c 1470 Book of Hours Calendar Leaf for March


Original leaf from a medieval manuscript Book of Hours. 16 & 18 lines of ruled text, written in French with dark brown, red gold & blue ink in lettre batarde script on animal vellum. (122x93mm). Minor rippling to vellum, small hole in lower panel border.

Large illuminated ''KL'' initials (for KALENDS) & four one-line illuminated initials are gold, on rust ground. The panel border contains an intricate floral motif with acanthus leaves, berries & vines. (For sister leaf see Blackburn Collection, Cleveland Museum of Art, pl. 52).

France (possibly Loire Valley), c. 1470.

Illuminated roundels show the labor of the month (Pruning Branches) &, verso, zodiacal sign (as per the 1460 calendar) of Aries. Painted by an illuminator influenced by Maître François.

Among the saints listed are: St. Adrian (4th), St. Alexander (10th ), St. Gregory (12th – patron saint of musicians), St. Patrick (17th – patron saint of Ireland) and St. Theodore (23rd ).

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.

Presented in an archival 14x11'' mat.

  • Inventory# IM-3500