The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry Fol. 4v - April


Fol. 4v - April

Limbourg brothers

The chariot of the Sun passes from Aries to Taurus. Before the castle of Dourdan, belonging to the Duke of Berry, we see fishers in a boat who have cast a net into a pool of the Orge, closed in by a lock. In the foreground, with the forest of Dourdan nearby, on open fields near a walled orchard with espaliers, a great gentleman and a noblewoman exchange engagement rings. We note that the man's red chaperon headgear has been laced up. The lady wears a fur hat with three feathers. We note, also, the golden neck ornament with two pendants and the long string of coral beads (also featuring in the May scene). The other two persons in attendance both wear a bezant on black (on a dress on a tall hat). The bezants are to be seen on the lady's headdress. Perhaps the scene represents John I of Bourbon and Mary of Berry, the Duke's daughter whom John I married in 1400. Other candidates are Bernard of Armagnac and Bonne of Berry, the other daughter of the Duke, who married in 1393. It is thought that the betrothed themselves are Charles of Orleans and Bonne of Armagnac, the duke's grand-daughter and daughter of the couple mentioned above, who married in 1410. Alternatively, if the image goes further back in time, the couple may be Mary of Berry and John. The personages are accompanied by a squire wearing red and black livery with, in his hand, a mace reinforced with iron. Since the figure is small and, furthermore, bare-headed, he is probably of low extraction. Two elegant young ladies, perhaps other members of the Duke's family, are gathering up baldes of grass. One wears a pink houppelande (outer garment) lined with grey fur. She also wears a headband (it, too, made up of bezants); her hair is not bunned (indicating her youth). The other girl wears a black garment bordered with white over a sky blue garment, and topknot-style headdress adorned with a bezant.

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