Tag: History

The sword in the stone: Cathlijn & Geert

The idea was, now spring and summer are approaching, to do a physical tour of the old Duchy of Burgundy, not just for the quest but as a source of inspiration for paintings. Many places are not too far away and can be reached in less than half a day. This B tour needs a lot of research though. There are plenty of history books but none of them has the complete story. So if I make mistakes, just tell me so I can correct them and don’t take everything I say for granted. Mistakes will be made.

The first thing I visited, last week was a nearby graveyard. When I was looking for the route the Burgundian troops followed on their way to Liège I came across a story on the website of the village of Oorbeek about the gravestone of Cathlyn van Oirbeeck. Cathlyn died in 1475, when Charles the Bold was still Duke of Burgundy and not rotting away in Nancy. But what’s even more interesting is that Cathlyn was the widow of Gerard de Ryckel aka Geert van Rijkel, a nobleman from the Liège area. Gerard died in the battle of Monthléry in 1465 (Ligue du Bien Public vs Louis XI). I am not going to recount the whole story of that battle, but it was an important one (imho) where the B almost got killed. The information about the circumstances of Gerard’s death is not chiseled into the stone. It is on an old engraving of a picture, commissioned by Cathlyn, which used to be in the church that was destroyed and which shows the couple kneeling down in prayer.

Here is a bigger picture of the stone:

The current St. George church is obviously not Burgundian. These regions have been ravaged and pillaged numerous times in the course of history. The original church was destroyed by soldiers in 1582 during the religious wars. A new church was built in 1778.

The gravestone is damaged. It used to be inside the church as the top part of a monument/ mausoleum for Cathlyn. The stone was later enclosed in the wall of the new church.

With the help of the info on the Oorbeek site and some digging around in my bookcase I found a catalogue that came from the family collection which shows the engraving with the source where it came from (Le Grand Theatre Sacré du Duché de Brabant) and with this info I found a scanned copy on e-rara. Just to show that often the night is dark and full of winding roads.

So – drumroll – here is what Gérard and Cathlyn looked like:

It’s always more interesting when names get a face. Note that the date of the battle is not correct in the engraving. It reads 1460 instead of 1465.

Next up will be the Bruges trip, me thinks; I am researching some anti-Burgundian dude from Limburg who is mightily interesting and and some obscure self-proclaimed knights but I need more time for that one. And I still need to make a wax doll.


Isabelle de Bourbon (1436-1465)

Isabelle and her cousin and husband Charles the Bold. This is probably one of the worst paintings of them I’ve ever seen.


The sword in the stone: In sickness and in health

The past night, long past twelve and buried under the covers, I watched Requiem. In hindsight it wasn’t probably the best idea to watch this in the middle of the night. Also, the ending was not what I expected.

This evening I came across a curious book while I was clearing up some boxes with books from the family archives. It had some portraits of Burgundians in them.

Mary of Burgundy:

And good old Flipje, slightly strange drawing as well:

The title page of the book: Hereditary diseases, roughly translated

The book is basically about heriditary deformities and diseases of the descendants of Charles Quint, but it also contains some information on Charles the Bold and his ancestors. I’m curious if there is something new to learn. At the end of the book there is also a chapter about that dude that Google’s Art & Culture thinks I look like, Charles II.

So, indeed, I haven’t read the book yet but I think it’s safe to say that the conclusion will be: Don’t marry your cousin (too often).


Not my ancestors: The Demon Chicken of Kiev

In the series Not My Ancestors today: The Demon Chicken of Kiev

The demon chicken of Kiev, not to be confused with a chicken Kiev, terrorised the earth around 1666.

This chicken was so demonic that when people saw it, they immediately fell to their knees and kissed its hooves, and begged for their lives to  be spared.

The reign of the Demon Chicken came to an end when a meteorite fell from the sky and crushed it to death.

I am not related to this chicken in any way. The chicken died without offspring.


Not my ancestors: Philip the very, very Bad

[I see lots of people are doing posts about their ancestors. I thought it’d be cool to do some posts about people who are not my ancestors.]

Let’s start with Philip the Good for no reason at all.

Philip the Good (FrenchPhilippe le BonDutchFilips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all the 15th-century kings of France belonged.

Philip was married for a third time to Isabella of Portugal, a daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, in Bruges on 7 January 1430.[4] This marriage produced four sons:

  • Anthony (September 30, 1430, Brussels – February 5, 1432, Brussels), Count of Charolais;
  • Josse (April 24, 1432 – aft. May 6, 1432), Count of Charolais;
  • Charles (10 November 1433 – 5 January 1477), Count of Charolais and Philip’s successor as Duke of Burgundy, known as “Charles the Bold” or “Charles the Rash”
  • Philip the very, very Bad (in French: Philippe le tres méchant – Dutch: Filips de hele Stoute) 

Valois were notorious for their madness and their big noses.

Recently discovered portrait by Rogier van der Weyden of Philip the Good with his fourth son, Philip the very, very Bad, about whom very little is known.

[Source: mostly Wikipedia]

Nb: This mashed up self-portrait will probably be my next painting.

Yours eternally,

Maugis the Bewitched


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