c 1490-1510 Book of Hours Calendar Leaf for Nov & Dec


Original leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 31 & 32 lines of red ruled text, written in French in angular gothic book-hand script on animal vellum.(160 x 115mm – 6 ¼ x 4 ½’’) . 

Large illuminated “KL” initials (abbreviations for KALENDS) are in red, blue & white on gold ground. Days are in gold, and Saints’ names and Feasts in gold, red, or blue.  

Style and execution closely related to the Master of the Geneva Latini (see Walter 224 & 233 for examples). This calendar leaf is nearly identical to one in the Book of Hours, Bodleian Library MS Buchanan e3, and likely painted by the same artist.   France: Rouen, (Use of Rouen) c. 1490 – 1510

The three finely worked miniatures along the side of each month depict the labor of the month (November: thrashing for acorns - December: slaughtering a pig) & zodiacal sign, as per the 1490 - 1510 calendar (November: Sagittarius - December: Capricorn).

Among the saints listed are: St. Martin (Nov. 11th), St. Katherine  (Nov. 25th), St. Andrew  (Nov. 30th),  St. Barbara (Dec. 4th), St. Nicholas (Dec. 6th), St. Lucy  (Dec.13th),  St. John  (Dec.27th), and St. Thomas of Becket  (Dec.29th).

To the left of the list of saints’ days are repeating series of letters A - G called Dominical Letters since they help find Sundays (after many calculations). At the far left is a column of Roman numerals i - xix called Golden Numbers to indicate appearances of new moons, & counting ahead 14 days, full moons throughout the year (year + 1; divide by 19; remainder is Golden Number - if zero GN = 19). Finally: each month had 3 fixed points: Kalends (1st day) Ides (middle) & Nones (9th day before Ides). All days in between were counted backwards from these points. 

Excellent condition with bold color, narrow 15mm hole in vellum in inner margin, well away from text.  Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-11788