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.

Sunday 8 October 2023

The Faith Museum at Bishop Auckland

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph had an interesting article about the new Faith Museum which has been created in the grounds of Bishop Auckland Castle. 

The castle, home for centuries to the Bishops of Durham, was sold off some years back by the penny-pinching egalitarian vandals who nowadays masquerade as the Church Commissioners. Remember what Edmund Burke wrote over two centuries ago about the triumph of “sophisters, economists, and calculators” and its consequences.

However Auckland has had a chivalrous saviour and the castle was, fortunately, together with its important collection of Spanish religious art, saved by being bought by Jonathan Ruffer. He has restored the castle, created a centre for the study of Spanish painting - opened by the King when he was still Prince of Wales accompanied by the Queen of Spain - created the Faith Museum and seeks through the Auckland Project to use this as a means to regenerate the area. Very similar in fact to the King with Dumfries House.

The article places the Museum in a wide cultural context and is by Neil MacGregor, formerly Director of the National Gallery and then of the British Museum. His own intellectual and practical involvement with the relationship between Art and Faith is outlined in his Wikipedia biography at Neil MacGregor

His review article is well worth reading and can be seen at Western Europe has turned its back on Christianity – and forgotten the power of religion

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