Category Archives: Non classé

Chartres: Light Reborn! screening in D.C.

On November 25, 2018, American Friends of Chartres, in collaboration with the Embassy of France and the National Gallery of Art, will present a special screening of the documentary film Chartres: La lumière retrouvée! (Chartres: Light Reborn!) The event takes place at 2 p.m., in the East Building Auditorium of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

The partial restoration of Chartres Cathedral that took place from 2014 to 2016 focused on the nave, stained-glass windows, and first figures in the ambulatory. Chartres: La lumière retrouvée documents this meticulous process through observation and conversations with numerous restorers, archaeologists, scientists, and architects. The screening is followed by a panel discussion with Madeline Caviness, Mary Richardson Professor Emeritus and Professor of the History of Art Emerita, Tufts University; and Ellen Shortell, Professor of History of Art, Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Remarks by Dominique Lallement, President, American Friends of Chartres, and Michel Charbonnier, Consul General of France.

Visit the National Gallery of Art’s calendar to view the event.

Recent Visitors to Chartres

A small group of friends (Douglas Lister, Enid Gamer, Nilufar Ahmad, Prasadini Bogollagama, Marie-Noëlle Ettori and Alfred & Elizabeth Lister) led by AFC President Dominique Lallement visited Chartres and nearby points of interest from Sept. 12-16, 2018, overlapping with European Heritage Days (Journées du Patrimoine in France). Some participants arrived a few days early in Paris to enjoy some of the many famous attractions including museums and fine restaurants.

“Café des Musées, best Boeuf Bourguignon in Paris!”- Al

Upon arrival in Chartres, the group was struck immediately by the massive size of the cathedral towering over the city and surrounding countryside and by its glorious collection of over 150 stained glass windows.

“Front of Chartres cathedral at an amazing angle!” – Prasi

“The windows illustrate biblical stories and daily life in the 13th century when most people were illiterate. An interesting one is about the Prodigal Son: a man had two sons, the good one is ploughing the field, while his brother is asking for his inheritance from his father who gave it to him. Then there are pictures how he is spending his inheritance on gambling, women and wine, having a good time! Soon he lost everything including the shirt on his back and was kicked out of the brothel. Finally he returned repentant to his father who forgave and took him back. There are also other windows donated by people of different occupations, e.g., fishermen, cobblers, carpenters, weavers, farmers, illustrating their daily lives at the time.” – Niloo

“Stained glass window severely damaged by pollution.” – Enid

Some of the participants climbed the 16th century Gothic North Tower for a fascinating explanation of what time and air pollution during the last century have done to the windows. Thanks to the painstaking efforts of devoted professionals supported by AFC, many have been restored to their former brilliance.

“Discussion of a restored window with layer of protective material, led by Paul Trouilloud, architect of historical monuments.” – Enid

“Beautiful marble work surrounds the choir, one depicting the circumcision of Jesus. Part of it has been cleaned, but the other half is still dark.” – Niloo

“One of the most important treasures of the cathedral is the Veil of the Virgin from when Mary gave birth to Jesus. It was a gift from Charlemagne.” – Niloo

“Beneath the cathedral is the crypt, most of it dating from the early 11th century, including chapels where masses are held every day and people are baptized from water kept in a 12th century stone bowl.” – Niloo

“Finally seeing and walking the Chartres labyrinth.” – Beth

“The labyrinth behind the cathedral.” – Prasi

In the city of Chartres, the group visited the public library to learn about the priceless collection of medieval manuscripts, some of which have been miraculously restored since the tragic allied bombing during WWII which destroyed most, and took a walking tour.

“Beautiful 14th century buildings, for which citizens were taxed both by the church and the Count of Chartres. The tax was based on the measurement of the ground level façade. So to keep the tax low, people made smaller foundations, then made the second floor larger with strong beams. Fascinating” – Niloo

The group also travelled to nearby La Bourdinière-Saint-Loup to visit Claire Babet’s Workshop devoted to the restoration and creation of stained glass windows; Claire Babet’s atelier restored the Bakers’ Window with financing from American Friends of Chartres. We then traveled to Lèves to visit the memorial park of American Col. Griffith, remembered for saving the cathedral from demolition before being killed near the end of WWII, followed by lunch with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

“I marveled at this long process that created so much beauty, light colors – looked like jewels” – Niloo

“Mayor & Deputy Mayor of Lèves with Dominique.” – Doug

“What a view from the wheat fields!” – Prasi

Before leaving Chartres, the participants enjoyed the Mayor’s reception and “sound & light” throughout the city as part of the cultural heritage days festivities and attended the High Mass in the cathedral celebrated by the Bishop of Chartres with beautiful organ music.

