Côte-D'Or  Nièvre  Saône-et-Loire  Yonne

Dijon Fontenay Abbey St Thibault    
The Musée de Beaux-Arts houses these two magnificent tombs of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. NB: photography is permitted but no flash.
  Above and left:   Philip the Bold (1342-1404) by Jean de Marville (1384-89), Claus Sluter (1404-05)& Claus de Werve (1406-1410). Of black marble and alabaster, guilded and polychrome.

Both monuments were originally in the Charterhouse of Champmol in Dijon, then in 1792 were moved to the cathedral; After major restorations they were moved again to the Duke's Palace - now the Museum - in 1827.

Philip the Bold was the fourth and youngest son of King John the Good and Bonne of Luxembourg, and hence brother of Charles V, the Wise. On Charles's death his son - Charles VI - became king and the latter's uncles on both sides acted as regents, with Philip taking the dominant role. In 1388 King Charles took up personal rule and the regents lost their power. However in 1392 while leading an expedition against Brittany the King became insane (thereafter known as 'Charles the Mad') and Philip appointed himself regent, dismissing the King's advisers. He was the principle ruler of France until 1402.
This act was to have disastrous consequences in the future as Louis, Duke of Orléans, the King's bother resented the fact that his uncle, Philip, acted as regent rather than himself, thus splitting the Valois family. Louis was regarded as profligate and irresponsible again the sober and reforming Philip, which enhanced the latter's reputation. However in a rare moment of sanity King Charles confirmed his brother as regent but the latter's misrule allowed Philip to gain control shortly before his death in 1404

  Connextion September 2020 (English Newspaper in France) reports that the weeper which was stolen from the monument of  Philip the Bold during the French Revolution  has now been restored to its rightful place. It is alabaster, twenty cms high and one of a set of eighty two; the figure hold his nose to hold back tears, a weeper indeed! The weeper had been in private hands since 1813 and the current possessor had attempted to take it out of France in order to sell it for a reported €3 million in 2014. It was returned to the monument following a legal battle.
  This is positive news about the theft of church artifacts; however attempting to sell stolen property should not need a legal battle as it is surely a criminal offence.
Right and below: John the Fearless (1371-1419) & Marguerite de Bavière (1363-1423) by Jean de La Huerta & Antoine Le Moiturier.  Also of black marble and alabaster, guilded and polychrome.
John was the son of Philip the Bold, and became Duke of Burgundy on the latter's death, continuing the conflict and power struggle with Louis, Duke of Orléans. John managed to gain guardianship of the Dauphin and the King's other children during one of the periods of the Charles's insanity and this increased the hostility between the two rival parties.
In 1407 Louis was brutally assassinated in the streets of Paris an act which John admitted responsibility for calling it an 'act of tyrannicide'. It was felt by some writers that Louis had received his just deserts.
During a period of sanity the King absolved John and Louis's son, Charles, pledged reconciliation. However Charles of Orléans was only fourteen at the time and relied on his allies, the chief of whom was Bernard VI, Count of Armagnac, his father-in-law and also Queen Isabeau's lover.
King Henry V of England invaded France and threatened Paris.. Henry was in contact both with John and the Armagnacs. When Henry demanded John's support for his claim to the crown of France, John then allied himself with the Armanacs, not wishing to be unpopular with the French people. However he did not take part in the Battle of Agincourt.
Two years later the rivalry increased because of the disastrous defeat of the French at the above battle. In 1418 John captured Paris and made himself protector of the King; however the Dauphin had fled. However he did nothing to prevent the surrender of Rouen to Henry in 1419.
John and the Dauphin then swore peach at the Bridge of Pouilly near Melun. However the Dauphin was not satisfied with the negotiation and requested a further meeting in September 1419 at the Bridge at Metereau. John arrived believing it to be a diplomatic meeting but was assassinated by the Dauphin's companions.
His son succeeded him as Philip the Good and this man allied himself with the English allowing Henry VI to eventually become king of both England and France.

Fontenay Abbey
Mello d'Epoisses & Wife 14th Century



Left and above: Tomb and effigy of Hugues-de-Thil

: Effigy of a lady and slab




With many thanks to Tony Carr for allowing me to use the photographs from Fontenay Abbey,Saint-Père-de-Vézelay and St-Thibaul

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