Verve 7

«Historical Manuscripts of Middle Ages»
Book of Berry’s Duke. The Calendar
1940, Paris
This issue contains :
  • Reproduction in natural size, colored with gold, of the 12 images, representing the monthly labor and the castles of Berry’s Duke, made by Brothers Limbourg and Jean Colombe.
  • Text by Henri Malo

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (the Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry) is a famous medieval Book of Hours and a masterpiece in the art of book illustration. It is the work of French illustrator Jean Colombe (1490-1493) and the Limbourg brothers (Herman, Ian and Pol) from the Low Countries (nowadays Netherlands), who worked from 1404 to 1416 at the service of Duc de Berry, an avid bibliophile. The book was worked on, over a long period of time, in two main campaigns led at first by the Limbourg brothers from 1413 through 1416 and completed seventy years later by Jean Colombe. The original is now in the Musee Conde, Chantilly, France.

This manuscript contains a calendar and a series of prayers next to miniature religious illuminations with scenes from the Birth and Passion of Jesus, as well as later day miracles such as the litany of St. Gregory who cured the citizens of Rome from the plague. All the paintings are considered remarkable, however it is the miniatures in the Calendar to whom the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry owes its fame.