THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Medieval manuscripts blog

01 September 2015

A Calendar Page for September 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_f005v
Calendar page for September, 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. 5v 

A distinctly autumnal feel is creeping into the bas-de-page scene of September’s calendar page. Against a grey backdrop, with trees that are beginning to look a little bare, two peasants are ploughing and resowing a field in preparation for next year. There is a look of concentration on the ploughman’s face as he steers two rather sprightly horses and attempts to cut a straight furrow in the soil. Just above his head is a roundel depicting the Archangel Michael, equipped with sword, shield and crossed spear, vanquishing Satan and his demons. The other roundels on this page show St Giles (accompanied by his emblem, a deer), the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Martyrdom of St Matthew the Apostle. The artist has mixed up this and October’s Zodiac symbols, erroneously inserting Scorpio here and Libra on the next page. 

Add_ms_35313_f005v_labour
Detail of a bas-de-page scene of peasants ploughing and sowing a field, with a roundel depicting Archangel Michael,
Add MS 35313, f. 5v 

Add_ms_35313_f005v_giles
Detail of a roundel depicting St Giles,
Add MS 35313, f. 5v 

- James Freeman

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