The exhibition is dedicated to Lionel O’ Radiguet (1857-1936). Nowadays he is hardly known in France, his native country, and Switzerland, his country of choice. At the time, however, he was a well-known personality. He was born in Brittany. O’ Radiguet was a great traveller, in his early years an officer in the French Navy, a member of the French consular corps in China, a professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Lausanne, a scholar, writer, entrepreneur and painter. His parents came from Ireland and he has always been interested in Celtic and Irish culture and history.
This interest led him to St Ursanne (canton of Jura, in these days canton of Bern) in 1894. This town was the seat of the Irish monk St. Ursanne at the beginning of the seventh century. The beautiful Romanesque church (Collégiale) from the eleventh and twelfth centuries is dedicated to this saint. From 1904 he settled permanently in Saint-Ursanne. However, he did not forget Brittany and in 1904 he published a constitution for the Republic of Brittany (Constitution nationale pour une République bretonne). He also published on the history of the Jura and Switzerland and initiated/imagined many projects, including a canal from Basel to Nantes (via St Ursanne), a spa with the mineral water of the Bel-Oiseau spring and even a golf course near St Ursanne. He organised an international competition for pipe smokers and lobbied for the development of the railways.
The exhibition examines the life of this forgotten Swiss citizen (he was granted Swiss nationality in 1918) and some of his paintings from the period 1906-1916. Also on display are works of art from the church and the history of this beautiful medieval town.