The Montias Database of 17th Century Dutch Art Inventories

[anon.] A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z

How to Use the Montias Database

The Montias Database comprises two related tables of data, Inventories (Montias1), detailing information about each inventory consulted, and Art Objects (Montias2), detailing information about works of art in the inventory.

An Inventory Search will return a results list of inventory records describing information about the inventory itself (inventory date, archive call number, purpose, etc.), the owner of the inventory (owner name, religion, occupation), as well as a complete listing of works of art in that inventory. The inventories may be browsed by owner name or date (above) or searched by available data fields. (See Advanced Search Inventories).

The Art Objects (Montias2) table may also be browsed and searched separately. An Art Search will return a results list of art records detailing information about the work of art (artist, title, subject object type, value, etc.) as well as source information about the inventory it pertains to. The art records can be browsed by artist name or searched by available data fields.
(See Advanced Search Art).


Sample Inventory Searches:

  • Find all inventories with 100 or more objects
  • Go to the Advanced Search Inventories screen. In the Number of Items field, select "Greater Than Or Equals" and enter "100" in the field. Click Find Records button.

  • Find all inventories from between 1600 and 1610
  • Go to Advanced Search Inventories screen. In the Inventory Date field, type "1600/1/1…1610/12/31". Click Find Records button.

  • Find all inventories containing works with mythological subjects that were owned by artists
  • Go to the Advanced Search Inventories screen. In the Owner Occupation field, enter "artist" and in the Subject field, enter "mythology". Click Find Records button.


Sample Art Searches:

  • Find all works of art by Rembrandt
  • Go to the Advanced Search Art screen. In the Artist field, enter "Rembrandt". Click Find Records button.

  • Find all art valued at more than 300 guilders
  • Go to the Advanced Search Art screen. In the Price (guilders) field, select "Greater Than" and enter "300" in the field. Click Find Records button.

  • Find all plaster casts owned by artists
  • Go to the Advanced Search Art screen. In the Object Type field, enter "plaster" and in the Owner Occupation field, enter "artist". Click Find Records button.


Search Tips:

  • Typing part of the word will return all close matches (ex.: "paint" returns "painter" as well as "painting")
  • Type * in a field to find all records containing information in that field.
  • Type = to find all records where a given field has no value (is empty).
  • * is a wildcard that can substitute for letters of the alphabet when searching for variant spellings (ex.: Ke*ser to search for both Keyser and Keijser)
  • See list of terms used throughout the database.

Disclaimer: It was Montias’ expressed wish that the data he collected be presented unedited. This means that occasional errors or inconsistencies have remained uncorrected.


Inventory Information (Montias1)

The following fields can be searched on the Advanced Search Inventories page. The advanced search page returns a results list of inventory records detailing information about the inventory, the owner of the goods, and all of the art objects recorded. To perform a search that returns art objects only, go to Advanced Search Art.

*n.b. Field names with asterisks can also be searched in the keywords search box above.

Inventory Number*   The inventory number as assigned by Montias for the database. Often referred to as "INVNO" in his notes.

Call Number   The archival call number of the inventory. For example, "NA 1066".

Archive Type   One of three main archive types: "Notarial", "Orphan Chamber", or "Desolate Boedelskamer" (Chamber of Insolvent Estates).

Purpose   The purpose or reason why the inventory was taken. (Ex: "death inventory", "auction" "insolvent individual", "inventory of goods sold", "marriage contract", "division of estate", etc.)

Inventory Date*   The date the inventory was taken. Enter year first, for example, "1597/10/01". To search date ranges use dates separated by "..." (n.b. "1600/1/1...1610/12/31" will return everything from 1600-1610, while "1600...1610" will return everything in between 1600 and 1610).

Introductory Text   Verbatim text of the introduction and the postscript written in Dutch from the original document.

Owner Name*   The full inverted name of the owner of the goods in the inventory. For example, "Bergh" will return all names with that surname, while "Bergh, Jan van den" returns just one record.

Owner Notes*   This field further identifies the owner of the goods (ex.: "late wife of Evert Jansen") or indicates any co-owners (ex.: "and his widow Anna Claes").

