As an amateur historian, the Bruges artist Pieter Le Doulx (1730-1807) produced two grand, bountiful collections with some one thousand biographies of fellow townsmen. He was most likely aware of the fact that he lived at the intersection between two time periods: the old guard of the ancien régime and the modern society of the new French Republic. Indeed, Le Doulx committed Bruges' past to paper, but in addition to this, he was also a chronicler of his own time.
On the site of Historische Bronnen Brugge (Bruges Historical Sources), two works can be consulted. They were written down in an elegant and relatively readable hand. They were never published. Levens der konstschilders is without question Le Doulx's most well-known manuscript. It contains 158 biographies of well-known and more obscure painters, sculptors, draftsmen, woodcarvers, miniaturists, engravers and tapestry makers.
The second manuscript, Levens der geleerde en vermaerde mannen, contains more than 500 life descriptions of scholars, justices, civil servants, governmental officials, writers and clergymen, primarily Bruges men of the Middle Ages up to Le Doulx's own time.
Both manuscripts form an inexhaustible source for local historians, folklorists and people interested in the history of Bruges. They suffered significant damage during the Second World War. A few years ago they were professionally restored.
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