Les Tres Riches Heures (7): July


In some ways Jean, Duc de Berry was the Donald Trump of his day. Wealth (much of it inherited), a degree of egotism, political influence and houses – plenty of palatial homes that he couldn’t possibly get much use from. Previous posts (eg 1, 2, 3) have outlined some pretty impressive domiciles, some of which are still standing, sort of. Hot running water 700 years ago is the equivalent of a helipad on the roof. Possibly.

Drawn after the Limbourgs’ picture

July is no different, except the Chateau du Clain at Poitiers hasn’t survived at all. The image of it in the July panel is the best we’ve got. The triangular plan with round corner towers was an established ‘defensive’ style, with in this case what might be a lake serving as a moat. Poitiers is not far from Paris, but travel was a bit trickier then. Jean de Berry moving from enormous chateau to enormous chateau on horseback, with his court retinue, around north west France is roughly equivalent to Trump zooming around the Eastern Seaboard in his private jet. The distances weren’t great but the journeys must have been arduous.

clain poitiers
The Clain at Poitiers today

The yellow markers in this image (borrowed from an excellent post on Les Tres Riches Heures) correspond to the Limbourgs’ depictions of Jean de Berry’s estates.

The Jean de Berry package tour (yellow markers)

The main interest otherwise is the usual agricultural stuff – in this case sheep shearing and harvesting hay, laboriously with sickles, not scythes (try it some time).






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