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.

Saturday, 1 July 2017


Image: Wikipedia

This illumination is attributed to Paul Limbourg and depicts the Chateau or Palace of Poitiers, parts of which still survive. The chateau belonged to the Duke of Berry who had rebuilt portions of it in the decades preceding the painting.
Harvesting and sheep shearing are taking place in the foreground, plenty abounds - all is beginning to be safely gathered in against the winter. As with the other months in the series the scene is idyllic - almost in the tradition of eighteenth century rustic scenes. Swans glide along the clear waters of the moat, the chateau looks trim and well-cared for, as befitted a residence of the Duke of Berry, whilst the landscape is lush and fertile. Here then is once again a scene of tranquility, rather different from the realities of life in northern and central France in the years 1413-16.

More particularly, in July 1417 King Henry V was completing his plans for his second invasion of France. By the end of the month the English King, his army and fleet were asembled ready for the planned conquest of Normandy.

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