Libro d'Ore di Enrico VIII

Libro d'Ore di Enrico VIII July. Reaping, f. 4r


July. Reaping, f. 4r

The summer harvest continues in July with the reaping of the wheat. Four men, minimally dressed to keep cool, carefully cut the stalks with sickles and lay them in neat bundles. As in the June miniature, the foreground features, almost like a still life, their containers of food and drink. The warm gold color of the wheat combined with the light, yellowed green on the hill at the right suggests the heat of the July afternoon.

The first two generic figures in the left border resemble apostles and probably illustrate the two octaves of John (July 1) and of Peter and Paul (July 6). Following them are Elizabeth, on the left in a turban, and the Virgin, in a veil (for the Feast of the Visitation, July 9). This pair is followed by two generic male saints. At the right is St. Margaret, shown emerging from the dragon (July 20, in red). She is followed by Sts. Mary Magdalene, wearing a tall turban and holding her ointment jar (July 22, in blue), Christopher, carrying Christ on his back, and James, as a pilgrim (theirs is a joint feast, July 25, in blue). The last saint is Anne, depicted instructing the Virgin (July 26, in red). In the calendar she is cited as “Anne mris” me”; this is to be expanded as “Anne matris [not martyris] Marie” (Anne, mother of Mary).

The zodiacal sign is Leo, the Lion.

Roger S. Wieck.
Curator, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
The Morgan Library & Museum

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