Henry Beaufort

Henry Arthur Payne – Plucking the red and the white rose… (1910)

It’s quite a good day to talk about a man whose last name is Beaufort, with the storm raging around us. Here are some random facts, mostly from the internet and I haven’t yet verified them, so they could be wrong. In that case I’ll correct them later on.

Henry Beaufort (26 January 1436 – 15 May 1464), 3rd Duke of Somerset, was a good friend of Charles the Bold.  As a side note, he was also related to Charles the Bold via John of Gaunt. They had some very pleasant meetings together and Charles did Henry many favours. So much in fact, that I found descriptions of their relationship ranging from very good friends to Charles being madly in love with him. I have no idea if the feelings were mutual, but Henry had a mistress and a son, named Charles. Yeah, well,… shit happens, I guess.

According to Wikipedia Georges Chastellain described him as ”  “un très grand seigneur et un des plus beaulx josnes chevaliers qui fust au royaume anglais” i.e being a very great gentleman and one of the most handsome young knights in England. I haven’t found this passage in Chastellain yet but he has written many, many words.

Unfortunately I can’t find any portraits of Henry, just of his father and his younger brother Edmund who was also treated favourably by Charles the Bold. I suppose Henry would have looked a bit like them. Here they are:

Edmund, Henry’s father, on the left
Edmund the brother, in a most unfortunate position

The story doesn’t end with a ‘they lived long and happily ever after because Henry got beheaded when he was 28 years old and Edmund in 1471 when he was in his early thirties.

I wonder if there’s a painting in this?


Some exploratory doodles for paintings that may never happen. Just started so not finished in any way.

Oil paint on A4 paper.

Maybe Baudouin of probably Burgundy, after Gossaert
Man with decorative hat somewhat looking like CtB
Angel, very freely after Rembrandt.

As a side note: I am painting another layer of Charles the Bold’s jacket but after looking at a picture of another van der Weyden, the black velvet of the typical Burgundian doublets may have a brown purplish sheen instead of pure black. Not sure if it’s the camera or the paint. I hope I can sneak out of Haring to have another look at Anthony on Tuesday.

This is what I mean (hand of Philippe de Croÿ):

Fool’s Gold

Gisant of the tomb of Philippe le Hardi, Dijon (picture: family archives)

My study, where I used to do research, has become such a mess lately with old and new paintings, books, swords, and other weapons and all sorts of stuff from my childhood home that I had to store temporarily somewhere, that I have not used it at all the past six months.

So this week, spring cleaning in mind, I just painted a couple hours each day, mostly studies and sketches, and spent the rest of the time tidying up. Unfortunately I keep running into interesting things such as footnotes and bookmarks in books that are worth investigating. As such, cleaning up it’s taking a lot longer than I originally intended. Plus I have come across an even greater archive online that I want to sort through, including a few gigabytes of Burgundy-related stuff. It’s all connected somehow and it’s driving me crazy.

The update of this site will have to wait for another few days.

And I’m still looking for that wretched boot.

Three (not so) wise men for the price of one

This is a follow-up post on some of the crypto portraits of Charles the Bold.

To summarize: there are almost no direct portrait paintings of Charles the Bold. Most of them are copies of paintings that were lost or just complete fantasy. For reference purposes I’ll repost the most important ones here.

The best known portrait is the (copy) of the portrait by Rogier van der Weyden, the one I’m more or less copying now.

There is also a copy of a portrait that was painted when Charles the Bold travelled to Dijon to bury his parents. In this one he is rather rough looking.

But there are also some so called contemporary crypto portraits, ie portraits that appear in paintings that may portray someone particular without mentioning their name (and as such are theoretical portraits, I guess).

One of such portraits is John the Apostle in the Last Judgment scene by Memling (discussed this before):

There are also three other supposed crypto-portraits that are somewhat linked together. The three portraits are all portraying one of the three wise men that visited newly born baby Jesus (not to be confused with baby Yoda :/). Two of them are by Memling and his workshop, the third one by Rogier van der Weyden. They’re all similar.

The first one is the Floreins triptych by Memling, located at the St Jans hospital at Bruges (a new trip to Bruges is in order, once the museum is open again).

The king in red on the left may be a portrait of Charles the Bold.

A fairly similar painting is located at the Prado, Madrid.

The third Magi painting I want to show is known as the Columba altarpiece and was painted by Rogier van der Weyden and workshop.

According to the books about Memling I read and other sources, the oldest king kissing the child may be a portrait of Philip the Good and the youngest king, the one in red on the right, is supposedly a portrait of Charles the Bold. This one:

It was even used as his portrait for a biography by Henri Dubois:

Now the odd thing is that the middle king looks a lot more like the Memling kings.

Not sure what is going on here.

There is more to this. According to a couple articles I read, it should be possible to detect certain physical deformities in the portraits. Charles the Bold and Philip the Good (who also had a very long nose apparently) were known to have a protruding, big lower lip. It can definitely be seen in the first two portraits. In the other ones it is not so clear except the youngest king. (result of inbreeding?)

There is also something wrong with the B’s ears, according to said articles, but so far I can’t tell what from the portaits. I’ll have to see if I can find more sources for that.

As for his eyes, I still don’t know what colour they were. I do know that his daughter Mary apparently had grey-brown eyes.

And now I’m off to check an interesting theory about his second wife.

WIP – Update

Currently working on a number of paintings and studies, both at home and at the academy. Not going to post the intermediate work here but here’s a list of the WIP:

  • The copy of the van der Weyden portrait of Charles (not the Bold yet): I want to work on the doublet next week, before I continue with the hair and the hands
  • Oscar: working on the background, not sure what to do with it yet
  • Brexit: working on some details
  • Monthléry: adding more items to the background
  • Agincourt: first layer of the knight
  • Study on paper of the angel’s face of Rembrandt’s Jacob and the angel
  • Study on paper of a portrait of Charles the Bold
  • Study of the face of the Gossaert portrait (see previous post)
  • Small postcard size portrait of Philip the Good for a project.
  • Prepared two new canvases.

Working on an alternative biography of Charles the Bold.

Working on the bibliography for the item mentioned above.


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