by Dominique Laprie-Sentenac, ABF.
Chef de Poste.STAP Calvados.
René Lalique’s Faithful Virgin Chapel at Douvres-la-Delivrande is an exceptional work of art.
It is almost beyond description.
Mundanely, the mural structures are built of transparent glass blocks, as are the windows,the tabernacle and the communion table which embellish the choir.
Impressionably it is miraculous.
To discover it follow the Mother Superior de Reviers who will open the convent doors giving access to the chapel swathed in its luminous atmosphere.
In 1929, Lalique deposited a patent for a system composed of a vertical chromed metal framework into which slide mould ed glass (or half-crystal) elements, one on top of the other.
The assemblage of the various parts create a decorative panel.
The completed work is held in place and consolidated by a horizontal steel bar connecting the vertical frames.
The patent, however,did not culminate in industrial mass production.
The ensemble in Douvres is more a life size experiment of an artisanal nature.
A restoration program was undertaken in 1995 – 2003 under the supervision of Bruno Decaris. The framework was consolidated and the stainless steel replaced by chromed metal.
The greatest difficulty was the restoration of the chipped glass panels. Describing the techniques used would be too fastidious for a short note.
All the original block panels have been preserved. Each one is unique and not reproducible.
The design of the pattern, representing an animal a vegetable or a human, is as important as the mastering of the relief which gives off such luminous vibrations. It is impossible to imitate either the spirit or the touch of the artist who gave birth to such ethereal light.