Item #1254 The Mary Calendar. Judith Smith.
The Mary Calendar
The Mary Calendar
The Mary Calendar
The Mary Calendar
The Mary Calendar
The Mary Calendar

The Mary Calendar

Ditchling: St. Dominic's Press, 1930. Limited Edition. Original paper boards (7 1/4 inches tall) printed in green, black spine with gilt title, uncut, original black textured paper cardboard slipcase. Faint tanning to blank flyleaves, else Fine. Item #1254

"EVERY FIELD PATH AND HEDGEROW BECAME AN ILLUMINATED BOOK OF HOURS"

Limited edition of The Mary Calendar—"printed by hand at St. Dominic's Press"—and illustrated with 18 wood-engravings by Mary Dudley Short. Now scarce in the original green-stamped binding and slipcase.

Beginning with January, "there is some flower or leaf or berry in each month of the year to which was assigned some holy association or lovely legend." Divided into the 12 months of the year, The Mary Calendar describes the plants particularly associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Noting Mary Dudley Short's "debut" as an illustrator with St. Dominic's Press, Hilary Pepler once admitted in a speech that "Miss Short's cuts of flowers in The Mary Garden are, at present, hidden from our impoverished customers because the cost of the book at half a guinea is more than they can afford" (The Hand Press). "Medieval Christians, in their search for the most exact likeness of Mary, realized that of all God's creations none could excel flowers in representing the beauty of her holiness, the splendor of her heavenly glory and the immaculateness of her purity. Likewise, fragrant herbs and flowers were unsurpassed in recalling her spiritual sweetness: soothing and healing herbs, her heavenly mercy and succor; and bitter and sour herbs, her bitter sorrows" (Bonnie Roberson and John Stokes, Jr.)

This copy, number 232 of only 240 copies printed on Batchelor hand-made paper. Shortly after it was printed, the book became an inspiration for the "Mary Gardens" on both sides of the Atlantic. Mary Garden's, "the medieval practice of cultivating gardens of herbs and flowers which have Marian names. It is not known exactly where or when a Mary Garden was first planted. However, it is known that St. Fiacre (600-670), Patron Saint of Gardeners, devoted his life to tending a garden surrounding an oratory and hospice which he built and dedicated to Mary, and perhaps it was his garden which served as a model and inspiration for such gardens." The Mary Calendar is "the source of the list of plants desired for the planting by Frances Crane Lillie of Our Lady's Garden at the Angelus Tower of St. Joseph's Church in Woods Hole, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA in 1932—the mother garden of the contemporary Mary Garden restoration movement. Smith's listing is by bloom time through the year" (Bonnie Roberson and John Stokes, Jr.). The text is supplemented with a six page index. Hilary Pepler. The Hand Press, Roberson and Stokes, Jr. The Herbs and Flowers of the Virgin Mary (The Herbarist, 1982), Taylor and Sewell. Saint Dominic's Press: A Bibliography, A187.

Price: $350.00

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