May To August, In A Calendar In Matthew Paris's 'Epitome Of Chronicles'
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Matthew Paris was a monk of St Albans' Abbey, from 1217 until his death in 1259, about whom we know a great deal: he was a prolific chronicler of national and local events, from which we can learn a lot about him. Manuscripts such as this, in his own handwriting, demonstrate his interest in, and aptitude for, subjects are varied as geography, heraldry, and history, as well as his considerable abilities as a draughtsman.
The last leaves of this manuscript contain a calendar, with four months per page. Each has a small sketch next to the blue or red 'KL' monogram to indicate the occupations of the month: a bird of prey for May, a sickle and wheat for July, etc. At 6 July and 12 July are recorded the deaths of two abbots of St. Albans: Ralph (1146-1151) and Simon (1167-1183).