In L’Aigle, a study found old ornaments in “shimmering” colors in the church of Saint Barthelemy

Camille Giordani Morel (right) presents the results of his research to Daniel Lefebvre, architect and church owner, and Cervan Demoulin-Emery, Head of Mission, Heritage and Museums © Reveil normand

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.

The wooden altar of the church of Saint Barthelemy dates back to the second half of the 18th century.
The wooden altar of the church of Saint Barthelemy dates back to the second half of the 18th century. © Norman Awakening

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.

Visiting the Church of St. Barthelemy 10 04 2022
The nave painting, dated 1619, was restored while working on the vault © Reveil normand

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.

Camille Giordani Morel, restorer-curator

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.

Visiting the Church of St. Barthelemy 10 04 2022
There seem to be inscriptions on the beam, restoration is planned © Reveil normand

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.

Church of St. Barthelemy
Along with the altarpiece, several statues in the church will also be restored © Reveil normand

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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