(France (possibly Rouen): mid-15th century). 173 x 130 mm. (6 3/4 x 5 1/8"). Single column, 16 ruled lines, text in a gothic book hand.
Text in gold, blue, and dark pink, "KL" in blue with white tracery on a gold ground decorated with dark pink baubles and leaves and with a floral spray extension, both sides with panel border composed of densely packed acanthus, flowers, and hairline vines with gold bezants, WITH A SMALL ROUNDEL MINIATURE at the bottom depicting the labor of the month (Pruning) set on a panel of flowers, hairline vines, and gold bezants. With numbering to the left of the golden numbers and a few calendar entries in a later hand. Light soiling to vellum, a few small smudges in the borders, a little paint transfer affecting a couple lines of text and margins of the verso, but these issues all very minor, and on the whole in fine condition with a particularly well-preserved miniature with rich, uneroded paint.
With lovely panel borders and a particularly charming roundel miniature showing the labor of the month, this leaf likely comes from a high-quality manuscript made for a person of means. Though miniatures depicting the labors of the month are often illustrated with just a single person performing the task, here we are treated to two laypeople--a man and a woman--working together to prune and break ground in their field. The man appears to be carrying an axe for trimming branches, while the woman carries a long stick to loosen dirt for spring plantings. The names of several saints have been added to the calendar by a later hand, though it would appear that they were erroneously placed in March: St. Hugh belongs on 9 April, Pope Leo on 11 April, and St. Tiburtius on 14 April. While almost all of these feast days are commonly found in Books of Hours of this period, Hugh (Bishop of Rouen) is slightly unusual, suggesting that the manuscript may have been made in, or at least ended up in, Rouen. (ST17245-04)