MS H.8, fols. 4v–5r

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August: Threshing
September: Treading Grapes

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. 4v–5r

August: Threshing (fol. 4v)

The wheat harvest continues in August as the cut stalks are brought in oxcarts to the barn, where three men beat them with jointed flails.

Threshing with flails loosens the kernels of wheat from their stalks so that they can then be winnowed and thus separated from the chaff.

Starting at the top left margin is St. Peter (for the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, August 1), St. Stephen, with a rock on his head (for the feast of the discovery of his relics, August 3), and the Assumption of the Virgin (August 15).

At right are Sts. Louis of Toulouse (August 19) or possibly Bernard of Clairvaux (August 20), Bartholomew the Apostle, holding his butcher's knife (August 24), and King Louis IX of France (August 25).

The two women without attributes probably represent female saints in a general way, since there is only one female saint, Clare (August 12), listed in the month other than the Virgin. The zodiacal sign is Virgo, the Virgin (holding a palm of martyrdom).

September: Treading Grapes (fol. 5)

The task for September is wine making, an activity that requires a division of labor between men and women.

In the fields in the background, seated women pick the grapes, while a man stands, awaiting a full basket to bring to the winepress.

Inside the barn men dump their baskets into large winepresses where the fruit is trampled. Crushed, the grapes are then transferred to a large vat from which, at the bottom, the liquid can be extracted for storing and aging in the nearby barrels.

In the left margin are Sts. Giles, petting a deer (September 1), Anne, shown holding the Virgin (for the Feast of the Birth of the Virgin, September 8), the True Cross (for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, September 14), Matthew the Apostle (September 21), and possibly St. Euphemia (September 16). The zodiacal sign is Libra, the Scales.