MS H.8, fols. 1v–2r

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February: Keeping Warm
March: Pruning

Hours of Henry VIII
Illuminated by Jean Poyer

France, Tours
ca. 1500
256 x 180 mm

Gift of the Heineman Foundation, 1977

MS H.8, fols. 1v–2r

February: Keeping Warm (fol. 1v)

February's labor is not much different from January's. The lord of the house, richly dressed in fur-lined garments and hat, raises the folds of his clothes, to better warm his backside. His attention has been caught by his servant, who enters with flagons of wine.

In the left border are the Virgin holding the Christ Child (for the Feast of the Purification, February 2) and Sts. Blaise (holding his attribute, an iron comb, February 3), Agatha, whose breasts are being removed (February 5), and a generic male saint. The zodiacal sign is Pisces, the Fish.

March: Pruning (fol. 2)

In the early spring month of March, work begins outdoors with the typical labor of pruning the vineyard. Workers trim the leafless vines and tie them to the grape arbor. A wood cask for drink is in the foreground.

Among the scenes depicted in the margins are, at bottom left, St. Gregory with a vision at the altar of Christ (for the Feast of St. Gregory, March 12), and the Annunciation (March 25), at bottom right. Above the seated Virgin is St. Helena, discoverer of the True Cross, whose May 22 feast has been entered here mistakenly on March 31. The zodiacal sign is Aries, the Ram.