Flemish painter Hans Memling (1430 - 1494) is famous for his portraits. Commissioned by religious and secular patrons he tirelessly paints beautiful pictures in which his customers are depicted to their satisfaction.
To his distress he is commissioned by the count of Flanders to join him in war in order to preserve for posterity his exploits on the battlefield. A cold and wet affair. Not in the line of townsman Memling who rathers works in a nicely heated room. Fortunately it turns out to be of short duration: no victories are forthcoming and the count is killed. He can return home to more lucrative and more enjoyable assignments.
Although averse to cold he starts each day with a dip into the water. In Bruges with its abundance of canals that means to him a dip into his backyard. Visitors from England are amazed by the cleanness of the city's water. In London swimming in the Thames is not to be recommended because of the pollution.
Memling comes into contact with quite a few English who - for political reasons - travel up and down between France, Flanders and England.
Beautiful picture of the painter's life by English writer Terence Morgan in the fine novel 'The Master of Bruges'.