Advise from the expert

This evaluation was carried out at the request of the collective by Didier FAUGUET, stone sculptor, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, restorer of Historic Monuments, initiator of the Sentier des Arts de la Vallée des Peintres (Painters' Valley Art Trail) in the commune of Saint-Plantaire in the Indre Department.

Which type of granite ?

E It is the leucogranite of Crozant taken and used very locally

EIt is a coarse-grain stone with many defects, many fissureswhich can cause the stone to break spontaneously (there are lines of quartz and mica in the granite); this can cause micro-cracks in the stone. Moisture enters either from above or below. This is the whole problem of the fragility of these stones which disintegrate, even on the surface. On the one hand they can lose grains and on the other hand, "waterlogged granite becomes soft".

EThis granite is less difficult to work than very dense granites such as the blue granite from the Maupuy quarries.

EThis lower density allows it to absorb to some extentthe blows of the stonemason, but not the blows of the roadside maintenance machines !

What stones were used to carve the crosses ?

E Surface stones have often been used : flat horizontal stones in the ground which are flush with the ground and have two almost straight faces, so that all that is required is to slightly level the faces and cut the edges: this saves time.

E Stones have also been used in the form of mille-feuilles or « layers of stone » that can be split fairly easily.

EThe horizontal arms are quite short mainly due to the width of the stones used.

EAt the basethe piece of granite is rough. The part of the cross that is to be planted in the ground is not finished.

N.BOn this subject it would be interesting to check that all the crosses found whole/complete have a rough foot. If this is the case, it means that all these crosses were planted in the ground and that none were placed on a base.

The sculptors ?

EDidier FAUGUET estimates that it takes one month to make a cross..

EOf the crosses studied, some seem to have been carved with a concern for symmetry, others were made in a cruder manner. Some crosses were made with great skill and are the work of masters of their art, others are more crudely made. They seem to have been made by "apprentices".

ESince time immemorial in our region, many people had the basics of stone-cutting, if only to make a more or less straight face on the stone walls of their homes.

EMost of those who made these crosses did not work with geometric notions, but « bye eye » hence the slight asymmetry of the crosses.