The second series of postage stamps depicting the 16th century drawings by Jean BERTELS, abbot of Echternach. The drawings selected can be found in the "Grand Bertels" kept in the National Archives in Luxembourg.
Bettemburch, (today Bettembourg)
|Series price:||84 + 14 = 98 LUF|
|Photos:||André Hatz, Archives Nationales;|
|Printing process:||photogravure by Hélio Courvoisier S.A.; Fluorescent paper,|
|Format :||35.96 x 28 mm, 5 colours; 20 stamps per sheet.|
On 18 March 1571 Jean Bertels completed a small geographical work intended primarily for his own personal use: it was a little vade-mecum, an aide-memoire with a cartulary, a censer and a cadastral survey - drawn from the abbey archives. It gave him a clear overview of the abbey estates and income, of which he was the administrator. He was accustomed to supplementing it with small drawings representing different places, and with the coats of arms of those who drew profits from the estates. When he was made abbot, he added a few pages at the beginning with a view of Luxembourg, a historic view of Altmunster Abbey, destroyed in 1544 and also a series of coats of arms, completed with those of his own family.
Next, he started compiling and illustrating a similar but more comprehensive work, almost a second edition of his aide-memoire, listing details of the estates and income of Notre-Dame de Munster abbey. Among the finished drawings is to be found one of Cattenom where Jean Bertels used to enjoy staying in a presbytery belonging to his abbey.
In 1595, Jean Bertels was appointed head of the abbey of Saint-Willibrord at Echternach and he started to compile a similar aide-memoire based on a study of the archives of the abbey, which was strong in tradition. Using a structure with drawings at the head of texts about different towns and villages, he managed to describe the residents' daily life in close detail, as did many authors of geographical works of the time.
He also began compiling a vade-mecum for Echternach on a very modest scale - more or less like the initial one about Munster - the drawings for which were not finished. It gives the impression that Jean Bertels used it to prepare his texts, and then chose to use a larger format because of the drawings. If the manuscript is examined, it becomes clear that the abbot drew the sketches in the course of his inspections of the abbey estates. At Echternach he had already prepared the outline followed by the texts based on the archives. He had not managed to visit everywhere before he died in 1607, and a series of spaces inscribed with the name of the town or village, has remained blank.