Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Another red pileus

One of the regular contributors to the Medieval Religion discussion group is the Rev. Gordon Plumb, who provides superb photographs of medieval stained glass, some of which I have reproduced in other posts. Amongst the images he posted on her feast day of St Agatha was this panel, now in St Mary's Shrewsbury, but originally from the Trier region.


Donor kneeling before St Agatha with above St Bartholomew,
St Peter and St James
Nave, north aisle, central window

Image: Gordon Plumb on Flickr

What really caught my eye was the donor, identified by Gordon Plumb as Everard von Hohenfels, who held various positions in the cathedral at Trier from 1470 until his death in 1515 - or more particularly his headgear. He appears to be wearing, in addition to his surplice and cassock, a rather splendid red pileus.

Last year when I posted about the St Vincent Panels in Lisbon, which date from the 1460s, a friend asked me in the comments box about the red pileus he is shown wearing with his dalmatic.

File:Painéis de São Vicente3.jpg

Image: Wikipedia

I could offer no certain explanation, but wonder if it is a fifteenth century equivalent of a modern monsiegnorial or canon's biretta - St Vincent as the immediate deacon of his bishop, Everhard von Hohenfels as a senior figure in the cathedral at Trier. Some of the lay figures in the St Vincent panels are wearing similar head coverings. Given the location of Trier and the possible Burgundian influence on the St Vincent paintings it may reflect Netherlandish practice in the later fifteenth century.

Given that together with aother friend we once upon a time spent may happy hours considering whether medieval bishops actually wore green galeros (as in their heraldic form) maybe I should keep my eyes open for instances of the red pileus. It is a rather natty item.

1 comment:

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