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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
Extracts of Matters of Historical Interest from "The Huissier, News For and About the Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff" By The Fortress of Louisbourg Heritage Presentation Staff
(September 8, 2003)
New Addition to the Chapel
By Ruby Powell, Collections Technician
As some of the staff has already seen and or heard, a new crucifix now graces the chapel wall in the Governor's wing of the King's Bastion. This crucifix was produced by a craftsman from mainland Nova Scotia, painted by a local artist and gilded by our very own conservator here at Louisbourg.
The reproduction is based on an original 18th century crucifix held in the Curatorial Collection. Jean Palardy purchased the original crucifix in 1969 while acquiring items in Europe to furnishing the Governor's wing and chapel. It hung in the chapel until the fire on October 15, 1974. The object sustained smoke damage and was sent to Ottawa for conservation treatment and was returned in October 1975. It was placed in storage due to its fragile state and the unstable environment conditions in the chapel. On March 23, 1996, an expert in 18th century European art examined the crucifix and commented that it was an "18th century corpus" and was suitable for the fortress chapel.
Catholic Bishop Raymond Lahey was here for a visit and had a discussion about the chapel setting with curator, Sandy Balcom. Bishop Lahey noted that Churches and Chapels typically had two crucifixes. The first was placed on the altar (one small which we now have) that the priest would face while performing the rights of the Eucharist. The second was typically placed near the exit of the church or chapel to remind parishioners of their faithful duties as they were leaving. After a short discussion, it was mutually decided to place the crucifix on the wall behind the barrier on the first pillar where it would not sustain any possible damage.
Adorning churches and chapels was a common practice. The gilded angels were a wonderful addition but were sustaining damage and one was sent back to conservation while the other is in the sacristy. Bishop Lahey mentioned using larger paintings and with this in mind, we are now considering adding another painting but we also need to consider the unstable chapel environment.