It is in 1948 in the beautiful land of southern Burgundy that the first steps take place.
Very soon fingers, then hands start to scratch and shape the beautiful yellow red clay.
The creation of pearl necklaces is followed by that of characters or fantastic animals and earthen pots with the aid of an initial potter’s wheel made from a bicycle wheel: all this in an immense wine vat, named with the youngest brother, Emmanuel, “earth factory”, DEB WORKSHOP.
Then came the passion for wood and stone.
After dreary and depressing studies, it’s a diploma in Woodwork. But with no interest in doors or windows, training in modeling and sculpture with the chalk stone of Burgundy begins.
One morning in 1971, thanks to the eldest brother Christian, it is the discovery of the gilding trade, then the wonderful magic of gold fever which consumes the bloke from Burgundy.
After hitchhiking to Paris, a quick search in a telephone booth, porte d’Orléans, leads to the workshops of the Parisian gilders.
The Maury workshop is located at the top of the interminable Oberkampf Street, very close to “Menilmuche”.
That very afternoon Pierre and his wife Zélia Maury accept without hesitation to impart their knowledge, give their friendship.
They entrust everything, even the meaning of life, of listening to others, of all others.
These two years pass too quickly and at 22 years of age it is the installation of a gilder’s workshop, with the older brother Gérard, painter and restorer.
The younger brother Emmanuel, sculptor and restorer, also joins the BOULEVARD THIERS WORKSHOP.
Very soon the shop of the three brothers becomes a training ground for multiple artistic expression.
And with the reputation of their work, large orders arrive.
600 years after the famous gilder Broederlam, the restoration of the two magnificent altar pieces of the Dukes
of Burgundy is entrusted to the workshop. Newspapers, television and film cover the event. Seven young apprentices
are employed and trained and become companions of the workshop. Work orders from the National Trust Monuments
and French Museums follow in quick succession and private customers rush in. So much so that in 1981 it is the exile
from Dijon; two companions take over the workshop.
With wife and fellow gilder, Solange, doreuse “à dor(ée)r” and the three children it is the arrival in Lancharre- Chapaize,
not far from Cluny, in an old 17th century tile works. The family expands with the birth of two adorable boys. This splendid
Lancharre workshop is swarming with laughing children. They live in a 100 square metre workplace opening on all 4 sides
to the magnificent Burgundian forest. With this professional renewal an exceptional order arrives: seven years of work
to restore the gilded pieces of art of the entire Grenoble museum, a gigantic, enthralling project awarded to them
by Serge Lemoine. Three companions are hired to learn the trade. Little time is left for creativity, but a few days
are set aside each month. A series of contemporary mirrors is created, testimony to the gilded wood exhibition
“Gold and its Myth” at the Grand Palais in Paris. A series of gilded sculptures allows the perfecting of new techniques to satisfy the creative urge.
And then on the 6th June 2012, at 64 years of age, in full command of manual dexterity, after 46 years of restoration of wooden gilded works of art, a page is turned. The workshop is completely emptied, tools and machines sold, enabling the purchase of a ceramic kiln. And on the 3 big benches, 10 sculpting tools, 2 scalpels, 1 sponge… come to life. It is a return to the origins of the workshop: in the 15th century the Beguines of the village, the Ladies of Lancharre, established this beautiful tile works and the workers follow one another until the start of the 20th century. Today the clay is worked and fired, no longer for roof coverings, but to be adorned in gold.
In 40 years’ time… the continuation of this beautiful story.
SOME IMPORTANT DATES:1948-1963: Childhood in Burgundy. Modelling and sculpture in local clay.
1966-1967: C.A.P. certificat of aptitude professional. Matriculation in modelling and sculpture.
1969-1971: Apprenticed to Mr Maury in Paris.
1971-1981: Workshop in Dijon (antiques, private clients, Brandermlam religious alterpiece and sculptures, frames from the Grandville collection, from 17th centuryDijon Museum collection…).
1980: creation of a doreur assistant position for his wife who becames a doreur and partner in the workshop.
1981: Establishment in Chapaize (historic monuments works for the churches an cathedrals in eartern France. Grenoble Museum (1988-1995).
1990: Commission for a mural, 1% at Moissy Cramaielle.
1991: Commission for a mural, 1% at Hénouville.
1992: Commission for a mural, 1% Général post Office Paris.
1997: Medal TheAcademy of Architecture for the restoration of theThénissey alterpiece.
2000: Instruction at a sculpture Workshop classroom in Mount Gambier, South Australia.
2001: Heritage prize (prix du Patrimoine) for the restauration of the Saint Huruge alterpiece.
2003: Commissioned to the treasures of the French Museum collection (Paray-le-Monial, Chalon-sur-Saone, Dijon, Lyon, Lons-le-saunier, Epinal, Clamecy… The Cathedrals of Dijon, Autun, Auxerre…).
2011: Heritage cultural inventory for U.N.E.S.C.O.
2012: Dedication to Art.
ATELIER B.S. DELAVAL
List of major works for Historial Monuments: