Forgotten archbishops everywhere

Forgotten archbishops everywhere –

Five archbishops found at St Mary-at-Lambeth

In my last post, I looked at the fate of an archbishop of Cologne, whose forgotten remains had recently been re-found in Bonn Minster.  I thought that losing one archbishop was maybe a tad careless.  However, one archbishop seems irrelevant compared to five.  It was recently revealed that the authorities at Lambeth Palace had managed to do the same with five archbishops. Continue reading

All Hallows by the Tower, London

All Hallows by the Tower –

a church and its connection to Richard III

Today, 1 November, is All Hallows (or All Saints) Day.  From this comes our Halloween (= All Hallows Eve, 31 October).  On this day all saints, who have attained heaven, are commemorated.  It was a Holy Day of Obligation, meaning the faithful were obliged to attend mass.[1]  Growing up in a traditionally Catholic area in Germany, I can remember our Catholic neighbours decorating the graves of their family members with candles the evening before.  And of course it was a public holiday, which meant a welcome day off school! Continue reading

Girl in a Green Gown

Book Review: Girl in a Green Gown

Carola Hicks, Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait. Vintage, London, 2012 (Pbk)

The title of the book, Girl in a Green Gown, refers to the female figure in the famous Arnolfini portrait of a man and a woman. In this book, Carola Hicks investigates a wide variety of aspects relating to the portrait. It was painted by Jan van Eyck in 1434, as this is stated in an inscription on the picture: “Johannes van Eyck fuit hic” and the year. Van Eyck was court painter of Philip ‘the Good’, Duke of Burgundy. It is remarkable that the history of this painting can be traced through the centuries and its various owners from when it was painted until it ended up in London’s National Gallery in 1842. Continue reading

Thomas Cromwell

Book Review: Thomas Cromwell

Tracy Borman, Thomas Cromwell: The untold story of Henry VIII’s most faithful servant. Hodder & Stoughton, 2015 (PB)

In anticipation of Wolf Hall being shown on Australian TV, I bought Tracy Borman’s biography of Thomas Cromwell during a recent trip to the UK (the series started being shown on pay TV on 11 April). I never found Henry VIII and most of his six wives, with the exception of Anne of Cleves, very appealing, so his powerful minister was a foray into fairly unchartered waters for me. Incidentally it was Anne of Cleves, who was the stumbling block over which Thomas Cromwell eventually fell. Continue reading

The Book of Hours of Richard III

The Book of Hours of Richard III

When visiting the UK in July 2012, I attended an exhibition at Lambeth Palace Library: ‘Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer’. While the various Books of Common Prayer and their history was interesting enough, the drawcard for me was a book which predates the Reformation (and hence the Book of Common Prayer) – the Book of Hours of Richard III (MS 474). Continue reading