Seminar in Medieval and Renaissance Music - John Dunstaple, Lionel Power and the mid Fifteenth Century
The English career of John Dunstaple has been the subject recently of significant studies by Lisa Colton and by Roger Bowers, who separated from John Dunstaple the composer a John Dunstaple senior who owned lands in Cambridgeshire, and possibly also a related John Dunstaple junior of London. But while the composer remains elusive as an individual, a set of family relationships place the documented John Dunstaples in close proximity with John Duke of Bedford, in whose service it has long been known that the composer was employed as ‘musicus’. This paper argues the salience of the family network, alongside individual identity, in shaping a picture of Dunstaple’s activities and his links with patrons. It explores other aspects of the Bedford household diaspora following the duke’s death in 1435, in this context presenting new documents illuminating the late career of Leonel Power. It also offers some reflections on the wider implications of the careers of Power, Dunstaple and their contemporaries for the construction of the mid-fifteenth century in English music history.