Friday, January 25, 2013

‘T. Carli’ Statues in Sacred Heart Church – Peterborough, Ontario

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‘T. Carli’ Statues in Sacred Heart Church – Peterborough, Ontario

In my Wednesday posting to this Blog I was ‘wondering’ about the artist that had painted the Statue of Mary, the Queen of Heaven.  As you may have read I am now helping with the restoration and painting of the statues of Sacred Heart Church in Peterborough, Ontario.

Yesterday a local reporter and photographer came to meet me at the church to begin the story about the statues.

While taking the photographs a step ladder was brought out for me to stand on… up nearer to Jesus… who now stands at the 13 foot mark in the church.

Perched on the very top of the ladder I remembered that there was an inscription on the base of the statue of Jesus.  I took out my pen and carefully wrote on my hand “T. Carli Montreal”.

Going to a Google search I found some amazing stories about “T. Carli” and who and worked for them.

It seems that 90 year old Pierre Petrucci was my first story to read.  Pierre and five generations of his family had been involved in the production of religious statues.  Their family came from Tuscan, Italy and were known as a long line of craftsmen and sculptors.  They arrived in Montreal in 1908 and established a company known as Atelier Petrucci Frères Limited”.

Their main competition was also from Tuscan, Italy and had established a very good company known as “T. Carli”.  T. Carli was established in 1867.

In 1923 the Atelier Petrucci Frères Limited” bought out their main competitor “T. Carli” and the new company was “T. Carli-Petrucci Limited”

So this discovery was all about Italians.  The statues had Italian roots!

Speaking with Father Ervens, the Pastor at Sacred Heart Church, he told me that one of his older parishioners had told him the Sacred Heart Church in Peterborough had been known as the ‘Italian Church’ by the locals.  At that turn of the century 1900 there had been many Italians living in Peterborough.

So… purchasing some ‘Made by Italians’ statues was the only proper thing to do, so I surmise.

But who painted it?  The person was definitely more than a simple crafter.

It was at this stage that the names of The Quebec painter Ozias Leduc came up. Ozias was from Saint-Hilaire, Quebec. In 1883 he was a statue painter for T. Carli.

You can read more about his life and influence at

 Leduc taught Paul-Émile Borduas and influenced Jean-Paul Riopelle – two great Canadian artists!!!

But maybe it could have been another artist ‘Joseph-Olindo Gratton’. I read this of Joseph…
“For over sixty years, Joseph-Olindo Gratton (1855-1941) made his career in the Montreal area, first as an ornamental sculptor and wood-worker, then as a statuary. He saw himself as an artist-sculptor. His works were executed in clay, plaster, cement, wood (sometimes covered in metal). He also conceived works in stone and bronze. In total, over three-hundred works, produced between 1877 and 1939, are attributed to him.” (see )

So the search goes on. The work is definitely done by a ‘Master’!!!

It is at this stage that I quiver and shake. How can I possibly step up to do this restoration work in a proper way? Oh I can paint and I can duplicate… I am capable… but as a ‘Master’ I am not so sure.

Fast forward… to a time after my death… and a young man (or maybe one older like me) will be looking carefully at the Statue of Mary… and wondering what they will do to refurbish the paint job of these Two Hundred year old Statues.  Hmmm?

~ Murray Lincoln ~
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