15 Jan 2017

Bishop Richard Fox's Crosier

[Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford]
Richard Fox's probably commissioned this crosier (also spelled crozier) on becoming bishop of Winchester in 1501; within the circular section at the top St Peter, patron of the cathedral, is enthroned holding a book and his symbol, a large key.
[Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford]
Below this is an angel holding another book, and Fox's personal emblem: the Pelican in Her Piety.
[Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford]
The long shaft (it is 181cm -- almost 6 feet -- tall) is mostly decorated by a trellis pattern, with a variety of flower designs in the interstices:
[Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford]
But in a single one of the dozens of lozenges is a man's face. He is depicted as a layman, not a bishop: this may therefore have been intended as a sort of signature, or self-portrait, of the craftsman.
[Image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford]

This and other items of the College's silverware of are such quality and rarity that they are usually on display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where they are on long-term loan.

Further Reading
T[imothy] S[chroder], "Bishop Fox's Crosier", Gothic: Art for England, 1400-1547 , ed. by R. Marks and P. Williamson, exhibition catalogue, V&A Museum (London, 2003), p.241 no.104.

Timothy Wilson, "Bishop Fox's Crozier", in Corpus Silver: Patronage and Plate at Corpus Christi College, Oxford: A Collection of Essays, edited by Clive Ellory et al. (Oxford, 1999), pp.47-73.

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