Contract between Bérenger Saunière and Monsieur Giscard of Toulouse, interesting how Saints Mary Magdalene and Anthony the Hermit are described as twin patron saints of the parish – and how there is no reference to the figure of the Devil holding up the Holy Water Stoup at this stage – although it is mentioned as having been received by Saunière on a receipt dated 30 June 1897 (Benitier avec diable et Signe de croix, 300 francs)
In the year of grace eighteen hundred and ninety-six, on the twentieth day of November, between Monsieur Giscard, statuary painter, residing at 25 Rue de la Colonne, Toulouse,
of the one part;
Abbé Saunière, curé of Rennes-le-Château, in the Canton of Couiza (Aude),
of the other part;
it has been agreed as follows:
For the sum of two thousand five hundred francs, payable in annual instalments of five hundred francs, commencing at the end of December in the year eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, Monsieur Giscard, sculptor, residing in Toulouse, undertakes to provide and send the following items to the said Abbé Saunière, curé of Rennes-le-Château, within a period of four months, free of postage and packing and ready for collection at the railway station of Couiza Montazels:
1) A bas-relief, of the pronounced convexity type, in frost-resistant terracotta, executed to the highest artistic standards, richly polychromatic, decorated with precious stones, with enamelled eyes, diameter: three metres. Title of the bas-relief: "Come unto me", with eleven or twelve figurines.
2) A terracotta Stations of the Cross, a scene in high relief, with colours true to life and with figures in period costume and set in a landscape, with the highest standards of execution and in conformity with the agreed design, height: one metre twenty-six centimetres, width: nought metres and sixty centimetres, richly polychromatic throughout.
3) A piscine with a group of figures representing the baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist, in artist's terracotta, with a richly decorated door of gilded copper, with the highest standards of execution, polychromatic like the above, with enamelled eyes. Height of the figurines: two metres ninety centimetres, width: nought metres and eighty centimetres. In full conformity with the agreed design.
4) Seven statues all in terracotta, the height of each to be one metre and thirty centimetres, with extra-rich decoration, painted all over in the mediaeval style, decorated with precious stones, with enamelled eyes, with the names of the Blessed Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus with the baby Jesus and St. Joseph with the baby Jesus, both conforming to the agreed designs. Also St. Anthony of Padua with the baby Jesus standing on the Missal, St. Mary Magdalen, patroness of the parish, St. Anthony the Hermit, second patron of the parish, St. Germaine with two lambs, and St. Roch. All these statues to be in full conformity with the agreed designs and of the highest standards of execution.
5) Six assorted plinths to match the sizes of the statues. Four of these to have two angel's heads with enamelled eyes, and two to have a single angel's head, again with enamelled eyes. And a seventh plinth in the form of a column with four angels standing. Extra-rich decoration, painting in the mediaeval style, decorated with precious stones, with enamelled eyes, in conformity with the agreed design. The height of this last plinth will be adjusted later.
6) Two pinnacles in the Romanesque style (as is also to be used for all the other items), for the two statues of the Holy Virgin and St. Joseph, same subject-matter, same style and standard of execution and same richness of decoration.
7) Three other small statues, each nought metres and seventy centimetres in height, with nothing more nor less than the highest level of extra-rich decoration, decorated with precious stones, with enamelled eyes. These three statues to be of the Blessed Virgin in the Romanesque style, St. Joseph and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Together with all these items, for which oil paints will be used in every case in such a manner as to enable them to withstand repeated washing, Monsieur Giscard also undertakes to visit Monsieur Saunière or, in default of that, to arrange at his own expense for an artisan to visit him, and install the bas-relief entitled "Come unto me", and to pay the cost of the board and lodging for the said artisan(s) should this be necessary, which I certainly do not think it will be.
For his part, Abbé Saunière, curé of Rennes-le-Château, undertakes in his turn to pay Monsieur Giscard, statuary painter of Toulouse, the sum of two thousand five hundred francs as aforementioned, in annual payments of five hundred francs, starting at the end of December in the year eighteen ninety-seven.
He further undertakes to arrange for the transportation, at his own expense, of all the items from Couiza to Rennes, and to pay for the board and lodging of the artisan sent to Rennes.
Finally, in the event of his death, Monsieur Saunière authorises Monsieur Giscard to remove from the church in Rennes all those objects for which payment has not been received, unless the Commune of Rennes or the factory itself undertakes to pay for them.
Done in duplicate in the presbytery of Rennes-le-Château on the same day and in the same month and year as aforementioned.
Signatures of the two contracting parties:
B. Saunière and B. Giscard.