(France (probably Rouen): second half of 15th century). 162 x 117 mm. (6 3/8 x 4 5/8"). Single column, 17 ruled lines, text in a bâtarde hand.
Text in gold, blue, and red, "KL" in scrolling white letters on a gold ground with small blue and red blossoms, both sides with panel border of acanthus, flowers, small ink dots, and gold bezants, WITH TWO SMALL MINIATURES showing the labor of the month (Threshing) on recto, and the zodiac sign (Virgo) on verso. Small wrinkle in lower margin just touching the lower edge of the miniatures, trivial smudging, but IN VERY FINE CONDITION, the vellum especially clean and bright, the paint quite rich, and the miniatures extremely well preserved.
With clean, white vellum, small but appealing miniatures, and attractive lettering and decoration, this is a desirable example of a calendar leaf from a high-quality Book of Hours likely made in Rouen. According to Roger Wieck, far fewer than half the Books of Hours of the period contain illustrated calendars, "even in manuscripts with otherwise lavish cycles of miniatures"; when they do appear, they are invariably charming, as is the case here. In the lower margin of the recto is a small miniature depicting the typical labor for August, "Threshing," in which a young layman brings down his grain flail (two hinged pieces of wood, the longer one called a helve, and the other a beater, joined by a thong) in an effort to separate the grain, while neatly stacked unprocessed clumps of straw appear just behind it. On the verso we see a representation of Virgo as a young woman holding, appropriately, a long sheaf of grain in her hand. While most of the feast days that appear in the calendar are typical for the period, the inclusion of St. Sauveur (i.e. Transfiguratio Domini) on 6 August is characteristic of a calendar for the use of Rouen, suggesting that the parent manuscript may have been produced in that place or the region around it. (ST17245-02)