A calendar page for June 2017
Happy June, medieval enthusiasts! We’re back with the calendar pages for June from the wonderful Additional MS 36684. For more information on the manuscript, take a peek at January’s post, and for an excellent general guide to medieval calendars, please see our original calendar post from 2011.
Calendar pages for June, from a Book of Hours, St Omer or Théouranne, c. 1320, Add MS 36684, ff. 6v–7r
The true stars of June’s calendar pages are — as usual with this unique manuscript — the marginal figures. Here are a few of our favourites, zoomed in so you can see them in better detail:
June’s labour of the month is a peasant at the harvest, carrying a bundle on his back, perhaps entertained by the music played by the drummer in the margin next to him.
The zodiac symbol for June is Cancer, traditionally represented as a crab. The fellow in the niche on folio 7r is not a typical crab, but rather — in the vein of the marginal figures on the preceding folio — a hybrid creature, with 6 splayed legs, a tail and a distinctly mammalian head. It is possible the artist had never seen a crab before; or he could have been following an artistic tradition. The typical medieval version of a crab usually looked either like a lobster — as you can see in last year’s Bedford Hours June calendar page — or like our friend here in Additional 36684. For another such example, see, for instance, the crab in Egerton MS 3088, made in southern England c. 1244.
Don’t forget that you can digitally view every page of Additional MS 36684 online on Digitised Manuscripts. Happy harvesting!