THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY.

(France, ca. 1425). 180 x 128 mm. (7 x 5"). Single column, 18 lines in an excellent gothic book hand.

Kalends in blue with white tracery entwined with vines bearing blue and scarlet blooms on a burnished gold ground, four one-line initials in burnished gold on a blue and pink ground, saints' names in blue and red, major feasts in burnished gold, verso with panel border divided diagonally into white sections with blue and gold acanthus leaves and brushed gold sections with garlands of blue or pink flowers, PANEL BORDER ON THE RECTO SHOWING THE LABOR AND THE ZODIAC SIGN OF THE MONTH.
Upper corner missing (no loss to text or images), mild erosion of paint, margins a bit thumbed and soiled, a cluster of small black (ink?) dots affecting one word, other trivial imperfections, but still an excellent leaf, with ample margins, pleasing decoration, and bright gold.

As depicted here, the "labor" of the month consists of warming oneself by the fire. A man in a fur-trimmed red robe and a lavender hat sits before a large stone fireplace, stretching his stockinged foot toward the cheerful flames. The zodiac painting is an unusual, almost trompe-l'oeil scene of a mountain lake, with a green meadow in the foreground. On closer inspection, what first appeared to be peaks are in fact the two fish of Pisces, painted in shades of blue superimposed on an ice-blue lake between the meadow and the distant darker blue mountains. The quality of the painting is not memorable, but the work is certainly charming.
(ST12778-0510)

Keywords: Book of Hours