History

Pierre Bernard Mancel was born in Caen in 1798. He was a bookseller. In 1820, he founded a reading room and his own publishing house in Saint Jean street. From then on, he published several books. Most of them were dedicated to Normandy. As he was an expert collector, he travelled to Rome twice in 1843 and 1845 to attend the sales of the possessions of Cardinal Fesch, who was Napoleon’s uncle. There, he bought about 400 engraving books that represent more than 50,000 items. Among those pieces of collection, there are many reproductions, which are useful for knowledge, but also works of art by Dürer, Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Piranèse…

This donator , who was modest as well as liberal, bequeathed his treasures to the city of Caen in his will when he died in 1872. The city inherited forty five Dutch paintings from the 17th century, some Flemish and Italian paintings such as Madonna and Child by Roger Van Der Weyden and Saint Jacques de Cosimo Tura, objects of art and his print albums. They are now all exhibited at the Beaux Arts Museum.

signature mancel noir

I bequeath to the city of Caen, my home town, all my manuscripts, cartularies, ancient books, printed works, paintings, drawings, engravings, lithographs, curios, marbles, ivory cameos, artistic jewels, in a word all the objects of art and science that are part of my collection.
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