Saturday, 28 May 2016

A Painter from Avignon in 1436

Last week Christie's had an auction the medieval manuscripts of Maurice Burrus (1882-1959), several of which have interesting provenances.

Lot 2, for example, was an attractive 12th-century Gospel Book from Montmajour, just outside Arles, south of Avignon:
At the end of the main text are 15 added paragraphs, written at various dates from 1436 to 1450 by Roger, the Sacrist ‘of this holy monastery of St Peter, Montmajour’.
Here is a detail of a typical example of one of them, recording how Jacques Martin, clerk of St Flour (Auvergne), on seeing an old glass window broken, was moved to pay to have it replaced, by the hand of Master Guillaume, a painter from Avignon:
"Eodem vero anno mense [i.e. April 1436] et die xxviii Jacobus Martini
de Alvernia diocesis Sancti Flori clericus sacristie dicti monasterii
pia devotione motus videns aliam fenestram vitrealium ruptam
que est media infra iam dictas cledas [i.e. presbitery] ob honorem dei et eius
matris in qua fenestra erat ab antiquo tempore sculpta sive
depicta anunciata suis proprius sumptibus et expensis fecit de novo
totaliter reffici [sic] ac reparari per manus magistri Guillelmi Doben'
pictoris de Avinione effigiem dicti clerici et nomen desubtus ponendo"
The manuscript appears to give the last name of the painter as "doben' ", but, using Graesse, Orbis Latinus, I have not been able to satisfactorily identify this as a toponym.
But it seems to be more than coincidence that the best-documented stained-glass painter active in and around Avignon at this period was called Guillaume Dombet:
[Source (Oxford Art Online; subscription required)]


  1. Surely it is Dobey not Doben which makes the attribution even more likely?

    1. Yes, thank you! I had taken the prominent abbreviation-mark to suggest that this was a shortened form of something longer.


Please include your name