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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Hours of Henry VIII
France, Tours, ca. 1500
MS H.8 fol. 6v

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Month, Occupation: December -- Within courtyard of barn, man, wearing bloodied apron, stands beside table with cleaver and sharpens knife. Beside him are several deceased pigs covered with flaming branches. Woman collects blood from pigs in large pan.
Below miniature, historiated border frames calendar.
Left border:
1) Joachim and Anna: at Golden Gate -- Joachim and Anna, nimbed, embrace before Golden Gate. Feast of the Conception of the Virgin celebrated December 8.
2) Barbara of Nicomedia, nimbed, holds tower in right hand. Feast celebrated December 4.
Right border:
1) Apostle Thomas, nimbed, holds T-square in right hand. Feast celebrated December 21.
2) Christ: Nativity -- Within stable, Virgin Mary and Joseph, both nimbed, kneel before wattled manger in which is Christ Child, rays as nimbus. Feast of the Nativity celebrated December 25.
3) Stephen Protomartyr, nimbed, stone on head, holds open book in both hands. Feast celebrated December 26.
Lower border:
1) Nicholas of Myra: Three Youths rescued from Barrel -- Nicholas of Myra, nimbed, wearing bishop's miter and vestments, half-figure, holds crozier in left hand and raises right hand in blessing before three youths, nude, half-figures, within barrel. Two youths join hands; third youth crosses arms at breast.
2) Zodiac Sign: Capricornus -- Goat with serpent's tail within roundel.
3) Group of youths, half-figure, representing Holy Innocents, including two with hands joined. Feast celebrated December 28.
4) Evangelist John, nimbed, half-figure, raises right hand in blessing and holds cup, out of which snakes emerge, in right hand. Feast celebrated December 27.

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