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Church of St. Augustine


On August 30, 1864, the Duke of Morny solemnly laid the first stone of the Saint-Augustin church, erected on land ceded nine days earlier by the Société immobilière de Deauville. Built by the architects Desle-François Breney and Anatole Jal in the center of an enclosed garden, the building was consecrated on July 30, 1865 by the bishop of Bayeux. The cemetery is laid out outside the limits of the new town, on the heights of Mount Canisy.

The architectural program reflects the pronounced taste of this era for eclecticism: the bell tower-porch offers a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque style, the nave, extended by a semicircular apse and confined by two aisles punctuated by buttresses in whistle, inspired by the basilica plan of early Christian religious buildings. The central vessel, initially with eight spans, is lit by curved bays pierced in the upper parts. The polychrome brick animates the exterior elevations, the limestone being reserved for the treatment of some elements, including the portal executed by Kammer and the statue of Saint Augustine, work of the sculptor Jules Franceschi, located at the level of the eardrum.

The cul-de-four vault and the triumphal arch separating the nave from the choir are decorated with a fresco by the Toulouse painter Louis Brodier. Representing Saint Augustine sitting at the center of the prophets and doctors of the Church, it was removed during the campaign of works carried out between 1929 and 1931 by the architects Paul and Raymond Delarue. These extend the nave by two additional spans, add a transept and an ambulatory connecting the aisles and provide an axial chapel to the southeast. The main north-west facade is decorated with a remarkable set of nine paintings on enamelled lava executed in 1866 by Jules Jollivet, pupil of Antoine Gros. Seven curved panels depict the New Testament evangelists and the allegories of theological virtues: Hope, Faith and Charity.
Two medallions represent Saint Paul and Saint Peter.

Twenty years earlier, in 1844, Jules Jollivet had designed a set of thirteen panels for the western facade of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul church in Paris, at the request of the architect Jacques Ignace Hittorff. The decoration, considered too suggestive, was deposited at the request of the clergy even before its completion. The painter found in Deauville a home favorable to architectural innovations allowing him to put into practice the concepts of polychrome decoration, exposed by Hittorff in his work L'Architecture polychrome chez les Grecs published in 1851 and which then aroused in Paris a lively controversy.

Texts © Heritage Images

Church of St. Augustine2 Sandrine Boyer Engel