Livro de Horas de Henrique VIII

Livro de Horas de Henrique VIII April. Picking Flowers and Making Wreaths, f. 2v


April. Picking Flowers and Making Wreaths, f. 2v

In April, the landscape is green and the garden filled with flowers. The month’s activity is not laborious, but one for the leisure class. A youth, his hands filled with freshly picked spring blossoms, waits while his lady friend weaves them into a garland. Both lovers are fashionably dressed. He wears a frock similar to the servant in the February miniature. Here, however, the frock and its pleated skirt are woven from a rich gold fabric. His red hose match his carmignolle. Her neckline is squared, the typical shape for women’s décolletage in early Renaissance France.

Poyer organizes parts of his garden into rectangular plots intersected by paths, as seen at the right and left sides of the miniature. The cultivated plots are protected by lattice fences placed parallel or perpendicular to the picture plane; the latter form orthogonals. Poyer constructs a similar garden, with rectangular plots, paths, and lattice fences, in the background of the miniature of the Resurrection in his Lallemant Missal.

In the left border of the calendar is St. Ambrose (April 4, in blue) followed by four generic male saints who probably represent the four male saints listed, after Ambrose, in the first half of the month: Vincent Ferrer (April 5), Timothy (April 7), Macarius (April 8), and Tiburtius (April 14). The last saint in the column, the virgin Eulalia, is not illustrated. At the right appear Sts. George, shown slaying the dragon (April 23, in red), Mark the Evangelist (April 25, in blue), Eutropius, shown with the ax that sliced through his head (April 30, in red), and Peter Martyr, stabbed in the chest with a dagger, his attribute (April 29).

The zodiacal sign is Taurus, the Bull.

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

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