THE ILLUMINATED CALENDAR.
THIS, the most richly embellished of the annual gift-books, is also a curiosity of decorative printing. The Illuminated Calendar is a fac- simile of the diary prefixed to a magnificent Prayer-book, known as " The Hours of Anne of Brittany," preserved in the Royal Library at Paris ; the exquisite miniature pictures and emblazoned borders being copied by mechanical means. The belles of the present day may thus make memoranda of visits to Almacks and the Opera, or private engage- ments, in pages such as those of ANNE of Brittany might have recorded her return to the throne of France as the wife of Louis the Twelfth.
The volume is an imperial octavo, superbly bound in white vellum, the cover resplendent with gold and colours. Each month has a diary of two pages, with small spaces for every day. All the pages are dif- ferently ornamented with some wild-flower of the season, elaborately disposed so as to form a broad border, highly coloured, and relieved by deep shadows from a gold ground. Butterflies, dragon-flies, caterpillars, and other painted insects are introduced, perched on the leaves, or crawling up the stem, enlivening the green by their bright hues. The calendar of noticeable days in the month appears as if it were placed on Atte upper part of a landscape-scene, characteristic of the season ; with
, attired in the costume of the period, pursuing their avocations.
hits, January shows the traveller, his cloak and hood powdered with snow, ascending the steps of a house, where the servants are seen in the upen arcade above carrying in faggots and diehes. to the hall: the guest apposing taller than the house, on account of the false perspective. February introduces us to the interior of a mansion, where a portly per- sonage, with a broad rubicund visage and contented aspect, sits alone at a table, with a raised pie before him, and a bowl of wine in his, hand, while a couple of serving-men are bringing in dishes of poultry. March is illustrated by an old gardener pruning trees in the garden of a castle seen in the background, and a pretty lass bearing a bundle of Toppings. April brings the lady of the castle and her maids into the garden, culling flowers and weaving garlands. A stately maypole of elaborate device, and two fair youths returning from maying, mark the merry month of May : mowing the grass, reaping the corn, storing the grain, treading the wine-press, sowing, feeding swine, and killing the hogs for Christmas, illustrate the successive months. There is so much cha- racter in the physiognomies of the persons, and the castles, farms, and landscapes in the background, that a more lively idea of the habits and condition of the people and the appearance of the country is presented in these pictures than can be obtained from reading the history of the time. The art is by no means contemptible ; it has the charm of a quaint simplicity and minute elaboration of details ; and there are indi- cations of a sense of the beautiful that throw an air of refinement over the homeliest scenes : nearly all the faces have an ingenuous and agree- able aspect. The flower-borders are designed with fanciful elegance ; a certain gothic stiffness and ornamental regularity not interfering with the natural character of the plant. The flowers are depicted with bo- tanical accuracy and in glowing colours, and the force with which they are relieved from the gold ground, as well as the art with which the colouring is harmonized and enlivened by skilful contrasts with the bright hues of the insects, evince a cultivated taste. These borders are printed in gold and colours by Mr. OWEN JONES, of Alhambra cele- brity; and they are the richest specimens of chromalithography that have yet appeared. The pictures are coloured by hand, seemingly with close attention to the character of the original miniatures. What typo- graphy has done for written works lithography is now doing for pic- tures : already the work of the ornamentist is executed by the press as effectually as the labour of the manuscript-copyist has been superseded. In the production of this splendid volume, Messrs. LONGMAN have distanced all competitors in rivalling the gorgeousness of illuminated missals.