This is going to be the first SITS/Duke post after some time. I have put the bigamous woman on the side burner for now. WIP is also for another post (started a new painting)
Over the holidays I have been reading the chronicles of Jean de Haynin, Olivier de la Marche, Chastellain, Molinet and de Comines. I’ve only read snippets of the bigger ones (Chastellain, Comines, several volumes) so far. I have concentrated on the adult years of the Bold (see earlier posts, not doing a recap). It’s quite interesting to read them side by side because they complement each other. One has to bear in mind that the Comines switched sides so his story will be quite biased.
Arles: Olivier de la Marche doesn’t mention anything about the Arles visions but he does talk about Arles and Saint Trophyme which was interesting. Also, according to the chronicles it looks like the B stayed in our town on his way to sack Liège. I must do some further research about this. I also learned something about very strange burial rituals in our region. Must look into that as well.
Other things that struck me: How gory, brutal and pointless wars are. How high the amount of miles these people were able to cover in a day were (without the cannons, though, those were slow), and the amount of travelling they did despite the absence of trains, planes and automobiles. (Charles the Bold was always on the move during his duke days.) How these high-born women were treated like goods or assets, almost like promotions in a shop (If you buy this you get one free – If you marry her you get this or that land or title) and on the other hand how well some of them managed to run their businesses or govern their lands while the men were always away from home, waging their endless wars or being just plain dead. It’s also interesting to read how terrified Olivier de la Marche was of Charles the Bold during those final days. How the B left a trail of mental breakdowns behind him. There was the anecdote about the books but there were some others in the presence of his father. I haven’t come across the boot incident yet.
A summary is for when I am done reading with all of the books. I also have come across some other clues regarding the remains that are interesting enough to look into. That’s for next week or the week after. Durendal and Gideon also have appeared again.
In the meantime here are some more samples of pictures of the B I have collected for my reference library, most of them fantasy portraits made after his death, or based on Rogier’s painting.
I came across two more examples of why you always need to check the sources. While I was looking for more information about a statue that was supposedly Charles the Bold (spoiler alert: it was not) I came across a twenty year old newspaper article about the theft of a wooden statue of St George in a church near Beernem. It said the statue dated from the 15th century and had the face of the Charles the Bold. There was no picture of the statue included and it took me some time to find it, on a website of Bruges.
Zooming in on the face, it’s clear that this is not the B but Philip the Fair. It says so in the description of the picture too so the reporter just sucked on his thumb, I guess (local expression for making things up). Or maybe I am wrong and this is not the stolen picture after all.
An engraving of the B in armour:
Another – low quality – print of a portrait, (not sure when and by whom it was made):
Charles the Bold when he was 9. Apparently this is a contemporary portrait drawing (museum of Arnhem). He looks about three or four in this, though.
This is not the Bold, but an engraving of a painting by Jan van Eyck which looks nothing like the original painting, so that’s why I included it. But note that this St George probably inspired the reliquary commissioned by the B that is now in Liège.
Also another thing I was looking for: a picture of the tomb of the B, taken from above.
And an engraving of the Bruges tomb from a book of the 19th century, when it was in another location in the church:
And my favourite thrift store find of last month, a book with large, good quality reproductions of Jean-Léon Huens’s totally underrated illustrations for the history of Belgium. There was only one volume of the three but never mind. I think the original pictures date from the 50ies or 60ies and people could collect them on small cards via tokens on coffee, flour and other packages of household stuff. (My pictures are not good, it’s quite dark in my work room atm)
That’s all for now.