(France (probably Paris): ca. 1480). 182 x 127 mm. (7 1/4 x 5"). Single column, 18 lines, text in a gothic book hand.

Text in blue, pink, and gold, five one-line initials in gold on pink and blue ground, two-line "KL in blue with white tracery on a gold ground and decorated with pink and blue ivy, recto with A PANEL BORDER COMPOSED OF TWO MINIATURES depicting the Labor of the Month (Sowing) and the Zodiac sign (a scorpion for Scorpio), verso with a panel border decorated with acanthus and flowers on alternating patches of bare vellum and shell gold ground. ◆Vellum lightly soiled in places, a handful of small marginal spots, but IN FINE CONDITION, the miniatures especially well preserved and the gold sparkling.

This is a lovely example of an illustrated calendar leaf from a high-quality manuscript, with good-sized and appealing miniatures showing the labor of the month and the zodiac sign for October in the outer margin. 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 miniature is a scorpion in a pleasant outdoor setting; the top miniature, showing the typical labor of "Sowing," depicts a young layman at work sprinkling seeds--appearing here as tiny dots of gold--into a freshly plowed field (the alternating rows of light and dark showing the artist's excellent sense of perspective as they recede into the distance). We have three other sister leaves from the same calendar, and it is interesting to note that the same young man seems to be pictured toiling away in each labor of the month; although his clothing changes from season to season, his features and distinctive hat never change.

Price: $3,500.00