Illuminated by Jean Poyer: the personal prayer book of perhaps the most famous ruler to sit on the English throne

Hours of Henry VIII

Tours (France) — Around 1500

Hours of Henry VIII

Hours of Henry VIII

Tours (France) — Around 1500

  1. The private prayer book of King Henry VIII (1491-1547) is a gem of French Renaissance illumination by Jean Poyer (d. 1503)

  2. The manuscript's illumination is worthy of a king and was possibly commissioned by Emperor Charles V (1500-58)

  3. The masterpiece remained in the possession of the Kings of England through the reign of George III (1738-1820)

Hours of Henry VIII

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de Horas de Enrique VIII
  • Stundenbuch von Heinrich VIII.
  • Libro d'Ore di Enrico VIII
  • Les Heures d'Henri VIII
  • Livro de Horas de Henrique VIII
Hours of Henry VIII – MS H.8 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Hours of King Henry VIII was designed by the French illuminator Jean Poyer ca. 1500. It contains 55 breathtaking miniatures, which are reminiscent of large panel paintings in their quality. The work was probably gifted to the famous king by Emperor Charles V.

Hours of Henry VIII

Books of hours are private prayer and devotional books that were widely circulated from the 13th century on. The books of hours enjoyed their golden age in the late 14th and 15th centuries in France and Flanders. One of the most beautiful handwritten codices in the world arose here. Those illuminated manuscripts still amaze their beholders today. The Hours of King Henry VIII is one of the most exciting works of French book art. It was produced by Jean Poyer, who belongs among the most gifted artists of the French Renaissance. The work is adorned with 55 masterful miniatures.

A Book for the English Crown

King Henry VIII, from the House of Tudor was one of the most dazzling personalities in the history of England. The monarch was infamous for his passion and brutality. His dissolute life has been adapted in countless books, films, and television series. The king was highly educated and spoke fluent Latin and French. Early on he discussed the literature of his time. He undertook a years-long correspondence with the famous humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam. The elegant book of hours by Jean Poyer was probably presented to the king by Emperor Charles V as a gift.

A Masterly Performance from France

Jean Poyer was a versatilely gifted artist. He illuminated manuscripts, he was a painter and sculptor. In the 16th century, his work was compared with the great paintings of the Dutch master Jan van Eyck. Poyer was a master of composition and perspective. The miniatures of the book of hours for Henry VIII amaze through their realistically perspectival depictions and exciting variety of colors. The fascinating pictures teem with drama and narrative force. Each miniature of the manuscript is an autonomous, small work of art.

The History of the Codex

The breathtaking manuscript was preserved over the years and still exists today in an astonishingly good state of preservation. Sources verify that after the death of Henry, the document remained in the hands of English monarchs for many years to come. The work found itself in the library of George III at the end of the 18th century. It was furnished with a red velvet binding that showed the monogram of King Henry. Today the splendid document is found in the famous Morgan Library in New York.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de Horas de Enrique VIII
Stundenbuch von Heinrich VIII.
Libro d'Ore di Enrico VIII
Les Heures d'Henri VIII
Livro de Horas de Henrique VIII
Size / Format
400 pages / 26.5 x 18.2 cm
Date
Around 1500
Language
Illustrations
55 full-page miniatures
Artist / School
Previous Owners

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Hours of Henry VIII“

Libro de Horas de Enrique VIII
Hours of Henry VIII – MS H.8 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
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Libro de Horas de Enrique VIII

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2014
Limited Edition
987 copies
Binding
Red velvet with clasps
Commentary
1 volume by Roger S. Wieck
Language: Spanish
Price Category: €€€€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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