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Leaf From a Calendar

1510-1560 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on vellum
Brief Description
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].
Physical Description
Double-sided leaf
Dimensions
  • Framed height: 18.3cm
  • Framed width: 15.5cm
  • Frame height: 180mm
  • Frame width: 135mm
Credit line
Salting Bequest
Object history
This scene is typical of illustrations for religious calendars listing the saint's days month by month.
Historical context
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

E.4575-1910

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.'
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Associated Object
E.4576-1910 (Object)
Bibliographic Reference
100 Great Paintings in The Victoria & Albert Museum.London: V&A, 1985, p.36
Collection
Accession Number
E.4575-1910

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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