Gerson Digital : Denmark


8.5 Gelton's Estate

According to the Accounts, Gelton received his last salary payment on 28 August 1680. That he must have died in the autumn of 16801 is clear from an open letter from the King of 9 October 1680.2


Make known to all that it has pleased us to agree to and permit that the corpse of the deceased Tousainet Gelton may be buried without ceremony in the evening in the cemetary of the Holmens Church. Issued etc.

Copenhagen dated: 9. October 1680.3

On the first weekday after the issue of the open letter followed a royal command to have an inventory of Gelton’s estate drawn up:4

Mathias Moth,5 member of the Chancery and Assessor Willum Worm,6 concerning the registration of the late Tousainet Gelton’s property and the delivery of part of the manuscripts and paintings to Chamberlain Lützow.7


It has pleased us and it is our wish and command that each of you at once go to the place in our royal residence city Copenhagen, where the goods left by our former painter, the deceased Tousainct Gelton, are located, to have them registered under the supervision of our Chamberlain, our dear Henning Lützow, and the marble painter Christian Bracht [1],8 and then to have them sealed and stored under close supervision, with the exception of the manuscripts and the paintings that they include. These must – once registered – be transferred to our above mentioned Chamberlain Henning Lützow, as it pleases us to keep these against payment, […].

Copenhagen dated 16 October 1680.9

Without doubt we here have an explanation for why Gelton’s letters and notes came to be preserved in the Danish Royal Library. The following document concerning the settlement of Gelton’s estate appeared on the Monday following this order.10

Anoniem 1691 gedateerd (?)
(Self)portrait of Christian van Bracht, dated 1691 (?)
panel, oil paint 49 x 40 cm
Hillerød, The National Museum of History Frederiksborg Castle, inv./ A 4010


On last 16 October we ordered you to register and store under supervision the bequeathed goods of our former painter, the deceased Toussainct11 Gelton, with the exception of what we would keep separate against payment. Now it has been our pleasure and it is our wish and command that you will now immediatedly have the auction master here in our royal residence city Copenhagen draw up an accurate list of the good of said Gelton, so that these may afterward be auctioned at the highest possible price, from which money Gelton’s creditors may be paid according to their justified claims. As he specified in his last will, the remaining amount is to have a religious destination and this remainder will be passed on to our honored presidium: Burgomaster and Council, here in this city towards the construction of the church in Christianshavn […].11

Copenhagen, 16 November 1680.12

It appears that Gelton never married, because no heirs are named. The aforementioned Accounts show that in March 1681 the king acquired the paintings left by Gelton for 900 rix-dollars.


1 Not in the first half of the year, as Weilbach believes (Kunstnerlex., I, 296).

2 Sjællandske Registre 1679-80, 598.

3 ‘G[iøre] a[lle] V[itterligt] at Vj allernaadigst hafuer beuilget oc tilladt, saa oc hermed beuilger oc tillader, at afgangne Tousainet Gelton Liig, maa uden nogen Ceremonier om afftenen udj Holmens Kierchegaard begrafues. Gifuit etc. / Hafn. d: 9. Octobr. 1680’.

4 Sjællandske Tegnelser, XLII, 385 ff.

5 The author of the larger, unpublished dictionary (Biogr.Lex., XI).

6 Later Chief Justice at the High Court.

7 The later Commander of the convents on Lolland-Falster {verify} and Commissioner in Nykøbing (see Biogr.Lex, X).

8 The royal lacquer worker Christian [van] Bracht, who on 19 March 1676 was paid 300 rix-dollars ‘by bill of exchange to Geltung’, cf. Weilbach, Kunstnerlex. I, 112, 296.

9 ‘W[oris] N[aade] T[ilforn]. Woris allernaadigste Villie og befaling er, at J Eder strax til eet sted j Voris Kongl: Residentz Stad Kiøbenhafn, hvor Voris forige Contrafeyrs [afgagne] Tousainct Geltons efterladte midler er bestaaende, begifver. og der dennem j Voris Cammer Junchers Os Elsckelig Henning Lützow og marmorerers Christian Brachtis ofver værelse rigtigen registerer, og siden under forseigling i god forvaring hensetter undertagen hvis manu Schripta og Contrafeyer som der iblant findis. Hvilche j, naar de ere Registerede bemelte Voris Camer Juncher Henning Lützow paa anfordring imod hans qvitering hafver at lade følge, Eftersom Vj dennem imod betaling, allernaadigst Ville Beholde, Bef: etc. / Hafn. d. 16 octobr. 1680.’

10 According to Siellandske Tegnelser, XLII, 409 (Rigsarkiv). Otto Andrup kindly drew my attention to the three documents in the Siel. Reg. and Siel. Tegn that are mentioned here.

11 In the introduction to the aforementioned open letter of 9 October 1680 (Siel. Reg. 1679-80, 598) and in the table of contents of the register (p. 747) the name is written as ‘Tousainet’.

12 As is known it was especially owing to Queen Charlotte Amalie and her mother, the above-mentioned Princess Hedvig Sophie, that the wish of the Protestant community of Copenhagen to have a church of its own was later granted. The funds for the building of this edifice, which were raised in various ways – the Queen herself donating 11,000 rix-dollars – included, as Gelton had requested, the surplus of his estate. C.v. Rommel, Geschichte von Hessen, IX, 40, 55; Trap, Danmark, I, 90, with reference.

13 ‘W.N.T. Eftersom Vi eder d: 16. October sidst forleden allernaadigst hafver befalet Voris forige Contrafeyer afgangne Toussainct Geltons efterladte middeler ad registere og Vnder forvaring ad hensette, undertagen hvis Vj deraf for betaling Ville beholde. Da er Voris allernaadigste Villie og befaling, at j nu strax lader tilstille Auctions-Forvalteren her i Voris Kongl: Residentz Stad Kiøbenhafn en rigtig forteignelse paa forschrefne Geltons midler, Som dennem derefter udj eders ofverværelse, foruden nogen Solarium derfor at prætendere, behørigen hafver at auctionere og det höyeste mueligt er i penge udbringer, af hvilche penge i bem.te Geltons creditorer, for deris retmessige til Krauf og fordring efter hannem tilbørligen hafver at betale, og som han paa sit yderste skal hafve ordonerit at det, som fra hans beviislige bortskyldige gield kunde til ofvers blifve, skulle til gudelig brug anvendis, hafver j Resten til os Elsckelig Præsig: Borgemester og Raad her i Staden til Christianhafns Kierchis opbyggelse imod behørig quitering at levere Dermed etc. / Hafn: d:16 Novembr. 1680.’

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