the steps of the restoration.

The Père Lachaise cemetery stretches over 43 hectares (439,300 m2). It counts nearly 70 00 concessions and more than 200 are considered as famous people: Molière, La Fontaine, Balzac, Apollinaire, Eluard, Oscar Wilde, Racine, Daudet, Chopin, Piaf, Jim Morrison, Henri Salvador, Bécaud, Moustaki, Michel Petrucciani, Maria Callas, ...

Restoration of graves, a private matter

The cemetery service manages 20 Parisian cemeteries, including the Père Lachaise cemetery, with 634 000 concessions. It has a budget for the restoration of monuments of the order of 40 000 to 50 000 € per year. The City of Paris is not obliged to preserve, restore, clean or repair the graves of cemeteries. This budget is therefore allocated to monuments and burials belonging to the City of Paris. According to French law, since funerary monuments are private property, it is legally the responsibility of the owners of these monuments to maintain, repair and restore them.

Père Lachaise, the constraints of a classified site

Part of the Père Lachaise cemetery is designated as a historical monument and Georges Méliès' grave, division 64, is not in this zone. However, in practice, in the case of renovation or works, burials and monuments belonging to private individuals follow the same administrative route as those in the classified zone.
The work of a private burial must:

  • to be reversible
  • have the approval of the ABF commission (Architectes des Bâtiments de France) before any intervention.
  • respond to the recommendations of the Conservatoire du Père Lachaise:
    • list of licensed art conservators (no question of taking a funeral parlor)
    • techniques used
    • tools
    • security
    • procedures and steps
    • annual calendar constraints.

1 - Bronze bust

  • cleaning the bust in situ: complete sandblasting using a micro-sandblaster to eliminate exogenous deposits and to reduce corrosion.
  • unclogging by using a scalpel or micro-chisel
  • 3 biocide treatment (3 successive treatments at 72h intervals) with application of a stretch film in order to avoid evaporation of the product
  • 2 layers of microcrystalline wax on the slightly heated bust
  • colored recovery using microcrystalline wax tinted with mineral pigments (hues of bronze color)
  • verified sealing

 

2 - Stele

  • unclogging using a scalpel or micro-chisel
  • light sandblasting
  • 3 biocide treatment (3 successive treatments at 72h intervals)
  • harmonization of the patina with the successive application of colored glazes composed of a mixture of natural lime

 

3 - Stele: green stain

  • unclogging using a scalpel or micro-chisel
  • light sandblasting
  • 3 biocide treatment (3 successive treatments at 72h intervals)
  • application of chemical compresses based on ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and ammonium bicarbonate
  • harmonization of the patina with the successive application of colored glazes composed of a mixture of natural lime

 

4 - Joint

  • humidification of the support
  • manufacture of a mortar based on hot
  • filling
  • restoring and repointing

 

5 - Grave

  • unclogging using a scalpel or micro-chisel
  • light sandblasting
  • 3 biocide treatment (3 successive treatments at 72h intervals)
  • harmonization of the patina with the successive application of colored glazes composed of a mixture of natural lime

 

6 - Grave lettering

  • resurfacing the tomb (due to bad weather and successive cleanings the tomb is not flat and has wavelets)
  • re-engraving of 342 letters without recapping or gilding with the "v" cutting effect
  • the whole of this operation will last 8 days.

 

7 - Reppointing

 

8 et 9 - Two corners
For each corner:

  • anti-oxidation treatment
  • anchoring and reassembly with a resumption of the sculpted angle (internal anchoring of the stone)
  • cleaning and treatment of oxidized parts
  • posts sealed
  • biocide treatment
  • patina harmonization

 

10 - Five posts
For 4 sealed posts:

  • stripping of paint in situ
  • consolidation
  • anti-corrosion treatment (zinc coating and water-repellent protection)
  • repainting multilayer anti-corrosion
  • posts sealed

For 1 unsealed post :

  • stripping old paint
  • consolidation
  • anti-corrosion treatment (zinc coating and water-repellent protection)
  • repainting multilayer anti-corrosion
  • post sealed

 

11 - Duplication of a cast iron post

  • Impression taking on an existing post (sand cast)
  • drawing of the cast iron object (11 kg of cast iron) in the workshop
  • post sealed
  • repointing
  • anti-corrosion multilayer paint

 

12 - Cast iron chain

  • setting up a 6 meter steel chain in cast iron
  • adjustment
  • anti-corrosion multilayer paint
  • manufacturing of 10 rings and welding on the chain (against theft)

 

13 - More

  • construction site instalation
  • travels of the 3 art restorers and the engraver
  • equipment rentals
  • purchase of products
  • insurance (items and people)
  • drafting of the intervention report: drafting of the report illustrated with photos before, during and after treatment with the details of the operations carried out, products used and observations observed during the intervention.

 

Remarks:

  • Actions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 are carried out by a company specialized in the restoration of art, accustomed to funerary monuments and Père Lachaise.
  • Actions 6 and 13 are performed by a company specialized in engraving and lettering on stone.
  • These detailed explanations have been written to the best of our knowledge and after careful reading of the specifications and technical file. We are neither art restorer nor skilled craftsman.
  • The amount of € 36,000 to be achieved is not the cost of the restoration. Indeed, to this amount must be subtracted: the manufacture of rewwards (15%), the communication (5%) and the commission that Kickstarter (8%) takes a total of 28%.

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