In the early 15th century the Duke of Berry had the famous Limburg brothers (Dutch, of course, yay!) make him a Book of hours and this book is one of my favourite bits of Medieval work, so, a thread on it shall follow now, sit own, pour a cup of tea, put another log on the fire; Image
First who is who.
The Duke of Berry was a French prince, one of John the Good's sons, he loved art and borrowed money to spend on among other things, books and apparently, fancy hats.
His art collection put him heavily in debt.
The book was made for him. Image
The Limburg brothers were Herman, Paul and Johan from the city of Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
They were quite well known for their work illustrating manuscripts, they got to work for the Duke of Berry and became quite close, even friends. Image
So, the brothers were asked to make him a book of hours, which is a book full of prayers to be said at certain hours.
It turned out to be an amazing book, best quality parchment, lots of illustrations, rare pigments, gold. etc.
It would have cost a fortune. Image
The book is full of amazing art but I want to share the calendar ones with you because they're some of my favourite Medieval illustrations ever, there's just so much to see and it has little details that make Medieval life a bit more familiar to us.
January!
We see the duke with his fancy hat, the text says; approach approach.
Relatives & important people visit him while servants prepare a meal, it's a new years day celebration.
The picture shows off his wealth, the battle scene is a huge tapestry!
Let's look at details next Image
A bollock dagger, we've talked about that before....


Servant with very swanky hose walking on a matted rush floor.

Fido gets a taste.

Cats (?) on the table! ImageImageImageImage
This is a fire screen protects people from the heat.
Doesn't seem very safe though.
I've added another picture of such a screen from another book of hours, it also shows those rather nice floor mats.
When you read about rushes on floors, did you think they were nicely woven? ImageImage
February, remember when we still had proper winters in Europe?
We're allowed a wonderful view of a commoners house, a farmers family in front of the fire, a side of the wall is removed so we can look inside.
You can feel the cold! Image
Lumberjack has his tunic stuck in his belt, so it won't get in the way, we can see his underpants!

The poles on the wall were used to hang clothes on.

The family is sitting by the fire, warming up and... oh my god... no, look away, don't look at that picture!

Quickly move on. ImageImageImage
March

Time to prepare the land, lots of work to be done.
The farmer is wearing his work clothes, it has been repaired several times and is in a rather bad condition.
Dark clouds are coming, a shepherd and his flock and dog are rushing home. ImageImageImage
April

Spring arrives, a couple are exchanging rings, they're very wealthy.
Look at the clothes and those hats!
One thing that was better then than it is now; HATS.

Ladies are plucking grass and behind them we see a pleasure garden.

Only sign of commoners; fishers with a net. ImageImageImage
May

The rich are having a parade to celebrate the "joli mois de Mai", the nice month of May.
That's why they're all wearing something green, clothes or leaves in their hair or around the neck.
And there are trumpeters letting everybody know!

They don't seem very joli. ImageImageImageImage
June

Workers in the fields, hoses removed, tunics stuck in belts, more underpants!

But we also see women working, everybody helped.

Hang on... what's happening there in the back?
Is that a woman in a boat dropping off a mysterious man in red at a town gate? ImageImageImageImage
July

More work on the land, I've cut my finger on a scythe, they're bloody dangerous, imagine using one in a time before antibiotics...

The sheep are being sheared.
The man's clothing has seen better times, a woman helps.

Some medieval wool scissors from a museum in Russia. ImageImageImageImage
August

For the wealthy the time to go out hunting, especially with hawks and dogs like here.

The farmers are still harvesting, collecting the hay from the fields and... hang on.
OI, you lot, stop it, get out, everybody knows Medieval people never bathed and washed! ;) ImageImageImage
September

More harvesting, this time grapes!

Again the women work as well, I've worked with a medieval headscarf, I recognise this gesture, they need adjusting!
Is she pregnant?

Oi, stop eating the grapes!

Thank god they had underpants in the middle ages. ImageImageImageImage
October

Sowing time.

The farmer looks very unhappy and his hose need repairing.

Loving the scarecrow with the bow, as if birds know bows are dangerous.
Mind you this chap could be nightmare fodder...

Oi you by the water, stop it, Medieval people never washed clothes! ;) ImageImageImageImage
November

The pig herder, pigs didn't wander the streets of cities much, they lived in the nearby woods or by farms, at worst in someone's yard.
Here the men responsible for the (lords?) pigs are throwing sticks in the trees so acorns fall for feeding.

The pigs look so happy! ImageImageImage
December

Hunting time, not as pleasure for the nobles but to feed them during the winter.
They caught a boar, a big meal for cold evenings or perhaps for the coming January feasting.

One of the men has to stop the dogs from tearing the beast apart.
What a nasty job. ImageImage
And so the year has ended and sadly so did the story of our main characters.
Both the Limburg brothers and their employer all died in 1416, perhaps of a plague.
They never saw the work finished as other artists had to do the last work on it.

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