This manuscript, written on vellum, is a remarkable testimony to the legal, political and social context of Tournai in the 15th century. The Tournaisian painter Robert Campin, also known as ‘the Master of Flémalle’ is mentioned twice.
The manuscript is in fact a document relating to a trial held under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Poitiers in 1427. The opposing parties were Henry VI, King of France (Paris and the north of France) and England, and on the other hand the “impoverishers” of Saint Peter, including Robert Campin, who supported King Charles VII, also of France (but of the centre and south of France). The precise object of the document has not yet been established but Robert Campin appears to have been one of the principle actors involved. In-depth research on this rare manuscript will reveal unknown aspects of the life of this famous painter as well as the political, legal, social and artistic context to life in general during the 15th century in the former Netherlands. The research will be conducted in collaboration with the Belgian State Archives and the Roger de la Pasture Association.
The Claire and Michel Lemay Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, was able to purchase the manuscript at public auction. The Fund, whose mission is to contribute to the development of Walloon Picardy, has decided to entrust the manuscript to the municipal archives of Tournai. More than 600,000 documents were lost from the town’s archives during the fires caused by the bombardments of May 1940, including numerous sources relating to Robert Campin.