The Duc de Berry’s New Year wishes (and mine too…)

I could think of no better way to convey my new year wishes than to post another of the extraordinary miniatures of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, the prayer book of this most worldly of medieval princes, Jean de France.

Here we see the Duc himself, ever the bon vivant, receiving his courtiers’ wishes for the new year. He is seated under a canopy bearing his arms, the fleurs de lys of France mingled with his own swans and bears. Before him is spread a plentiful table, upon which his little dogs have unceremoniously jumped, next to a gold salt cellar shaped like a ship. A round wicker screen protects him from the ardors of the blazing fire in the hearth, for he must be warm enough: he wears a fur-lined, gold embroidered blue gown and a fur hat adorned with an enormous diamond. The battle scene in the background is part of a tapestry hanging above the fireplace, and the floor covered with wall-to-wall matted rushes.

Happy new year to all!

Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry January

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