An appraisal required for the Chartres Jubé

1. France, c. 1230-1240
Fragment of the Rood Screen from the
Chartres Cathedral.
Upper Part from the Central Rose
Limestone - 163 x 62 x 7 cm
Paris, Galerie Brimo de Laroussilhe
Photo : Galerie Brimo de Laroussilhe

29/10/10 – Heritage – Chartres Jubé – The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris made a surprising decision on 28 October in the case of the rood screen fragment from Chartres claimed by the government from the Brimo de La Roussilhe Gallery.

It was generally expected that the court would decide in favor of one or the other of the two sides, but instead, it demanded a reopening of the debate and now requires that an expert appraisal be carried out to determine if it is possible that “the fragment in question corresponds to the bas relief constituting the counterpart to the previous one and composed of symbolic animals quoted in the Lassus report”. The expert will also be required to “give an opinion concerning the possibility of determining the possible date of removal of the work and if so, state it precisely” and to “provide any other elements which would be useful in resolving the litigation”.

The appointed specialist, Louis Prieur, is a heritage architect, an expert since 1995 for the Paris Court of Appeals in the field of “architect” and “historical monuments”. He is to submit his conclusions before 15 February 2011 [1].
Concerning the two main points requested in the expert appraisal, we have already shown here that the fragment cannot be the one quoted in the Lassus report (see article in French). As for determining the exact date it was removed from the cathedral, while it seems sure that it cannot have been after 1837, we believe it is impossible to say any more given the lack of further information. The fragment left the cathedral between 1763, the year the rood screen was destroyed, and 1837. This conclusion is, in fact, also shared by Vincent Cochet, who was then curator in charge of the cathedral in his report of 24 July 2007, before the Ministry of Culture changed opinion and claimed in the face of contrary evidence that the fragment had disappeared after 1848 (see our previous articles [2].

Didier Rykner, vendredi 29 octobre 2010


[1] Unless an extension is duly solicited before the required time.

[2] Our readers will note that the sign for the fragment which appeared on the Palissy base mentioning “government property” was removed when we pointed out its existence.)

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