Victor Bourgeau


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(1809–88). French-Canadian Diocesan Architect of Montreal, he carried out major renovations to the Church of Notre Dame (1872–80) to create a more convincing Gothic Revival interior. This was only one of some of his 23 remodellings of existing churches. In addition he designed over 20 new churches, of which his grandest in the Gothic Revival style is St-Pierre-Apôtre, Montreal (1851–3). Subsequently, his designs became less Gothic, possibly because of the enthusiastic reception of that style by the English Protestant Canadians. His Church of St-Barthélémy, Berthier, Quebec (1866–7), for example, was Classical, with a twin-towered western façade recalling the work of Thomas Baillargé. In 1854 Montreal Cathedral was destroyed by fire, and the Bishop conceived the idea of building a version of the basilica of San Pietro, Rome, to replace it. Accordingly, Bourgeau was sent to Europe to study various churches, but returned after only a week in Rome, convinced that a reproduction of the great Roman church would be a mistake. The Bishop then appointed Father Joseph Michaud (1823–1902) to design the replica and construction began in 1870. However, Michaud's lack of expertise led to Bourgeau being reappointed as architect, and the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur (now Marie-Reine-de-la-Monde) was completed in 1894, partly under the direction of Étienne-Alcibiade Leprohon (fl. 1870–99) in the latter stages.

From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Architecture.

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