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.
Thinking of visiting Oxford?
Allow me to be your guide... and discover the history of Oxford with an Oxford historian.
I offer a wide range of guided walks around the city and university. These can be a general introduction to the history and architecture or looking at specific themes and subjects.
I am a Catholic and a historian based in Oxford, where I am a member of Oriel College. My research, for a long delayed D.Phil., is a study of Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln in the second decade of the fifteenth century. I also work as a freelance tutor in History and as an independent tour guide.
I was received into the Church in 2005 and am a Brother of the External Oratory of St Philip Neri at the Oxford Oratory.
One minor New Year's resolution for 2012 is to post the appropriate calendar page from the Très Riches Heures of Jean, Duc de Berry each month. There is an article about this famous Book of Hours here, which has links to articles on the artists involved. The manuscript was begun by the Limbourg brothers Herman (b. 1385), Paul (b.1386 or 7) and Jean (b. 1388) in 1412, but left unfinished when they all died, probably of plague, in February 1416. The Duke died that same year and the Hours were completed by later artists, in a recognisably different style.
The majority of the calendar pages are by the Limbourgs themselves, and include marvellous views of the ducal and other royal residences in France. What they do not indicate in their idyllic representations - and, given the nature of the book, why should they I might add - is that they were produced against the background of civil conflit between the Armagnacs and the Burgundians, as detailed in the journal of the Bourgeois of Paris, and, in 1415, King Henry V's invasion and the French defeat at Agincourt.
I will post each one seperately month by month with some notes about the scene.