c 1460 Book of Hours Calendar Leaf for April


A single leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours. 16 lines of red ruled French text, in blue, red or gold ink on animal vellum. (160x120mm)

Large ''KL'' initials (for KALENDS) are in blue on a gold & floral ground. Panel borders around the miniatures contain floral, ivy & acanthus leaves in gold, red, blue, green & pink.

Northern France: probably Paris, c. 1460.

The miniatures show the labor of the month (going fishing) & verso, the zodiacal sign (per the 1460 calendar) of Taurus. Feasts alternate red & blue with the important days in burnished gold. Among the feast days listed are: St. Ambrose (4th – patron saint of bee keepers), St. Hugh (9th),  St.  Victor (20th), St. George (23rd – patron saint of England & soldiers), & St. Mark (25th).

The miniatures are surrounded by a border having a highly decorative floral design with berries and acanthus leaves in blue, red, green & brushed gold. Lavish use of gold is evident, particularly in the shading of the clothed figures. This illumination was executed by a skilled artist working in the style of the Maitre Francois

Left of the list of saints’ days are the letters A - G called Dominical Letters since they help find Sundays. Far left are 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). Days in between were counted backwards from these points.

Presented in an archival 14x11'' mat.

  • Inventory# IM-2939