Mechthild of Hessen’s Prayer Book (so-called: Prayer book of the Princess Sibylle von Kleve)


Bavarian State Library

Bavarian State Library
Munich, Germany

Lower Rhine area (Cologne?), around 1489
Parchment, illuminated by Johannes Wilberg (?)
The manuscript is characteristic for the prosperous 15th century illumination in the Lower Rhine area. It was probably produced in Cologne and presumably illuminated by Johannes Wilberg. Originally commissioned by Mechthild of Hessen, it was passed on to Sibylle von Kleve, the spouse of Frederick I of Saxony, well-known for her loving relationship with her husband.
Fol. 13v: The Annunciation. Underneath Mechthild of Hessen (recognizable by the coat of arms of Hesse and Cleve, Nidda and Mark) kneels in a small garden with a grass bench. The miniature is framed by vibrant vines of, among other plants, pea flowers and pods, strawberries, daisies and acanthus flowers. The annunciation might be attributed to Johannes Wilberg who copied an engraving of the master ES.
Fol. 14r: The initials and elaborate vine frame at the start of the text are characteristic for the book illumination in the Lower Rhine area, probably in Cologne. The text of the prayer book written in Dutch, starts with the initial H: Here du salt up doen myne lippen (Lord, open my lips). In the initial the coat of arms of Cleve can be identified. The surrounding vines contain further coats of arms referring to Mechthild: Top right Mechthild’s coat of arms (Cleve, Hesse, Mark and Ziegenhain), followed clockwise by the coats of arms of the duchy of Saxony, the earldoms of Nidda, Dietz and Katzenelnbogen.


  • Title: Mechthild of Hessen’s Prayer Book (so-called: Prayer book of the Princess Sibylle von Kleve)
  • Date Created: 1489
  • Location: Lower Rhine area (Cologne?)
  • Publisher: Bavarian State Library
  • External Link: Browse completely
  • Medium: Parchment
  • Weitere Angaben: illuminiert von Johannes Wilberg (?)
  • Signatur: Cgm 84

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