Nicholas Flory - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Nicholas Flory

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Nicholas Flory

PhD student

Thesis: Female Patronage of the Carthusian Order in the Burgundian Netherlands and Spain, c.1380-1530

Supervised by Prof. Susie Nash

Funded by Consortium of the Humanities and the Arts South-east England

The Carthusian Order was respected throughout the Middle Ages for the austerity of the monks’ solitary lives and for their faithfulness to their founding principles. The Order had numerous restrictions and limitations on visitors to their monasteries but were especially strict on women who were forbidden from entering charterhouses. In 1506, a Papal Bull reiterated this ban, indicating a widespread contravention of these regulations. Indeed, from the late fourteenth-century, women appear to have regularly engaged with the Carthusian Order as generous patrons, as well as gaining access to their monasteries. This thesis will investigate the extensive gifts, foundations and donations made by high-ranking women to the Carthusian Order during this period. Focusing initially on the duchesses of Burgundy, in particular Isabella of Portugal and Margaret of York and then on Isabella of Castile’s extraordinary completion and decoration of the Cartuja de Miraflores near Burgos, it will look at the types of objects and gifts women gave to charterhouses, their presence (physically or visually, in life or in death) within these spaces, the reasons for their patronage and the ways in which they were able to articulate their own positions in society through these pious acts.


  • 2017- present: The Courtauld Institute of Art, PhD
  • 2014-2015: The Courtauld Institute of Art, MA (Distinction)
    • Special Option: Early Netherlandish Painting: Reinterpreting the Object – Professor Susie Nash
    • Dissertation (Distinction): ‘als frares e covent de Portaceli: Andreu Garcia, Valencian painters and the Carthusian Order’
  • 2011-2014: The Courtauld Institute of Art, BA History of Art

Research interests

  • Monastic patronage
  • Female patronage
  • Commemoration and memoria
  • Early Netherlandish painting
  • Valois Burgundian court culture
  • Carthusian monasticism


  • ‘Scaling Patronage in the Duchy of Burgundy: Isabella of Portugal and her Carthusian donations’ – Scaling the Middle Ages: Size and Scale in Medieval Art, 24th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium – Courtauld Institute of Art, 8 February 2019
  • Co-Organiser, Working Materials and Materials at Work in Medieval Art, 25th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium – Courtauld Institute of Art, 7 February 2020
  • ”prostrate on the ground’: The Magdalene at the Cartuja de Miraflores’ – Third Year Symposium – Courtauld Institute of Art, 8 October 2020
  • Organiser, Remarkable Women: Female Patronage of religious institutions, 1300-1550, Courtauld Institute of Art, 29 January 2021

Other academic activity

  • 2017-2018: Palaeography Course (Institute of Historical Research)

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