Paul Jourdain

Paul (Raymond) Jourdain dit Labrosse. Wood-carver, organ-builder, master carpenter, baptized Montreal 20 Sep 1697, d there 8 Jun 1769.

Jourdain dit Labrosse, Paul

Paul (Raymond) Jourdain dit Labrosse. Wood-carver, organ-builder, master carpenter, baptized Montreal 20 Sep 1697, d there 8 Jun 1769. Though apprenticed as a wood-carver, it was as an organ-builder that he signed a contract 31 Jul 1721 in Montreal with the Quebec City Cathedral Chapter requiring him 'to build an organ with seven stops, including the vox humana' in return for 'the sum of 800 livres' payable upon delivery.

A second contract, signed 1 Aug 1721 by the same parties, stipulated that Jourdain 'is obliged to restore and repair the old organ, in which he will install three complete stops and render the said organ good and valuable and well in tune'. He was to receive the sum of 250 livres once the work was completed. The organ probably was the one brought from France in 1663 and inaugurated the next year. In his Coup d'oeil (1941), Morisset speculates that Jourdain 'made a more-or-less ornate cabinet which contained the existing pipes; he cut tongues and connected levers; he assembled wind-chests which, as far as possible, didn't leak air; he built bellows and polished ivory stops; then he bravely signed: ''Paul Jourdain, organ-builder'''.

Mgr Henri Têtu, after consulting the Quebec City Chapter archives, mentioned the existence of two invoices from Jourdain, one for work done 1721-2 and amounting to 250 francs 'for the restoration of the small organ'; the other, dated 9 Mar 1723, 'for costs and labour on the organ 800 livres; for installation 90 livres'. Also extant is his bill for trips from Montreal to Quebec City for a total of 1165 livres including '25 livres for the organ-case'.

Jourdain eventually became a renowned cabinet-maker. The organs in the Quebec City cathedral were demolished following Mgr de Pontbriand's decision to rebuild the chapel. The prelate, no doubt like Morrisset two centuries later, felt that Jourdain was a better cabinet-maker than organ-builder.


Further Reading

  • Têtu, Mgr Henri. 'Le Chapitre de la cathédrale de Québec et ses délégués en France,' BRH, vol 14, Dec 1908

    'Paul Jourdain Labrosse facteur d'orgues 1721,' ibid, vol 55, 1949

    Brault, Lucien. 'Les instruments de musique dans les églises de la Nouvelle-France,' report of the Société canadienne d'histoire de l'Église catholique (1956-7).

    Coup d'oeil

    DCB, vol 3