Little is known of Pierre-Jacques Thiry (1769-1847), a maker of scientific instruments and native of Bergues, near the French-Flemish border, who created a folio-sized astronomical and astrological manuscript we’ve recently acquired.
Containing numerous illustrations, volvelles, charts and tables in Flemish and French, the manuscript chronicles the phases of the moon, the movement of the sun, and includes charts for calculating religious holidays and feast days.
While Thiry’s calculation of data was not in itself new, the value of the manuscript lies in the way it depicts popular iconographical representations of time from mid-19th century Flanders (the manuscript was most likely created between 1832 and 1850).
The illustrations, often an entire page or spread, depict categories of time in unusual ways. A set of illustrations depicts the hours of the day, represented by drawings of 12 boys:
…and the hours of the night, represented by 12 girls. Like the illustration of the boys, this drawing depicts women of both European and African descent:
The manuscript includes a full-page drawing of Father Time:
and an interesting depction of the four-year cycle of the Gregorian calendar:
*2011M-129. Purchased with the Degrand fund.
The A Flemish depiction of time and space by Modern Books and Manuscripts, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Terms and conditions beyond the scope of this license may be available at blogs.law.harvard.edu.