Owner Religion*   Identifies the religious affiliation of the owner of the goods. (Ex.: "Calvinist", "Reformed", "Lutheran", "Roman Catholic", "Jewish", "Mennonite")

Type of Marriage Ceremony   "K" signifies that the ceremony took place in the church (in de kerk). In most cases, this is referring to the Reformed Church. "Pui" (sometimes just "P") denotes a secular ceremony that was posted on the pui or façade of the town hall.

Owner Occupation*   Occupation identifies the occupation of the owner of the goods, for example "merchant" or "artist". Often a more general category like "merchant (largescale)" is followed by a more specific one "wine, brandy". see all occupations

Residence   Indicates the location of the owner’s house. For example, "Op de Oude Singel omtrent de gasthuijs Molenbrugh in Amsterdam".

Commentary*    Commentary or "TEXT" contains historical information about the owner of the goods sold or about the individual at whose request the inventory was taken or the sale was made. The sources are abbreviated. In addition to outside sources, Montias often refers to information about buyers of individual works of art (see Montias2 Record Number field below).

Notary   Name of the person who notarized the document or the auction master.

Appraiser   The name(s) of the appraiser(s) of the inventory. These may be the sworn appraisers of the city gesworene taxeersters, or specialists from the St. Lucas guild who sometimes appraised art. (e.g. "Lijsbeth Martens").

Number of Items   A count of the items listed in the inventory.

Total Inventory Value   For the purposes of searching, inventory value is a rounded integer of the total worth of the inventory in gulden. Within the records themselves, a more precise value, listing gulden, stuivers, and penningen may be offered.

Total Art Value   For the purposes of searching, art value is a rounded integer of the total worth of the art in the inventory in gulden. Within the records themselves, a more precise value, listing gulden, stuivers, and penningen may be offered.

Total Book Value   For the purposes of searching, book value is a rounded integer of the total worth of the books in the inventory in gulden. Within the records themselves, a more precise value, listing gulden, stuivers, and penningen may be offered.

Montias1 Record Number*   Montias1 Record Numbers are for searching "Montias1" (inventory) database records. Montias only rarely refers to these numbers in his commentary, preferring instead to cite the inventory numbers (cited as INVNO).



Art Object Information (Montias2)

*n.b. Field names with asterisks can also be searched in the keywords search box on the browse art only pages.

Artist*   Use this field to search for inventories that contain the work of a specific named artist. For example, "Porcellis, Jan (I)". You can search on all or part of the name. For example, "rembrandt" for "Rembrandt van Rijn".

Verbatim Entry*   An exact transcription of the entry describing the object as it appeared in the original Dutch inventory. For example, drie groote stucken schilderij landschappen.

Title*   Derived from the literal transcription of the object as it appeared in the original Dutch inventory. For example, landschap.

Subject*   The general theme of the work of art. For example, "landscape", "genre", "New Testament", "portraits", "still life", et.al. see all subject terms

Object Type*   A description of the object. For example, "painting", "print", "statue", "crucifix", "map", "coat-of-arms", et.al. see all object types

Room   Many times the location of the object inventoried has been recorded. These are transcribed literally, for example, Op't groten bovencamer.

Price   For the purposes of searching, art value is a rounded integer of the value of a single object in an inventory in gulden. Within the records themselves, a more precise value, listing gulden,stuivers, and penningen may be offered.

Buyer Name*   Buyer Name refers to the full name of the buyer of an object at auction. For example, "Jacob Cornelisz."

Buyer Notes   Buyer Notes is a long text field where Montias included original research and biographical information about the buyer and the buyer's family. The notes often refer to external sources or particular art object records that can be searched in the art search section.

Buyer Relation   Relationship (if any) of the buyer of the work of art to the owner.

Buyer Occupation   identifies the occupation of the buyer of the object listed in the inventory, for example "merchant" or "artist". Often a more general category like "merchant (largescale)" is followed by a more specific one "wine, brandy". see all occupations

Buyer Religion   identifies the religious affiliation of the buyer of the object, for example "Lutheran", "Roman Catholic", or "Jewish".

Montias2 Record Number   Montias2 Record Numbers are for searching "Montias2" (art item) database records. These point the researcher to historical information gathered on buyers of works of art.