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Life of Christ: MS 25

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Current Location: In storage


Life of Christ


Artist: Master of Beatrijs van Assendelf’s Leven van Jesus




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, iiii + 195 fols. (medieval foliation in red above intercolumnium on recto’s , starting on current fol. 4r, only counting written leaves), 268 x 190 (171 x 115) mm, 2 columns, 30 lines, ruled in black ink

BINDING: fifteenth century, stamped leather over boards (stamps include Agnus Dei motif; reference to Agnes convent in Delft?), clasps.

CONTENTS: fols. 2r – 2v Index; fols. 4r – 4v Prologue; fols. 5r – 192v Pseudo-Bonaventura-Ludolfiaanse Leven van Jesus.

DECORATION: Thirty full-page miniatures in arched frames with architectural canopies and full floral borders including saints, angels, animals, and birds on plain parchment grounds, at major text divisions: fol. 3v Christ blessing, holding open book, standing on orb on a rock in front of a city, St Gertrude with mouse in border; fol. 13v Mercy, Peace, Truth and Justice kneeling before God enthroned, St Martha with asperge and devil in border; fol. 18v Annunciation, St Apollonia holding pincers with tooth in border; fol. 23v Visitation, St Agnes with ring and lamb in border; fol. 30v Nativity, Annunciation to the shepherds in background, St Agatha holding pincers with bleeding breast in border; fol. 36v Circumcision, St Clare holding monstrance and book in border; fol. 38v Adoration of the Magi, St Christine holding arrow in border; fol. 42v Presentation in the Temple, St Bridget of Kildare with pot and ox in border; fol. 50v Christ among the Doctors, St Elizabeth of Hungary as nun holding double crown and book in border; fol. 57v Baptism, Virgin and Child in border; fol. 62v Temptation, St Cunera with scarf holding palm and book in border; fol. 72v Sermon on the Mount, St Bernard with book and crosier in border; fol. 77v Christ and the woman of Samaria, St Quirinus in black armour in border; fol. 95v Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah, St Eligius with hammer and anvil in border; fol. 106v Entry into Jerusalem, St Dorothy with basket of flowers and palm in border; fol. 116v Last Supper, St George with red cross on shield and dragon in border; fol. 119v Christ washing St Peter’s feet, St Cecilia with palm and falcon in border; fol. 128v Agony in the Garden, St Anthony with bell and pig in border; fol. 134v Betrayal, St Mary Magdalene holding jar of ointment in border; fol. 138v Christ before Caiaphas, St Peter with tiara and keys in border; fol. 141v Flagellation, St Sebastian with bow and arrows in border; fol. 144v Christ crowned with thorns, St Wilgefortis bearded with crown and Tau-cross in border; fol. 147v Carrying of the Cross, St Andrew with saltire cross in border; fol. 150v Nailing to the Cross, St James the Great with escallop-topped staff and pilgrim’s hat in border; fol. 156v Crucifixion with Virgin, bearded St John, and angels receive blood in chalices, St Paul with book and sword in border; fol. 159v Deposition, St James the Less carrying a book in chemise binding in border; fol. 161v Entombment, St Thomas with carpenter’s square in border; fol. 169v Resurrection, St Jerome with lion in border; fol. 181v Ascension, St Francis in border; fol. 187v Pentecost, St Bartholomew with book and knife in border.

ORNAMENTATION: Gold and blue or red and blue parted initials [9 ll.] with reserved ornament, pen-flourished infill and frame in the same colours, pink side bar borders terminating in stylized foliage, and full red and blue pen-flourished borders including animals, birds, and half-length figures holding scrolls inscribed in Dutch, including St Veronica with the Vernicle (fol. 78r), lamb bleeding into chalice (fol. 117r), St Christopher (fol. 120r), St Giles (fol. 129r), St Peter holding key and a handkerchief to his eyes (fol. 142r), St James the Great with escallop-topped staff and pilgrim’s hat (fol. 145r), Dominic (fol. 148r), St John with cup (fol. 151r), Pelican in her piety (fol. 157r), Pieta (fol. 160r), at major text divisions; blue penwork initals [3 – 6 ll.] with reserved ornament and red and blue pen-flourished infill and extensions forming partial borders at lesser text divisions; alternate blue and red one-line initials in Table of Contents; alternating red and blue paragraph signs; capitals highlighted in red.


History note: Made for Beatrijs van Assendelf, a nun in The Hague, and later donated by her to the convent of regular canonesses of Ter Zijl in Haarlem which she entered in 1485 (ownership inscriptions, fols. i recto, 1v, 195v); ‘Marytghen Jans onse moeye’, prioress of the Haarlem convent who bequeathed it to her house in 1635 (ownership inscription, fol. i recto); Richard, seventh viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745 – 1816), acquired in 1813; his bequest, 1816.

Place(s) associated

  • Delft

Acquisition and important dates

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


15th Century, Mid-Late#
Circa 1470 CE - Circa 1480 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Materials used in production


Components of the work

Support composed of parchment
Text Height 171 mm Width 115 mm
Page Height 268 mm Width 190 mm

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: Soe als sinte Pauwelus
  • Location: Fol. 5r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS 25
Primary reference Number: 169653
Project ID: 49
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 5 February 2024 Last processed: Monday 5 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Life of Christ" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-23 15:50:45

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