Hours of Henry VIII

Detail of Month of May: Picking Branches

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.

Also by Jean Poyer: The Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne »

Month of May: Picking Branches
Hours of Henry VIII, in Latin
Illuminated by Jean Poyer
France, Tours, ca. 1500
The Pierpont Morgan Library, Gift of the Heineman Foundation, 1977
MS H.8 (fol. 3)