

Avril, François. Za?uska, Y.. 1984. Dix siècles d'enluminure italienne (VIe-XVIe siècles).Paris: p. 72

Morgan, Nigel. Panayotova, Stella. Reynolds, Suzanne. 2011. A Catalogue of Western Book Illumination in the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges. Part Two. Vols. 1-2: Italy and the Iberian Peninsula.London: Harvey Miller Publishers
cat. no. 29

Berenson, B.. 1925-1926. Due illustratori italiani dello Speculum Humanae Salvationis..
Source Title: Bollettino d'Arte 5 () : 289-317

pp. 289-317, figs. 1-8, 12, 17-18, 20, 24-25, 27-28

Berenson, B.. 1930. Italian illustrators of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis.New Haven:
Source Title: Studies in Mediaeval Painting.() : 101-136

pp. 101-21, figs. 90-97, 99, 103, 108-110, 112, 116-19, 121-23, 125

Wormald, Francis. Giles, Phyllis M.. 1953. A Handlist of Additional Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Part III.
Source Title: Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 1 (pt. 5) () : 36

p. 375, no. 179

Silber, E. A.. 1980. The Reconstructed Toledo Speculum Humanae Salvationis: The Italian Connection in the Early Fourteenth Century..
Source Title: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 43 () : 32-51

pp. 33, 44

Panayotova, Stella. Marrow, J. H.. Linenthal, R.. Noel, W.. 2010. Cockerell and Riches..Houten:
Source Title: The Medieval Book: Glosses from Friends and Colleagues of Christopher de Hamel.() : 377-386


Object Number: MS 43-1950
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 178377; input: 2010-10-31; modified: 2018-05-21)


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