Statue of Liberty: Egyptian Reject and French Hand-Me-Down?

Oct 2009
3,447
San Diego
#11
My contention is that Full Size Liberty was probably constructed sometime in the 1850's to sell shares in the French Sponsored Suez Canal project and to be used as a Port Said Lighthouse and Harbor Opening. Sent to Egypt, and Egyptians refused to erect it.

Most likely a few changes were made to the statue, 1776 date on book in hand, shackle around foot, and then she was most likely bought by Pulitzer and other American Aristocracy.
After the English took control of the Canal in 1875, she was probably still in boxes on the beach.

The changes to the statue probably occurred sometime in the 1870's. View attachment 15450 View attachment 15451

Nope- the history is well established. Bartholdi was looking to make the biggest statue ever... and he was simply looking for any excuse- any potential public celebration that might result in his getting the money to produce it.
He Shopped the idea around in several versions... one of which was to celebrate the French achievement of the Suez canal- but that idea was never sold.
So he cast about for some other event to pin his dream on, and he thought the centennial of the American and French revolutions would be a promotable candidate.

Rather than ask the French government to pay for the whole thing, he and his supporters came up with the idea of raising the money at exhibitions and fairs by building the Arm and later the head, and taking it around and charging people a 'donation' fee to climb up the stairs inside each.

The idea of a female prometheus ( lighthouse) was modified to represent the "liberty" at the core of both American and French revolutions... and she was dressed in classical garb as befits a greek allegory. ( and she had Bertholdi"s mother's face )

The second scale Maquette ( there were at least 3 maquettes made in increasing size before the final point up to the full size plaster models from which the molds were pulled. was cast in bronze and was installed on the river seine in Paris.

The drawings were changed- but no physical sculpture other than a 20" tall maquette were executed until the project was green lit, in its final form as Liberty Enlightening the World.


Oddly- the US had no idea what to do with it, and for years it just sat around in shipping crates... waiting for the US to pony up the cash to build the pedestal on which she was to be mounted.
 
Likes: Linschoten
Dec 2018
68
California
#12
Still say the "official" origin story doesn't add up. Even Bartholdi can't seem to get the story straight.

Origin
According to the National Park Service, the idea of a monument presented by the French people to the United States was first proposed by Édouard René de Laboulaye, president of the French Anti-Slavery Society and a prominent and important political thinker of his time. The project is traced to a mid-1865 conversation between de Laboulaye, a staunch abolitionist, and Frédéric Bartholdi, a sculptor. In after-dinner conversation at his home near Versailles, Laboulaye, an ardent supporter of the Union in the American Civil War, is supposed to have said: "If a monument should rise in the United States, as a memorial to their independence, I should think it only natural if it were built by united effort—a common work of both our nations."[7] The National Park Service, in a 2000 report, however, deemed this a legend traced to an 1885 fundraising pamphlet, and that the statue was most likely conceived in 1870.[8] In another essay on their website, the Park Service suggested that Laboulaye was minded to honor the Union victory and its consequences, "With the abolition of slavery and the Union's victory in the Civil War in 1865, Laboulaye's wishes of freedom and democracy were turning into a reality in the United States. In order to honor these achievements, Laboulaye proposed that a gift be built for the United States on behalf of France. Laboulaye hoped that by calling attention to the recent achievements of the United States, the French people would be inspired to call for their own democracy in the face of a repressive monarchy."[9]

Bartholdi's design patent
According to sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who later recounted the story, Laboulaye's alleged comment was not intended as a proposal, but it inspired Bartholdi.[7] Given the repressive nature of the regime of Napoleon III, Bartholdi took no immediate action on the idea except to discuss it with Laboulaye. Bartholdi was in any event busy with other possible projects; in the late 1860s, he approached Isma'il Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, with a plan to build Progress or Egypt Carrying the Light to Asia,[10] a huge lighthouse in the form of an ancient Egyptian female fellah or peasant, robed and holding a torch aloft, at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal in Port Said. Sketches and models were made of the proposed work, though it was never erected. There was a classical precedent for the Suez proposal, the Colossus of Rhodes: an ancient bronze statue of the Greek god of the sun, Helios. This statue is believed to have been over 100 feet (30 m) high, and it similarly stood at a harbor entrance and carried a light to guide ships.[11] Both the khedive and Lessepsdeclined the proposed statue from Bartholdi, citing the expensive cost.[12] The Port Said Lighthouse was built instead, by François Coignet in 1869.

NEVER ERECTED, DOESN'T SAY NEVER BUILT,
Erected implies that their was something there to erect? As in a the pieces of a statue. Why not say the Port Said Lighthouse was erected instead. but author chose the word built?

Interesting story anyways
 
Last edited:

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
15,510
Welsh Marches
#13
The statue designed for Egypt was never constructed
My contention is that Full Size Liberty was probably constructed sometime in the 1850's to sell shares in the French Sponsored Suez Canal project and to be used as a Port Said Lighthouse and Harbor Opening. Sent to Egypt, and Egyptians refused to erect it.

Most likely a few changes were made to the statue, 1776 date on book in hand, shackle around foot, and then she was most likely bought by Pulitzer and other American Aristocracy.
After the English took control of the Canal in 1875, she was probably still in boxes on the beach.

The changes to the statue probably occurred sometime in the 1870's. View attachment 15450 View attachment 15451

The statue designed for Egypt was never constructed, erected, built or anything else, the funds were not made available to do so; there is no point in speculating about this, the history of the project is described in any number of places on the internet (including the article I linked to above).
 

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