Giovan Pietro Birago (c.1450-1513 ) was born in Milan. In 1490 he entered the service of the leading Venetian family, the Sforza. While illustrating a Book of Hours for the Sforza, his work was stolen. October is only one of three leaves which survived the theft. In 2004 the British Library acquired October for £191,000 adding it to their collection of illuminated miniatures by Birago.
October, a calendar leaf from the Sfzora Book of Hours dating from circa 1490, is a work of tempera and gold on parchment measuring 11 x 9 centimetres. In the medieval tradition of portraying the labours associated with each month it depicts peasants making wine in the background. Its foreground is dominated by horse-riding nobility engaged in hunting, accompanied by their servants, hounds and falcons.