MS H.8, fols. 2v–3r

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April: Picking Flowers and Making Wreaths
May: Picking Branches

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. 2v–3r

April: Picking Flowers and Making Wreaths (fol. 2v)

With April, the landscape becomes green and alive, and the month's activity is not laborious, but one for the leisure class. A foppishly dressed youth, his hands filled with freshly picked spring flowers, waits while his lady friend weaves the blossoms into a garland.

At the top of the right border is a depiction of St. George slaying the dragon (April 23). To the right of the zodiacal sign Taurus, the Bull, are Peter the Martyr, stabbed in the chest with a dagger, his attribute (April 29), and St. Eutropius, depicted with the ax with which he was struck in the head and killed (April 30).

May: Picking Branches (fol. 3)

Another leisurely couple partakes of May's pleasure, the gathering, on the first of the month, of flowering or leafing branches.

While one dog slowly leads the couple along a dirt path marked by branches tied across tree boughs, a second dog runs deeper into the woods on an uncharted track.

The rich border illustrations on the left side of May's calendar include images of Sts. Philip and James (May 1) and the True Cross (for the Feast of the Finding of the True Cross, May 3).

The zodiacal sign for Gemini portrays the Twins in naked embrace, possibly a visual reference to the couple depicted on the top half of the page.