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
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
June: Mowing (fol. 3v)
Summer's hard labors of the begin
in June with the mowing of the hay.
Three men rhythmically attack
the field with large scythes.
Two women rake the loose hay
into stacks. Behind them, a
wagon waits to be filled. In the
foreground at the right are the
workers' bundles of food and
casks of drink.
On the right border are Sts.
John the Baptist (feast of his
Nativity on June 24), Eligius
(June 25), a generic male saint,
and Peter and Paul (June 29).
The zodiacal sign is Cancer,