Saturday, February 05, 2011
February Filldyke is certainly living up to its reputation this afternoon and looks as though it is going to try even harder over the next couple of days! Still the old saying is
'If February brings no rain
Tis neither good for grass nor grain'.
The painting above is called February Filldyke and is by an artist called Benjamin William Leader (1831-1923). It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1881 to what was,I gather,a less than enthusiastic reception! Personally I like it a lot, it's very atmospheric.
I love this illustration from the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. The Tres Riches Heures is a beautiful medieval Book of Hours part of which is a calendar illustrated with scenes of daily life in the village. In February we see people warming themselves by the fire in the farmhouse, a man chopping wood and another man driving a heavily laden donkey towards the village. The detail is exquisite and the more you look the more you see. Surmounting each monthly picture is a hemisphere containing the chariot of the sun and the appropriate sign of the Zodiac - for February these are Aquarius the Water Carrier and Pisces the Fishes. It really is worth enlarging this and looking at it more closely.
I don't think February is very high on anyone's list of favourite months but it does have some good things to offer, this morning on a wet walk in Eccleshall Woods I saw that the first of the herons is back and inspecting the nesting site, the pussywillow is appearing, the tight little hazel catkins are turning into fluffy lamb's tails and the small, heart-shaped green leaves of the lesser celandine are pushing up through the earth - Spring really is just around the corner.