Fol. 10v

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Jean Poyer

Matthew's Lesson: Matthew Writing
Border: Magi Meeting at the Crossroads

Hours of Henry VIII, in Latin
Illuminated by Jean Poyer

France, Tours
ca. 1500
256 x 180 mm

The Dannie and Hettie Heineman Collection; deposited in 1962, given in 1977

MS H.8 (fol. 10v)
Item description: 

Illuminated around 1500 by the artist Jean Poyer, The Hours of Henry VIII receives its name from the possible but unproven eighteenth-century tradition that holds King Henry of England once owned this splendid manuscript. By following the simple instructions, you can explore every painting of this Renaissance masterpiece and learn how Books of Hours helped their readers to pray.

Books of Hours contain more or less standard texts—Calendar, Gospel Lessons, Hours of the Virgin, Hours of the Cross, Hours of the Holy Spirit, Penitential Psalms with Litany, Office of the Dead, and Suffrages—as well as a number of common accessory prayers. Based on the frequency and variety of added devotions, it appears that scribes included these for owners who wished to personalize their prayer books.

Page description: 

Matthew's Lesson: Matthew Writing
Border: Magi Meeting at the Crossroads (fol. 10v)

As the angel, Matthew's symbol, attends bearing a book, the evangelist sits at his desk writing the text for his Gospel Lesson, which Poyer brought to life with his border illlustration.

In the border the Three Kings, accompanied by their entourages, meet at the crossroads en route to where the star leads them. The text begins, Cum natus esset Ihesus in Bethleem Iude in diebus Herodis Regis, ecce Magi ab Oriente venerunt Ierosolimam (When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, Magi came from the East to Jerusalem).