• TrG-95

Daily Routines

artist unknown 1800-1850

This is a picture magazine or some kind of calendar that depicts people doing farm work in the late 19 th century. The illustrations are drawn on paper and then painted. In total there are 48 illustrations, four for each month. The working year is depicted from January to December and starts with the wool work but ends with a cow being led to what is most likely a bull. The calendar's artist is unknown but the National Museum has a few shreds of similar illustrations and they are clearly made by the same person.


It is particularly interesting how many details are included in the illustrations and how well the artist knows the rural lifestyle. The illustrations depict equipment and household items in details as well as people at work, including wool work, milking, coal work, herb picking, haying, herding, butchering, peat mining, seal hunting, corn grinding and forging. It comes as a surprise to see naked men swimming and people skiing and skating as these sports were quite rare until the 20 th century. One of the December illustrations depicts ptarmigan hunting with snares where two men stand with a long string between them with three loops on it. They don't use a bird pole as was commonly used so this is considered a noteworthy documentation of this method. An illustration for October is quite enigmatic in which two men seem to be holding a bull but it likely depicts a butchering using a so-called svæfingarjárn (butcher's rod) that was jabbed into the animal's head by the atlas. Illustrations in May of taðkvísl and klára, tools used to crumble manure before spreading it on grass as a fertilizer, are also very interesting. The calendar is an entertaining documentation of this old rural society and somewhat akin to old Nordic calendars.



Þjms TrG-95

The National Museum of Iceland