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, 19 July 2021

Arms and armour videos IV: Dr Tobias Capwell

Dr Tobias Capwell does not have a video site of his own but he can be found on various sites as indicated below. 

He is in charge of the Arms and Armour department of the Wallace Collection in London, and is a noted historian of later medieval armour in particular. His work on English armour, and on armour worn in England, in the fifteenth century has drawn out numerous and fascinating insights not just into the techniques of the armourer but also as to fighting methods, and to the whole self-perception of the military elite of the Lancastrian and Yorkist eras. To that end he not only discusses surviving pieces of armour but also effigies and artistic representations of fighting men.

His interest in armour began as a small boy and that took him both to being an active re-enactor and then to a Ph.D on English fifteenth century armour at Cambridge. This is being converted by him into his current three volume magnum opus. As a practitioner of HEMA he was one of the two mounted armoured figures who escorted the remains of King Richard III in the procession to their reburial in Leicester Cathedral.

Amongst his online talks I would recommend are his three part explication of the Phelip tomb at Kennington from Scholagladiatoria,  that to the Richard III Society Leicester Conference on the rediscovery of the King’s remains and how his scoliosis would have affected his armour, and others to the Oxford Medieval Studies and the Society of Antiquaries.

There are a pair about the funery helm King Henry V together with a reconstruction of the original appearance of the piece, and others about Agincourt.

Another fascinating one is from the National Gallery website about the armour worn by St Michael the Archangel in the Gallery’s painting of the saint by Bermejo

All in all these are very well worth searching out for some stimulating viewing, and which seems guaranteed to add to one’s knowledge, and to one’s appreciation of the skills of late medieval armourers and their clients. Highly recommended. 

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