ONLINE Auction 'De Fonteine': buy a piece of Ghent history

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‘De Fonteine’

On December 9, 1448, 'De Fonteine' was officially recognized by the Magistrate of Ghent as a chamber of rhetoric - a poetry and theater company with a coat of arms, motto and patron saint. ‘Als past bi apetite’ is the motto of this first room in Ghent, the blazon of which represents a fountain with three gutters, a symbolic reference to its patron, the ‘Holy Trinity’. The room had/has its chapel in the Sint-Niklaas church.

The most famous achievement of De Fonteine in the sixteenth century was the organization in 1539 of a theater competition in which nineteen chambers from Flanders and Brabant took part, with for the first time in history the publication of the texts in print. Due to the heterodox content of several of these plays, the book was declared prohibited reading by the central government, which certainly did not prevent the appearance of clandestine re-editions.

The seventeenth century is a very quiet time, but from about 1700 the room became very active again. The rich archive of De Fonteine therefore goes back to the beginning of the eighteenth century. Throughout the nineteenth century, the chamber, which was honoured with the title of 'Royal' by William I in 1819, played a leading role in Ghent's cultural life with its own performances and the organization of poetry and drama competitions.

In the course of the twentieth century, under the impulse of Paul de Keyser and Antonin van Elslander, professors of Dutch literature at Ghent University, De Fonteine abandoned traditional rhetoric practice in favour of the historical-scientific study of rhetoric literature and culture.

At the end of 2021, the archive of De Fonteine is transferred to the library of Ghent University. The three cupboards in which it was kept and the other furniture (including the conference table, twelve chairs, a suitcase and three pedestals) were (from 2007) until 2022 in a room in the Abrahamstraat, in the former City Archives or the so-called 'Mountain of Mercy'. In the eighteenth century, De Fonteine had its premises successively in the 'Wapen van Spaignen' in the Hoogpoort, the 'Gangsken' in the Marjoleinstraat and the inn 'La Bonne Aventure' in the Akkerstraat. From 1790 to 1849 she lived and played the stage in the 'Parnassusberg' on the Houtlei, then in the Minardschouwburg in the Walpoortstraat. In the twentieth century, De Fonteine had its premises in the Bijloke and, until 2007, at the Begijnhofdries. The current board of the chamber consists entirely of alumni and professors of Ghent University.

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Auction 'De Fonteine': buy a piece of Ghent history

This is an online, live auction. As logged in user, you can bid online on auction items during the running time of the auction.

  • Bidding from: 06/03/2023
  • Bid until: 20/04/2023, 20:00

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