Calendar,  Medieval manuscripts

May from Walters W.425


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Walters W.425 fol. 5r detail of the May calendar image Ca. 1520-30 CE Brussels (?) © 2011 Walters Art Museum, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
Walters W.425 fol. 5r Calendar image for May Ca. 1520-30 CE Brussels (?) © 2011 Walters Art Museum, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

This May calendar page from the Walters Museum prayer book fragment W.425 is a very typical May image. The astrological medallion, looking a little worn but centered in the middle of the border on the right margin, shows the Gemini twins. The calendar image shows a very typical May scene of a lady on horseback, using a side saddle and  accompanied by two youths, all of them wearing aristocratic clothing. The man in the front on the left, and the lady, both bear branches of greenery, attesting to their errand to “bring in the May.”

detail of a pansy or heartsease blossom from the border of the May calendar image in Walters W.425
Walters W.425 fol. 5r detail of a Heartsease © 2011 Walters Art Museum, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

This is another border that features naturalistic flower images. The image on the top right is a Pansy, or Heartsease (Viola tricolor). While these flowers aren’t quite as realistic as those in some more famous mss., which look almost as if they were actual flowers laid on the ms. page, complete with shadows, they are realistic enough that the pansy is strikingly familiar.