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Leaf from a calendar
  • Leaf from a calendar
    Bening, Simon, born 1483 - died 1561
  • Enlarge image

Leaf from a calendar

  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (probably, painted)
    Belgium (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1510-1560 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bening, Simon, born 1483 - died 1561 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on vellum

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This double-sided leaf, possibly from the calendar of a book of hours, seems to illustrate on one side the month of April and on the other side the month of May. April shows lovers making music by a canal while in the fields beyond a cow is milked, the sheep are taken out to graze and on a chimney pot a stork makes itís nest. May shows a scene of May Day merrymaking; a boat trip with musicians, a floral procession and dancing in the square.

Simon Bening was one of the most celebrated illuminators of his time. He worked mainly in Bruges. His work often comes close to contemporary panel painting, particularly in full-page miniatures, such as these, where the image is surrounded by a simple border similar to a picture frame.

In the late medieval period Books of Hours were a type of prayerbook for private use by the laity, containing psalms and devotions for the eight canonical hours of the day. They were typically small and portable. Simon Bening’s workshop made many Books of Hours, often containing calendar illustrations.

Physical description

Double-sided leaf

Place of Origin

Flanders (probably, painted)
Belgium (possibly, made)


1510-1560 (painted)


Bening, Simon, born 1483 - died 1561 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on vellum


Height: 18.3 cm framed, Width: 15.5 cm framed, Height: 180 mm Frame, Width: 135 mm Frame

Object history note

This scene is typical of illustrations for religious calendars listing the saint's days month by month.

Historical context note

Data taken from notes compiled by Rowan Watson. The full text of the entry is as follows:

(following text refers to E. 4575-1910 & 4576-1910)

Cat.no 106: Two leaves with full-page calendar illustrations painted by Simon Bening; Netherlands (Bruges?) early 16th century (E.4575-1910 & 4576-1910)

Individual item text

Cat. no. 106.1
CALENDAR - illustrations for April and May
Leaf, with illustrations for months for April and May on each side, presumed to from a calendar attributed to Simon Bening . Other leaves are V&A PDP E. 4576-1910 and BL, Add.MS 18855, fols 108-109.

NL (South) . c. 1540
150 x 100 mm.

Owned by H. Magniac & W. Maskell in 1862; Locker-Lampson Coll.; acquires with the George Slating Bequest in 1910 (no 2538)
Pub: `Catalogue of the Special Exhibition ' (1862), no. 6,836;
1923 cat, 30-31; Kren, 1983, pp. 79 et seq.'

Descriptive line

Double sided leaf, possibly from a Book of Hours. One side shows the Month of May - with a boating party in the foreground.The other side shows the Month of April (not August as stated in the Summary Catalogue (1981) - with courting couples in a meadow. Simon Benninck [Bening].

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum.London: V&A, 1985, p.36


Water-colour; Vellum

Subjects depicted

Architecture; Festivals; Landscape; Clothing; Bridges (built works)




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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