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.

Monday, 21 January 2013

St Agnes

It is no doubt right and just that the last Mass King Louis XVI attended, on the morning of the day in which he was to be judicially murdered, was that of a martyr, St Agnes.

St Agnes is an early Christian martyr to whom devotion, unlike some others, has survived.There is an on line account of her and her cult here. From it I learned that she is known in some contries as St Ines, but, of course, the pun on her name of Agnes/Agnus has led both to her traditional symbol of a lamb and to the tradition of the lambs whose wool is used to weave the pallia given by the Pope to Archbishops as a sign of their authority being blessed on this day at the church of St Agnes in Rome.

As apopular saint she has attracted the interest of many artists. Here are three different depictions of her, in different mediums from approximately the same era: 


St Agnes
 Fifteenth century tracery glass in the East Window of Cartmel Priory Lancashire

Image: Gordon Plumb on Flickr


Statue of St Agnes in sixteenth century polychrome

Retable in the Chapel of the High Constable, Burgos Cathedral

Image: Wikipedia

St Agnes by Matthias Grünewald circa 1500
Coburg Castle

Image: Wikipedia

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