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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Hours of Henry VIII
France, Tours, ca. 1500
MS H.8 fol. 1r

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Month, Occupation: January -- Snow falls within courtyard with pile of logs. Man, carrying two logs, enters front hall. In the next room, woman, veiled, seated on stool, back turned, warms herself before a fireplace. Man, wearing fur-lined garments and hat, seated at table with utensils and platter, raises bowl.
Below miniature, historiated border frames calendar.
Left border:
1) Christ: Circumcision -- Within room, Virgin Mary, veiled, holds Christ Child, nude, back turned, over altar. Mohel, wearing miter, hands draped, extends arms towards Him. Joseph, only head visible, appears between them. Feast of Circumcision celebrated on January 1.
2) Evangelist John, nimbed, holds book in right hand and unidentified object in left hand. Octave celebrated January 3.
3) Magi: Adoration (extending into lower margin) -- Virgin Mary, nimbed, veiled, within stable, holds Christ Child on her lap. Before her kneels eldest magus, crown removed, extending vessel towards her. Behind him, middle-aged magus indicates the Christ Child with his left hand and turns head toward youngest magus. Both are crowned and hold vessels. Feast of Epiphany celebrated January 6.
Right margin:
1) Anthony Abbot the Great, nimbed, holding staff in right hand, rosary at waist. Feast celebrated January 17.
2) Sebastian of Rome: Torture -- Sebastian of Rome, nimbed, wearing short loincloth, bound to pole, pierced by arrows. Feast celebrated January 20.
3) Agnes of Rome, nimbed, holds open book in both hands. To her left (extending into lower border), Emerentiana of Rome, nimbed, half figure (kneeling?) raises joined hands. Emerentia's feast celebrated January 23; Agnes' feast celebrated January 28.
Lower border:
1) To left of Emerentiana is nimbed saint (see note).
2) Zodiac Sign: Aquarius -- Within roundel in center of border, nude figure pours water from vessel.

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