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    It's May

    Medieval images for May in books of hours and splatters feature Maying, the Gemini twins, bathing, and sometimes hawking.


    It's May

    • 12 Pins

    Calendar page from the month of May, with miniatures of a couple taking a bath and a bird holding a fish; from a book of hours (the 'Maastricht Hours'), the Netherlands (Liège), 1st quarter of the 14th century, Stowe MS 17, f. 7r.

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    Shaftesbury Psalter f.5 British Library Calendar page for May detail. Dated to c. 1130-40.

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    Glasgow University Library Sp Coll MS Hunter U.3.2 (229) The Hunterian Psalter. Detail of folio 3r; calendar page for May showing hawking. The hawker emerges from a castle gate with a bird of prey on his right hand. To the right of the image, his quarry, a wild duck, is shown flying towards the margin of the leaf. Dated to between 1150–1170. The calendar page for December does not mention the feast of Thomas à Becket on 29 December suggests a date before his canonisation.

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    BL Additional 18851, f. 3v: calendar page for May. Gemini twins in the upper left of as a nude man and woman embracing. Courting couples on the lower portion of the image, and a boat ride on the river.

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    BL Add. 50002, f.5 Calendar page for May. At top, Gemini; on right, Mercury with a caduceus, his car drawn by two doves; at foot, a youth on horseback, hawking Image taken from Mirandola Hours. Originally published/produced in Italy, circa 1490-1499.

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    Miniature of a gentlewoman riding pillion with a gentleman, while another woman rides, holding a hawk, with a full foliate border including a man and a woman embracing (Gemini), from the calendar page for May.  Origin: France, Central (Paris) BL Yates Thompson 3 f. 5

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    BL Yates Thompson 13 Taymouth f. 3 May

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    BL King's 9 ff. 6v-7 May calendar Calendar for May, with a border of a hunting scene with stags and dogs, a roundel of Gemini, and an upper scatter border of flowers and a bird. Origin: Netherlands, S. (Bruges)

    Image of an item from the British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts

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    May calendar image from the fifteenth Century French Hours of the Duchess of Burgundy; notice the couples dancing in the foreground.

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    Calendar page for May by Simon Bening from The Golf Book, Latin, produced in S. Netherlands (Bruges), 1520-1530, Workshop of Simon Bening. From the British Library BL_Add.24098_f.22v.jpg

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    Chaucer's Squire, from the Ellesmere Chaucer, A lovyere and a lusty bacheler; With lokkes crulle, as they were leyd in presse. Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse. Of his stature he was of evene lengthe, And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe. 85 And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Pycardie, And born hym weel, as of so litel space, In hope to stonden in his lady grace. Embrouded was he, as it were a meede, 90 Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede; Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day, He was as fressh as is the monthe of May. Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde. Wel koude he sitte on hors, and faire ryde. 95 He koude songes make, and wel endite, Juste, and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write. So hoote he lovede, that by nyghtertale He slepte namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale. Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable, 100 And carf biforn his fader at the table. With him there was his son, a young SQUIRE, 80 A lover and a lively bachelor, With locks well curled, as if they'd laid in press. Some twenty years of age he was, I guess. In stature he was of average length, Wondrously active, agile, and great of strength. 85 He'd ridden sometime with the cavalry In Flanders, in Artois, and Picardy, And conducted well within that little space In hope to win thereby his lady's grace. Embroidered he was, as if he were a meadow bright, 90 All full of fresh-cut flowers red and white. Singing he was, or whistling, all the day; He was as fresh as is the month of May. Short was his gown, with sleeves both long and wide. Well could he sit on horse, and fairly ride. 95 He could make songs and words thereto indite, Joust, and dance too, as well as sketch and write. So hot he loved that, while night told her tale, He slept no more than does a nightingale. Courteous he, and humble, willing and able, 100 And carved before his father at the table.

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    Maying from the Tres Riches Heures. Notice the emphasis on green and the greenery on hats, horses, and hair.

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