Although it looks like a dessert plate, this small object evokes the kind of collections amassed by (…)
Although it looks like a dessert plate, this small object evokes the kind of collections amassed by French courtiers. Enamels like this were made in Limoges, in south-central France, by a small group of royally licensed artisans. Enameling is the process of coating copper objects with layers of powdered glass, which, when fired, fuses into a hard and lustrous surface. This plate depicting the month of January once belonged to a set of twelve calendar plates. Since at this time there was no established practice of dining from individual plates, this set would have adorned a sideboard as part of the owner’s collection of treasures. The tradition of depicting activities associated with the different months of the year goes back to the Middle Ages. Here we see a good activity for January – that of feasting indoors, safe from the cold-indicated by a merry company headed by a king. Through the window at left, we can see ice skaters (some falling), while the zodiacal sign for Aquarius, the water carrier, appears in the sky.