Quebec, QB Quebec Seminary Fire, Jan 1888



QUEBEC, Jan. 4.----On New Year's morning a fire destroyed the seminary chapel. It was built in 1735. The loss of the building is nothing in comparison with the loss of the paintings, some of which had been in the possession of the chapel of the Ursuline Ladies, which were for the most part bought in France before the year 1815. The Ursulines came to Quebec in 1639. Their present chapel was built in 1733. The seminary is really the preparatory school of Laval University. Upon the side of the building toward the St. Lawrence River the walls are nine feet thick and were erected nearly 200 years ago as a protection against the cannon balls that might be fired from the river. In the seminary chapel before it was destroyed the shrine on the chief altar contained the relics of St. Clement; that on the left contained relics of St. Modestus. The pictures that are now most unfortunately lost are named below in this order as the visitor passed around the room to the right on entering:

1. "The Saviour and the Woman of Samaria at Jacob's Well, near Sychar." (St. John, iv.,) by Lagrenee.
2. "The Virgin Ministered unto by the Angels," who are represented as preparing the linen clothes for the child Jesus, by Dieu.
3. In the lateral chapel on the right, a large figure of the Saviour on the cross at the precise moment described by the Evangelist, (St. John, xix., 30,) by Monet.
4. At the entrance, "The Egyptian Hermits in the Solitude of Thebais," by Guiliot. 5. In the Chancel, "The Terror of St. Jerome at the Recollection of a Vision of the Day of Judgment." by d'Hullin.
6. "The Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ," by P. Champagne.
7. "The Saviour's Sepulcher and Interment," by Hutim.
8. Above the altar, "The Flight of Joseph to Egypt," by Vanloo. Immediately above is a small oval delineating two angels. by Lebrun.
9. "The Trance of St. Anthony, on Beholding the Child Jesus," by Parrocel d' Avignon. 10. "The Day of Pentcost," (Acts11.,) by Ph. Champagne.
11. "St. Peter's Deliverance from Prison," (Acts xii.,) by De La Fosse.
12. At the entrance of the lateral chapel on the left, another view of the hermits of Thebais, by Guillot.
13. In the rear, "The Baptism of Christ," (St. Matthew, ili.,) by Claude Guy Hallé. 14. "St. Jerome Writing," by J. B. Champagne.
15. "The Wise Men of the East Adoring the Saviour," (St. Matthew, il.,) by Rounleu.

The paintings in the Chapel of the Ursuline Ladies were not as valuable as the pictures that have been destroyed. However, in the room the number of relics which are of interest is large. Those of Montcalm in particular are attractive. Over the front door are these:

"Jesus Sitting Down at Meat at Simon's House," "Mary Magdelena," by Ph. Champagne; "Death of St. Jerome," from the Domenichine; "The Guardian Angel." On the Epistle side are these:

1. "Bishop St. Nonus Admitting to Penance St. Pelagie." J. Prudhomme, 1737. 2. "The Wise and the Foolish Virgins," from Florence.
3. "Montcalm's Monument," by Lord Aylmer, in 1831.
4. "The Miraculous Draught of Fishes," Dieu, 1741.
5. "The Virgin, the Infant, and St. Catherine V. and Martyr."
6. "Monument in Honor of the Marquis of Montcalm," erected the 14th of September, 1859; the words by the French Acadeny, in 1763; the marble from the United States; the engraver, Mr. F. Morgan of Quebec.
7. "St. Theresa in Ecstasy," "The Annunciation," sculpture on the two doors near the altar; "The Birth of Christ," "The Shepherds above the Altar," Vigneau.

In the side chapel, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, are these:

"The Saviour Exhibiting His Heart to the Religious."
"The Saviour Preaching. " Champagne.
"The True Portrait of the Saviour, according to St. Luke."
"The Virgin and the Infant."

Upon the Gospel side, near the pulpit, are the following:

"Redemption of Captives at Algiers by Fathers of Mercy." By Restaut.
"France Offering Religion to the Indians of Canada." An allegory.
"St. Peter Concealing Himself to Witness the Sufferings of Christ." Spanish school.

The loss of the paintings in the seminary is one that can never be replaced. They represented as rare a collection of religious paintings as can be found on this side of the Atlantic. Lovers of art, especially lovers of religious art, will feel deeply grieved at the loss.

The New York Times, New York, NY 5 Jan 1888