THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Medieval manuscripts blog

01 August 2015

A Calendar Page for August 2015

To find out more about the London Rothschild Hours, take a look at our post A Calendar Page for January 2015

Add_ms_35313_f005r
Calendar page for August, with decorative border comprising a Zodiac sign, roundels, and bas-de-page scene, from the London Rothschild Hours, Southern Netherlands (?Ghent), c. 1500,
Add MS 35313, f. 5r 

It’s harvest time on this month’s calendar page: two male peasants are reaping fully-grown wheat with sickles, while a female peasant is binding it together in sheaves. A cart drawn by two horses is passing by in the background. August’s religious festivals are gruesomely illustrated in a series of roundels to the right: in the second, fourth and fifth roundels, we see St Laurence being roasted alive (note the figure to the right, fanning the flames with a pair of bellows), St Bartholomew being flayed alive, and St John the Baptist about to be beheaded (with a female attendant waiting nearby with a platter).  For more on the depiction of these saints’ martyrdom, check out our earlier blog posts: Happy St Laurence’s Day, St Bartholomew and Bookbindings, and Don’t Lose Your Head. Other feast days illustrated this month are St Peter in Chains (celebrating his liberation from captivity by an angel) and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Zodiac symbol for this month – Virgo the Virgin – is at the top of the page. 

Add_ms_35313_f005r_labour
Detail of peasants reaping and binding wheat,
Add MS 35313, f. 5r 

Add_ms_35313_f005r_roundels
Detail of roundels depicting St Peter in Chains (above) and the Martyrdom of St Laurence (below),
Add MS 35313, f. 5r 

- James Freeman

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