Calendar page for July from the Bedford Hours, France (Paris), c. 1410-1430, Add MS 18850, f. 7r
Summer is in full swing in the Bedford Hours calendar pages for the month of July.
Detail of miniatures of a man scything wheat and the zodiac sign Leo, from the calendar page for July, Add MS 18850, f. 7r
At the bottom of the folio is a miniature of a man engaged in a very typical labour of the month for July, scything wheat. Although he is surrounded by a bucolic landscape including a river and a small bridge, our peasant appears less than pleased about his task. Happily, his grumpy attitude is not shared by his companion at the bottom of the page, a remarkably jolly looking lion, for the zodiac sign Leo.
Detail of a marginal roundel of Julius Caesar, from the calendar page for July, Add MS 18850, f. 7r
On the middle left of the folio is a roundel miniature of an armoured king, crowned, holding a sword and a tablet headed with the letters â€˜KLâ€™ â€“ a very simplified version of a medieval calendar. This king, the rubrics tell us, is Julius Caesar, for whom the month of July was named. The verses go on to describe how Caesar â€˜fixed and put in orderâ€™ the months of the year that were â€˜confused in the ancient calendarâ€™ and for this achievement he was eternally memorialised.
Calendar page for July, Add MS 18850, f. 7v
The saintsâ€™ days for July continue on the following folio, accompanied by two marginal roundels. The first of these, on the middle left, shows a snarling dog who appears to be biting at a bright star; this is most likely intended to represent Canis, the star that the rubrics tell us is â€˜reigningâ€™ in the month of July. At the bottom is a less pleasant scene of Julius Caesar. He is here seated on this throne, raising his arm in alarm as another man plunges a dagger in his chest. Two men close by are also pulling daggers from their sheaths in a scene that illustrates how Caesar â€˜was killed by his counsel.â€™
Detail of marginal roundels of Canis and the murder of Julius Caesar, from the calendar page for July, Add MS 18850, f. 7v
- Sarah J Biggs