(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, four 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 (Pruning) and the zodiac sign (a Ram for Aries), verso with a panel border decorated with acanthus and flowers on alternating patches of bare vellum and shell gold ground. Vellum a bit soiled in places, a couple small marginal wormholes, trivial paint transfer from opposing pages, light rubbing on ram's legs, but none of these issues severe, and on the whole a very attractive leaf, well preserved and with sparkling gold.

This is an attractive 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 March 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 large, white ram, representing Aries; the top miniature, showing the typical labor of "Pruning" depicts a young layman at work in a field of spikey bushes, wielding a small, scythe-like tool in his hand as he trims away one of the longer branches. 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: $3,200.00