Since my return from Avignon, I have been working with Dr Emily Hayes, Honorary Research Associate at Oxford Brookes University, on the transcription of French-language sources concerning Macintosh’s period as a resident of Avignon in the 1780s and ’90s. One of the key documents is an inventory of his possessions, drawn up in 1794 in preparation for their seizure by the revolutionary authorities. The inventory is a long and fascinating document, offering a vivid sense of the home Macintosh created for himself in Provence.
Aside from the rich texture this inventory adds to our understanding of Macintosh, it also has a more prosaic value in helping to locate his homes (he had both a town house and a country residence). The inventory (see below) places his town house on “la rue des testons”.
As far as Emily and I have been able to determine, this location corresponds to what is now Rue des Trois Testons (connecting Rue de la Grande-Monnaie and Rue de l’Aigarden). There seems to be some debate about the derivation of the street’s name (either it refers to the coin of the same name, or it refers, more crudely, to a sculpture of a female nude supposedly at that location that was possessed of “trois globes d’amour”).
An 1835 plan of Avignon (below) shows the location of Rue des Trois Teston, although here it is listed as “R. 3 tétons”. “isle 53” in the inventory above corresponds with a similar designation on the map below. On this basis, I think we can be fairly confident in pinpointing this as the site of Macintosh’s town house. Whether or not the building that currently stands there was the one in which Macintosh lived remains to be seen. As ever, there is more digging to do!