By Matilda Pires
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Work continues on Church of St. Bartholomew L’Egl (Orne). After the restoration of the lined vault in the fall of 2021, old ornaments were found on the altar and on the altar part (a vertical panel, usually painted, placed behind the altar in Christian churches).
These jewelry is not not visible, but they are present in the current colors. “At the moment, we see two shades of pink and white,” explains Camille Jordani Morel. A restorer-curator from Rouen studied the polychrome of the altarpiece together with another professional in her workshop. They worked on the spot for two days, then in the workshop for a week.
Camille Giordani Morel presents the results of the study, on Thursday, April 14, 2022, to the new owner of the church Daniel Lefebvre and the head of the mission of the Department of Heritage and Museums Cervan Demulens-Emery. Even if the church now belongs to the office of Lefebvre’s architects, the department is present because it is a place listed in historical monuments and robots get help.
Dark and bright tones such as red, green and blue
The original decor looks harmonious, with much more shimmering colors. There are dark and bright tones such as red, green, blue and gold.
Only the gilding of the previous decoration is still visible. Other colors are covered. “Initially, the altar had to have a strong visual presence,” concludes Camille Jordani Morel. The panel altarpiece dates from the end of the XVIII century. It is “dusty” and “dirty”, but not in very bad condition. Therefore, it can be cleaned. Construction is scheduled for the fall.
The Lefevre Architects’ Office invests in all the work on the church 700,000 euros. “We can’t go beyond that,” insists Daniel Lefebvre. A native of Krulai, the chief architect of historical monuments has worked in the field of heritage conservation for 40 years. He bought the church of Saint Barthelemy for 25,000 euros in June 2021. Funding for this project has not yet stopped, but it should receive several grants and assistance from associations and government agencies.
After researching the altar, the next stages of construction are masonry, opening side doors or fixing the foundations. System with drainage will also be put in place as the outer wall is damaged by rainwater. Archaeological excavations were carried out this winter to confirm the site. “They didn’t work, so we can install a drainage system,” explains Daniel Lefebvre. Construction should be completed in 2023.
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