March brings my 12 month exploration of Les Très Riches Heures to its conclusion.
Spring is on the way, the snow has melted, and the peasants are preparing the fields and vineyards for the new growing season. In the background, situated on a hill top, is Château de Lusignan which dominates the farmland surrounding it. The château in the Départment of Vienne was a formidable structure with multiple defensive walls and was owned by the Duc de Berry in the early 15th century. To the right we can see a tower with a protective gilded dragon on its summit.
At the top left a shepherd with his horse and dog are looking after a flock of sheep; below are three peasants pruning vines; to their right is a vineyard which has already been prepared for the spring growing season; at the far right is a peasant sifting a bag of seed corn; and in the foreground we see a peasant ploughing a field with 2 oxen. The Limbourg brothers were keen to show how important agriculture was to the peasant economy and how dependent upon them were the aristocracy for the upkeep of their castles, châteaux and lands.
The blue lunette shows the zodiac sign for Pisces in the first half of the month and Aries in the second half. In the centre the chariot of the sun continues it's yearly cycle through the heavens.
Note: The illuminations painted for the Book of Hours inspired several of the backdrops to sets used by Laurence Olivier in his film of Shakespeare's play Henry V.
The original of Les Très Riches Heures is held in the Musée Condé, Chantilly. Due to conservation concerns it is no longer available for the public to see.