December 14, 2011
Frédéric Nobili, a wood carver based in Breuil-Magne, carried out the massive sculpted ornaments below the quarter galleries (at the back of the ship).
Since early October, the sculptor has gone through a series of steps: taking measurements, manufacturing the corresponding templates, assembling the wooden pieces (with a glulam technique) and sculpting the ornaments.
These side ornaments consist of two parts: a triangular piece being placed below the quarter galleries, used at that time for the draining of the latrines, and a piece on the side called “cul-de-lampe” or corbel. The cul-de-lampe is decorated with acanthus leaf motifs, particularly used in Baroque architecture, inspired by the leaves of a Mediterranean plant species (Acanthus).
Nobili has also called on James Prouteau, a befriended carpenter, to assist in taking the rather complex measurements—not something a sculptor traditionally does.
Nobili used Swedish pine, also called red spruce due to the slightly pink hue the wood obtains during drying. This material, also used for the figurehead, has many advantages; it’s easy to carve and has good water resistance (due to its resin).
Placement trials were performed before finally installing the pieces, and the whole was painted during the month of December.