44_zouaveAround 1870, Baron de Graëb had a wooden Bedouin made to commemorate the visit of Abd-el-Kader, a prison-of-war on his way to Amboise.

The Baron had the sculpture put up on the roof of an old windmill he owned just outside the village of La Chaussée-Saint-Victor, on the road to Paris, so that visitors from the capital would recognise the turn-off to his house. The silhouette soon became familiar to the locals.

It didn’t take long to deteriorate, however, and was replaced in 1892 by a Zouave made by Amédée Charron, a sculpter from nearby Saint-Denis-sur-Loire. In January 1941, after the bombings, the Zouave had to be taken down, because part of his head was gone.

In 1948, after acquiring a new head sculpted by Madame Berger-Thibault, the daughter of Adrien Thibault, a well-known ceramic artist living in La Chaussée-Saint-Victor, the Zouave was exhibited in front of her museum up until 1987. It was then taken down and kept in storage, very delapidated after spending so many years in the open.

In 1999, the local association of history and popular traditions restored it.

Since then, it has been on show in the foyer of the town hall in La Chaussée-Saint-Victor, which is now its official custodien.

Aux environs de 1870, le Baron de Graëb fit réaliser un bédouin en bois, souvenir du passage et peut-être de l’hébergement d’Abd-el-Kader, prisonnier de guerre en transfert à Amboise.

Il le fit ériger sur le toît d’un ancien moulin qui lui appartenait, situé à la sortie de La Chaussée-Saint-Victor en venant de Paris, sur la gauche de la route Nationale, dans le but d’indiquer à ses visiteurs parisiens, l’endroit où il fallait tourner pour aller chez lui : sa silhouette devint familière aux Chausséens.

Délabré, il fut remplacé en 1892 par un Zouave, réalisé par Amédée Charron, sculpteur originaire de Saint-Denis-sur-Loire. En janvier 1941, après les bombardements, le Zouave dût être descendu, ayant perdu une partie de sa tête.

En 1948, doté d’une nouvelle tête sculptée par Mme Berger-Thibault, fille d’Adrien Thibault, céramiste renommé habitant la commune, le Zouave resta exposé devant son musée jusqu’en 1987. Il fût démonté et mis à l’abri, vu son état de délabrement après bien des années d’exposition.

En 1999, l’Association histoire et traditions populaires de la Chaussée-Saint-Victor le restaura.

Depuis il est exposé dans le hall de la mairie de la Chaussée-Saint-Victor : il en est le gardien.

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6 comments on “The Zouave – Le zouave

  1. Helen

    It seems strange to commemorate the visit of a prisoner of war, but what an interesting history, this lovely, wooden sculpture has had.
    Helen recently posted…Walking in JanuaryMy Profile

    1. Susan Walter

      Abdel Kader was special, a reluctant revolutionary and greatly respected by friend and enemy alike. When he left Amboise after many years of house arrest in the chateau it was all very amicable and he donated a chandelier to the church of Saint Denis in the town. The cemetery in the grounds of the chateau of all his retainers who died while in prison with him, mostly due to the damp climate that they never adjusted to, is rather moving.

      1. avril Post author

        Thank you, Susan, for that explanation.

      2. Helen

        Thanks Susan. Such a different era. Hard to imagine going to prison with your boss and then to die from the climate.
        Helen recently posted…Walking in JanuaryMy Profile

  2. Lesley

    I think that his hands are very well done, realistic .

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