Despite the crisis, the restoration of Tocqueville’s church continues. After the painting The Sacrifice of Abraham, the high altar is the subject of the care of several specialized craftsmen. After a brief historical reminder, the works in progress are described.
A little history:
During the Revolution, Louis Dudouy, parish priest of Tocqueville, and his vicar Jean François Michel Le Charpentier were ordered to take the oath, requested by the civil constitution of the clergy. The oath was taken in terms that rendered it null and void. The two priests went into exile. The church is not sold, but completely devastated in 1793.
Bon-Charles Anthouard, from Valcanville, became parish priest in 1820. Etienne-Jean-Philippe Aubin (1794-1863), carpenter from Valcanville, under the direction of the priest, raised the high altar and a altarpiece with two columns, its ion capitals, two false console niches, the summoned of two large volutes and a radiant glory. It’s the one that’s still visible today.
Just-Joseph Dupond, priest of Tocqueville in 1839, set up the statues of Saint Laurent (bought 400 francs thanks to a grant from Alexis de Tocqueville) and Saint Vincent. The great central painting, The Resurrection, by Legenvre, is dated 1847.
The high altar was inscribed as a historical monument on June 28, 1985.
Works in progress:
The restoration of the master altar with its altarpiece, its statues and its painting began in March 2020 when the cabinet-making company Bresson dismantled several elements for renovation in the workshop. Their reassembly and the consolidation of several pieces, in particular the attachment to the wall, were carried out in June 2020.
The radiant glory and the painting The Resurrection were also laid down. The glory was renovated on site. The painting left in July to the workshops of Agnès Archimbaud and Pauline Ruiz.
The 15th century stone statue of the Virgin and Child, originally located above the tabernacle, has been restored in Frédéric Rouchet’s workshop in Granville. In October 2020, it was placed on the altar of the Rosary Chapel. The restoration of the statues of St Laurent and St Vincent was carried out on site.
In November, Delphine Hue, master craftsman in polychromy and gilding on wood, undertook a long work of cleaning and restoring the paintings and gilding.
Beneath the layer of faux marble paint, she discovered an angel face that would allow her to imagine a first scenery very different from the current look. After advice taken from the Curator of Antiquities and Art Objects of the department, and agreement of the municipality and our Association, it was decided to release the Adoring Angels entirely (photo at the top).
The painting and gilding is just finished. It remains now to rise the radiant glory as well as the great painting, as soon as it returns, scheduled in March 2021.
Thus, the high altar will have found a new youth and part of its original decor, almost two centuries after its construction.