Saturday, 31 August 2013

September Très Riches Heures

The month of September is considered to be the most famous of the calendar images. The grapes are being harvested by the peasants and carried into the beautifully detailed Château de Saumur, which remarkably looks almost the same today. One of the peasant men is busy eating some grapes and licking the juice from his fingers. The peasant lady standing beside him looks pregnant but I think it may be because she has bundled her dress up under her apron. The Limbourg brothers, who painted the manuscripts, show their sense of humour with an amusing rear view of a peasant. In the blue tympanum are the star signs for Virgo and the scales for Libra. The chariot of the sun forever making it's yearly cycle through the heavens in the centre.
Château de Saumur is located in the town of Saumur, in the Maine-et-Loire.  It was originally constructed in the 10th century by Theobald l, Count of Blois, as a fortified stronghold against the Norman plunderers. It overlooks the confluence of the Loire and the Thouet. In 1026 it came into the hands of Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, who bequeathed it to his Plantagenet heirs. Following its destruction in 1067 the castle was rebuilt during the last quarter of the 12th century by Henry ll of England. The September Très Riches Heures shows the Château as it looked in 1412 when the Limbourg brothers painted the manuscript for their patron, the Duc de Berry.
via
Month of October can be found here.

51 comments:

  1. Great! Very, very interesting. It's amazing how the castle has been maintained. Great post

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    1. Thank you Marina - I have now completed 6 of the calendar months.

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  2. That's a beautiful castle. My husband is a fussy Virgo ! :)

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    1. I extend my sympathy to you - I am a Virgo too!!!

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  3. It is true, the chateau does look the same today, just a little more romanticised in the manuscript, and of course, it has that wonderful blue painted sky, which the Limbourg brothers perfected! I love these posts..

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    1. Thanks Patricia - I am half way through now, so from now on it is all down hill.

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  4. I laughed when I read your remark about the peasant. I didn't notice him at first!

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    1. Sadly the very fine details within the manuscripts cannot be seen too well on the computer, but I have tried to point out some of them each month that can be seen if carefully observed.

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  5. September is also my favorite, and I like also the name September.
    The plants give the last flowers, and in the house we have the candle's and plaids.
    Nice photo's.

    Have a nice weekend Rosemary,
    inge, my choice

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    1. Dear Inge - I began showing the calendar manuscripts in April so I am now half way through them. It is interesting the way the seasons dictate a structure to our lives - then, and today too.

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  6. What an impressive castle it is Rosemary. I enjoyed hearing more about it. I don't think I have been there, although it looks familiar....

    Have a good Sunday!

    Madelief x

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    1. It is wonderful to see how little it has actually changed over the last 600 years.

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  7. I would like to visit the castles of the Loire once.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. The Loire Valley and its castles is a lovely place for a trip - you would like it.

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  8. Such an impressive castle. What a beautiful view, a great castle and a lovely village beyond it. I'd like to visit Loire's valley. Happy weekend, Rosemary!

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    1. I suspect that 600 years ago Château de Saumur probably stood alone, and the town has built up subsequently.

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  9. Saumur. Happy memories of the Loire. Thank you Rosemary!

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    1. It is many years since I have been in the Loire - a place I should consider re-visiting.

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  10. Hello Rosemary

    How tempting to go to
    Château de Saumur
    in September
    Thanks for sharing the beauty

    Helenx

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    1. September in the Loire is a lovely time to visit - that period when it is not quite autumn and the summer is still around - and grape picking time.

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  11. Thanks for sharing - my new man is a Virgo whereas I am a Capricorn as is my hubby. Gee that sounds odd but you know the situation.

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    1. Dear Susan - another Virgo here too - and I understand what you are saying.

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  12. Another feast for the eyes, Rosemary. You know how much I love mediaeval illumination. It was interesting to compare the painting with the present-day chateau and see how much they resemble each other even now.

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    1. I am halfway through the illuminated calendars now Perpetua - apart from the removal of its crenallated parapet and merlons it looks almost exactly the same.

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  13. I was interested about Saumur, it's castle and the region around when I was studing "Eugènie Grandet" de Balzac during a course of History of Art at the university. You refreshed my memory and of course added so interesting informations with your beautiful post Rosemary!

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    1. Dear Olympia - when you are already familiar with a place which you have studied, it makes it so much more interesting to find out some extra information, glad that the post did this for you.

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  14. Oh Rosemary, I can't believe Summer is almost ending. But at least we will see the beautiful Fall season soon.

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    1. Dear Pamela - fingers crossed, our summer is not over yet!!! at the moment we are enjoying a wonderful spell of warm sunny weather, and long my it continue.

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  15. The painting reminds me of this starting phrase “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…” by Keats. Wonderful photos of the beautiful castle! Has the summer waned at Cotswolds? Mornings and evenings are getting cooler in my place.

    Yoko

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    1. Those words always sum up and herald the autumn beautifully. We are still enjoying warm balmy weather - H is sitting in the garden with his cup of tea, reading the Sunday paper, and I have been pottering around the garden. The nights are drawing in and it is certainly cooler in the late evening and early morning, but at the moment we seem to be heading for an Indian Summer - crossing my fingers.

