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.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Image: Wikipedia

The December calendar page from the Très Riches Heures is attributed to Paul Limbourg. In the foreground is a hunting scene. Judging from the way the dogs are crowding around the quarry it is difficult to know if much will be left for the seasonal feasting for which it may be intended for in the chateau - but perhaps that is just artistic licence.

In the background is the great French royal palace-fortress of Vincennes. This had originated as a  hunting lodge for King Louis VII about 1150, but had become a major royal residence during the thirteenth century. The donjon in the centre of the view was built by King Philip VI in 1337, and is the tallest building of its type in Europe. It was in the donjon that King Henry V of England and Regent of France was to die in 1422, only a few years after the minature was painted.The towers on the surrounding curtain wall were reduced to the height of the walls with one exception in the early 1800s.

There is more about the history and architercture of the fortress to be read at the link Château de Vincennes.

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