Prayerbook of Georg II of Waldburg

Prayerbook of Georg II of Waldburg Facsimile Edition

Swabia (Germany) — 1476

One of the few surviving illuminated German prayer books: the magnificent work adorned with 46 miniatures of exceptional quality for the imperial steward

  1. Georg II von Waldburg (1430-82) was a Swabian nobleman and imperial steward

  2. This splendid prayerbook was made for him and his wife Countess Anna von Kirchberg (ca. 1436-84)

  3. The comprehensive illumination of the manuscript includes images inter alia of the Arma Christi

Prayerbook of Georg II of Waldburg

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Prayerbook of Georg II of Waldburg

The Waldburg Prayerbook was created in 1476 for the Swabian nobleman Georg II von Waldburg (1430–82) and his wife Countess Anna von Kirchberg (ca. 1436–84). Like many other members of the House of Waldburg, Georg II was a Truchsess, a seneschal or steward ruling over Swabia during the absence of the Holy Roman Emperor. Two features of the German manuscript make it a rare treasure of illumination: first, it is one of the few ornately furnished prayer books written in the German language to survive today; second, is features an extremely comprehensive image program consisting of 46 exceptional miniatures; the Arma Christi is a consistent pictorial theme and the patron is also depicted several times in various states of dress, but always praying.


Alternative Titles
Gebetbuch Georgs II. von Waldburg
Size / Format
122 pages / 17.5 × 13.2 cm
Gothic Textura
46 richly adorned and partly gilded and silvered miniatures; Countless decorated initials

Available facsimile editions:
Prayerbook of Georg II of Waldburg – Cod. brev. 12 – Württembergische Landesbibliothek (Stuttgart, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Deuschle & Stemmle – Darmstadt, 1986
Limited Edition: 600 copies
Detail Picture

Prayerbook of Georg II of Waldburg

Christ’s Coat of Arms

Flanked by Jesus bearing the wounds of the Crucifixion and the Virgin Mary, the crest of this shield consists of a golden helmet with the Crown of Thorns and the anointing Hand of God. It bears the Arma Christi or Instruments of the Passion, which are presented here as heraldic devices numbering nearly 20 in all: True Cross, pillar, rooster, whip, reed, Holy Lance, Holy Sponge, dice, Veil of Veronica, Peter’s sword, hammer and nails, burial shroud and tomb, vessel of myrrh, and the heads of various figures of the Passion as well as the hand of Pontius Pilate.

Single Page

Prayerbook of Georg II of Waldburg

Patron Portrait – Intercessory Prayer

Georg II von Waldburg appears several times throughout the manuscript and can be identified by his coat of arms – three black lions on a field of gold. Always depicted kneeling in prayer and bareheaded with curly brown hair, he is sometimes fashionably dressed as a courtier in all black with red shoes, sometimes clad in a golden suit of armor with a red sword at his hip. This miniature stresses the role of the Virgin Mary in Catholic theology as intercessor on behalf of those who pray to her.

Although in an open field, Georg has had the foresight to bring his own kneeler with him as though he were in church praying before an altar. The Virgin Mary looks to her son, who in turn kneels on a cloud before God the Father appearing as a crowned king with a scepter and globus cruciger. A white dove representing the Holy Spirit is perched next to God’s ear as though it were giving counsel, and grisaille angels can be seen in the blue background of Heaven, which is separated from Earth by a rainbow.

Facsimile Editions

#1 Waldburg-Gebetbuch

Deuschle & Stemmle – Darmstadt, 1986

Publisher: Deuschle & Stemmle – Darmstadt, 1986
Limited Edition: 600 copies
Binding: Tooled leather binding
Commentary: 1 volume by Hansmartin Decker-Hauff, Wolfgang Irtenkauf and Gerhard Konzelmann
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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