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  16. Dear Rosemary,
    now I have finally found the comment form! I love this post very much, so beautiful photographs! I haven't seen the Chateau de Saumur (though I have been near, in Tours) - so something to look forward to!
    Another thing I noticed: it was like a déjà vue when I looked at those beautiful "Très Riches Heures" - I don't know whether you have read Katherine Swift's book "The Morville Hours" - the dust-jackett of that book was created in the style of the above mentioned 'Riches Heure' - but: in a quite modern fashion - a quote, so to say, but a changed quote. Interesting!

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    1. Dear Britta - I am not familar with Katherine Swift's book but intend to look on Google and see if I can see the dust-jacket, sounds an interesting concept - thank you for telling me about it.

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    2. That information is excellent - I have now discovered that the Morville Garden is quite close to where I live so shall make a point of visiting it when it is next open under the National Garden Scheme.

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  17. Hi Rosemary,
    Wow, what an amazing castle. :)
    From: Bea Cupcake

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  18. This book is so beautiful, and it provides a wonderful insight to the time when it was made. I find the fence-like barrier interesting — it appears to be woven from reeds, but I'm not understanding its purpose. Perhaps it relates to the picking of the grapes. And I'd love to know about the funnel-shaped building to the left of the moat. Maybe it's a forge . . .

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    1. I honestly had not noticed those two things that you have picked up on Mark. The fencing looks very similar to some we saw in France in June which appeared to be made out of woven saplings. I will send you a photo on email to show you. It looks as if the horses were probably tethered to the rail and post nearest to the castle - pity we can't see the other side of the woven fence. Perhaps the funnel shape was some kind of kiln for blowing glass or making pottery - all guess work on my part.

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  19. Beautiful painting which needs better looking for it has so many interesting things to discover. The Très Riches Heures also remind me to the book The Morvill Hours which I bought last year when we visited the Morville Garden. The real castle of Saumur is so beautiful!

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    1. That is very interesting because commenter Britta also mentioned the Morville Garden. I actually did not know about it, but have found it on Google and realise that it is very close to where I live, so hopefully next year I will make a visit to the garden myself. Thank you.

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  20. hello Rosemary,
    very beautiful pictures!
    A big hug

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    1. Thank you Antonio - it is so nice to hear from you, glad you enjoyed the picture.

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  21. I do love looking at these calendar images, Rosemary - thank you for sharing them! The details in them are always fascinating; and with September it is remarkable to see that today's castle seems so unchanged from the image. It still appears to dominate the area - and it must have been really impressive in an age when most of the other buildings were small and simple.

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    1. The illuminated manuscripts are a wonderful historical record of that time, and as you mention so interesting to compare Château de Saumur then and now. Very little has changed on the Château itself apart from the removal of its crenallated parapet and merlons.

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  22. This is like seeing two paintings in one Rosemary. The detailed elegantness of the chateau and then the more robustness of the harvest and people working on the land. I read on the internet that the painting is probably the work of two different painters, the above(chateau and sky) of the Limburg brothers or Bartholémy d'Eyck and the harvest on the land from Jean Colombe. The huge difference between the castle and the workers brings out the difference between the different classes, although that wasn't the case in the June painting where the workers were painted just as elegant and gracious as the noble people would be painted. The woven fence in the middle is where the tournaments took place I read. I wondered what that was. Glad I found an explanation for it.
    Thank you for sharing Rosemary and for making me curious to want to know more ;)
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - I would be interested to know what site you were reading so that I could have a look too. The three Limbourg brothers who did most of the painting of the manuscripts all died in the same year, it is thought from the Plague, so several parts of the calendars were done by other hands to finish them.
      That is interesting about the tournaments, did it mention what tournaments? I wondered if it might be joisting.

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    2. With 'tournaments' I mean when two people(knights) on horses ride towards eachother with a stick and try to hit one another. I couldn't come up with the exact English word, in Dutch it's 'Steekspel'.
      I found the explanation of every month of the calendar of the très riches heures and of other of the miniature paintings on wikipedia. I had a look to see if there's an explanation in English on Wikipedia as well but there isn't, at least not as detailed as in Dutch.
      This is the link: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tr%C3%A8s_Riches_Heures_du_duc_de_Berry


      Marian

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    3. Thank you very much Marian - Joisting is the English term for fighting on horseback with a long lance.

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  23. Dear Rosemary,what a beautiful castle!!!And the view,is amazing!!!
    Wonderful pictures!!!!Have a lovely week!!!
    Dimi...

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    1. Dear Dimi - I think that it is really interesting that Château de Saumur looks almost exactly the same as it did on the illuminated manuscript from 600 years ago.

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  24. Love it and what a wonderful insight we have of life in medieval times. The Chateau looks fabulous too.
    Patricia x

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    1. Absolutely spot on Patricia - that is exactly why the manuscripts, although beautiful to look at, are also very revealing about life 600 years ago as lived by the peasants and nobles month by month.

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