The Burghers of Calais
- Art Funded
- 210 x 232 x 178 cm
- Mr Rothschild Sackville Gallery
This sculpture is displayed in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament, a location which was decided in close consultation with the sculptor.
Rodin attended the 10th anniversary meeting of the Art Fund in 1913 at which this acquisition was announced. Sir Nicholas Goodison, former Chairman of the Art Fund, paid for the sculpture to be conserved and mounted on a new plinth in 2003 as part of the Art Fund's centenary celebrations. This statue was originally commissioned by the people of Calais in 1887 to commemorate the surrender of 6 burghers to King Edward III in order to avoid the massacre of the population. Rodin interpreted the story in a way that focused on the courage and vulnerability of individuals. The people Rodin used as models were deliberately chosen from the Pas-de-Calais region. Their different reactions, relating to the time leading up to their departure from the city, holding its keys and wearing the rope halters and shirts of the condemned, are indicated by their hugely expressive postures.
Please note: from 26 April to 29 July 2018 this work can be seen at the British Museum's exhibition Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece