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 15450View 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.