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Les maîtres de la lumière (Presse de la renaissance, 2007)


Jancques Anquetil lives in Paris but has traveled to over 130 countries. His contacts with various cultures have helped him become a great textile historian. He has written, among other works, Mémoires d’un tisserand (NIL, 1996) , Les routes de la soie (1992), Les routes du coton (1999) et Les routes de la laine (2001). In Anquetil-Duperron, premier orientaliste français, he tells the fascinating story of the first French orientalist who traveled to India at age 24 and brought back the Zend-Avesta, the sacred book of the Zoroastrians founded by Zarathustra and which he translated into French.

In french

Bibliography :

  • Les maîtres de la lumière (Presse de la renaissance, 2007)

A brief summary of Les Maîtres de la Lumière :

It is the year 1850 and Jacques Angot, master glassmaker having learned his trade from his father works in Rouen. He believes that through his art he can come closer to divine light and that stained glass has a soul. Ahead of his time, he tries to capture the fugitive light with colored but non-figurative stained glass.
He has the encouragements of his father and his friend, Flaubert. He receives an order for a stained glass project from the Architect who is planning the restoration of the Mount Saint-Michel abbey.
(Loose translation)“I shut my eyes […] so I could imagine what my stained glass could contribute to this already magical place. The vision I had, in my mind, was absolutely dazzling. But I wondered whether I would be able to achieve my dream before dying.” His revolutionary project is eventually rejected as being too audacious.
After the death of his entourage, friends and family, Jacques drifts away from his fate until a Benedictine abbot asks him to make a stained glass window for a Romance abbey near Rouen. With the support of Claude Monet who is also striving to find this divine light, he achieves his dream and returns to God. He will not leave his mark on Mount Saint-Michel, but he will die there from an occupational hazard of the time, lead poisoning.
“I had the feeling, with my last creation, the large rose window of Saint-Ouen , I had accomplished my mission, that is to put a bit of paradise on earth, to give an idea of the invisible world glimpsed but for an instant.”
With his descriptions of the travels of his character in 19th century Normandy, Jacques Anquetil gives the reader an account of the fascinating and almost extinct art of the “masters of the lights”.