Thursday, January 31, 2013

A French Heroine In Philly

On a recent business trip to Philadelphia, our Technical Director Andy Moon was lucky enough to also have time to take in some of the city's historic sites. The famous bronze statue of William Penn, which we wrote about in our Security Travels to Philadelphia post, is a good example. Penn lived in the 17th century which seems a long time ago now, but there is another statue in Philadelphia whose real life figure it was modelled on lived in an even earlier era - the 15th century. The person was none other than Joan of Arc and the statue is one of the most magnificent, eye-catching you could ever see.


So why such a wonderful, gilded bronze statue of a 15th century French heroine find itself in Philadelphia? That was exactly what we thought when Andy first showed us the photographs he took! The answer is an intriguing one ........

In 1874 French sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet was commissioned by the French government to create the first equestrian monument to Joan of Arc in one of the leading squares of Paris (Place des Pyramides). Fifteen years later, when Philadelphia's French community wanted to celebrate and commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution (storming of the Bastille took place on 14 July 1789), they wanted decided that a statue of a significant French historical figure was what they wanted. Knowing of the original Joan of Arc statue in Paris, they approached Fremiet for a cast of the original. This  was agreed on the basis that there would only ever be 3 versions of the sculpture - in Paris, Nancy and Philadelphia.



As you can see, the statue positively dazzles in the sunlight - a wonderful memorial to a remarkable young woman (Joan was only 19 when she died). Her courage continues to inspire. If you're ever in Philadelphia and want to visit the statue, it's near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Footnote: We just realised two connections here to our business .... we have supplied security systems for statues and museums in the past! Click here to read more about these and many other applications of our security products.

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