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Pastime with good Companye - The 'Golf Book'

The 'Golf Book' was illustrated by the Flemish artist Simon Bening, "the leading master of illumination in the 16th century".

In this book of hours, we get a glance at intimate scenes of courtiers and their use of music for recreation. 'Pastime with good companye', that famous song by Henry VIII, seems to be an adequate title to frame these scenes. Men and women enjoying a good time, accompanying a delightful afternoon in the river with the plucked harmonies of the lute and the popular melodies serenaded by a recorder.

A particularly masterful depiction is that of a banquet (a rare occurrence in books of hours?), which shows us a couple about to start a dance to the beat of the drum and the dance tunes played by a traverso.

The song continues: '...For my pastance, hunt, syng and daunce, my heart is sett, all goodly sport: for my comfort, who shall me let?'

BL Add. MS 24098, Golf Book, Book of hours Use of Rome, England, ca. 1540

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