“What a glorious spectacle!” – Doug

Long live Chartres and AFC for helping to preserve it for future visitors!

Welcome to AFC News!

Welcome to the latest news and events from American Friends of Chartres. Stay up to date!

As part of its mission to disseminate knowledge of historic stained glass in both both France and the United States, American Friends of Chartres presents events of cultural, historical, or artistic subjects for the public benefit. Friends of Chartres are always invited to these events.

Learn more through our past solicitation letters, archived here:

2016 Solicitation Letter

In Memoriam: Pierre-Louis Roederer

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Trustee and Founding Member, Pierre-Louis Roederer, on January 31, 2015. Pierre-Louis was a man of remarkable intelligence, integrity and commitment to the preservation of Chartres and of the world’s cultural heritage. After a brilliant career at the Corning Company, he dedicated himself in his retirement to philanthropy for Chartres and many other endeavors. Donations in his honor can be made at or


President of American Friends of Chartres interviewed by BFM Business

On June 14th 2014, Dominique Lallement, President of American Friends of Chartres, was interviewed by BFM Business, the main French business TV and Radio station in France. The interview took place at the Nasdaq studio in New York with special reporter Sabrina Quagliozzi and focussed on the launch of AFC’s crowdfunding campaign. It was broadcast as part of the “ Grand Journal de New York”

AFC president awarded Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres

Monika Riely, founder and first president of American Friends of Chartres, was awarded the designation Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in a ceremony on October 19, 2012 in Chartres. The award from the Minister of Culture of France recognizes Ms. Riely for her work in founding AFC and raising funds to finance restoration work at Notre-Dame de Chartres. The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres honors individuals for their “significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural heritage.”

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Professor Paul Crossley lecture – March 2013

On March 12, 2013 The American Friends of Chartres, the Standing Committee of Medieval Studies of Harvard University and Fabien Fieschi, Consul General of France in Boston, sponsored a lecture by Paul Crossley, Professor Emeritus of the Courtauld Institute of Art of London University, on “Chartres and the Rhetoric of Gothic Cathedrals”. The event took place the Sackler Museum at Harvard University.

Professor Paul Crossley (Photo by Marci Tyldesley)

The lecture was introduced by Professor Jeffrey Hamburger, Chair of the Standing Committee on Medieval Studies at Harvard University. His welcome was followed by a short presentation of American Friends of Chartres activities and projects and a photographic presentation by Art Sacré Photographers, Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKey of Via Lucis Photography.

Paul Crossley was educated at Downside School and Trinity College Cambridge, where he read Law and History of Art. He completed his doctorate on the history of Polish Medieval architecture at Trinity College and the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. From 1971 to 1990 he was a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the History of Art at Manchester University. In 1990 he joined the teaching staff of The Courtauld Institute, first as a Senior Lecturer and then (from 2002) as a Professor. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Foreign Fellow of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences.

For Professor Crossley, “the business [of Gothic cathedrals] is to persuade, charm, delight and overwhelm”. You can read this lecture in full here.

Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKey, Photo by Marci Tyldesley

Photographers PJ McKey and Dennis Aubrey have spent much of the last decade documenting the Romanesque and Gothic churches of France and Spain.

AFC announces second restoration program

March 12, 2013
Cambridge, Massachusetts

On March 12, 2013 American Friends of Chartres announced their second funding project at the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres, the restoration of the stained-glass windows in Bay 140. This is the second bay from the west on the south side of the nave clerestory and features the Alpha and Omega Rose Window and the lancets of Saints Peter and James the Major. This restoration will take three years and is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2016. This window has many intriguing elements of interest and we would like to tell you more about it. You may be interested in helping American Friends of Chartres with this restoration project. If so please choose to donate on this site or contact us by email.


American Friends of Chartres is pleased to have awarded the first scholarship in memory of former board member David Whitehouse. The award was made to glass artist EDISON OSORIO ZAPATA.

Edison will attend the Summer Session at The Studio, Corning Museum of Glass, and take Martin Janecky’s class “Sculpting Inside the Bubble”. This two-week, advanced glassblowing course focuses on unique techniques and approaches to solid and blown sculpting, with an emphasis on the freedom to explore process and the potential of the material. David Whitehouse was a great supporter of The Studio and spent many hours lecturing and giving tours to the students there. Edison was selected for the scholarship based on his talent, knowledge of glass, commitment to education on glass and giving back to the artistic glass community. The scholarship will cover the cost of tuition and rooming expense while in Corning.