Macintosh at home, part the second

The main facade of Macintosh's town house, from Rue Grande Monnaie

The main facade of Macintosh’s town house, from Rue Grande Monnaie

Since returning from Avignon I have concentrated on completing the catalogue of Macintosh’s library, which now stands at 78 items, but have also been keen to confirm my identification of his Avignon town house.

One piece of evidence appears to confirm my suspicions—an address given by Monsieur Pierre de Brion (former member of the Vaucluse chapter of the organisation Vieilles maisons françaises) to the Franco-Scottish Society on 9 June 1990. de Brion’s address—”Sur les pas des Stuarts et des Ecossais qui vecurent a Avignon 1716–1813″—contains an account of the appearance of Macintosh’s home:

La façade de cet hôtel, qui est d’une grande pureté de lignes, comprend un rez-de-chaussée, un premier étage et un attique au-dessus d’une corniche saillante. Le tout a 5 fenêtres par étage, dont 3 perées dans un avant-corps central que surmonte, au-desses de la corniche, un fronton triangulaire. Et, comme vous pouvex le voir d’ici, dans le tympan de ce fronton figure un écusson de forme ovale et renflée où sont gravées des armoiries.

This description corresponds directly with the rear elevation of the property on Rue des 3 Testons (above), particularly the pediment with the oval escutcheon containing a coat of arms (see below).

Detail of the pediment

Detail of the pediment

de Brion’s account, which was published in Des Ecossais a Avignon (1993), is valuable because it also dates Macintosh’s purchase of the property to 15 May 1786 and records the purchase price as 11,300 French livres.

Prior to the purchase of this property, Macintosh lived, according to de Brion, “à sa campagne de Châteaubrun dans les environs d’Avignon”. Together with the inventory of Macintosh’s seized books is a list of his papers. This list includes the entry “Papiers relatifs à la Grange de chateau brun que Mr Machintosch [sic] avait affermée de Mr de Monery de Caylus 1780–1788 [papers relating to the barn, chateau brun, that Mr Macintosh had leased from Mr de Monery de Caylus 1780–1788]”.

Macintosh addressed many letters from Chateau Brun, so it is apparent that this building was more than a mere barn. Quite where it was, other than in the vicinity of Avignon (possibly near Montfavet), is not quite clear; that will require more digging. It looks likely, however, that the Monsieur de Monery de Caylus in question was Ignace-Dominique-Didier de Monery de Caylus (1726–1792). The entry for de Moneray de Caylus on Geneanet lists the following event in his timeline: “21 June 1780 : Donation-Succession – Chateaubrun, Vaucluse”. The source for this event is listed as “nice historique : Marquesan”, which I presume is a reference to the journal Nice Historique. The reference to “Chateaubrun, Vaucluse”—and its correspondence with 1780, the year Macintosh began his lease—would seem to be more than coincidental.

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