The Burghers of Calais, 1884-1889

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Joined September 2011

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Auguste Rodin, French, b. Paris, 1840–1917

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection,(Washington, DC), Garden

In 1347 during the siege of Calais by King Edward III of England, six leading citizens (burghers) offered themselves as hostages in order to save the near starving French city. Edward, intending to kill them, ordered them to wear a noose & plain clothes while delivering the keys to the city. Edward’s pregnant wife, Philippa, believed this would be a bad omen for her child & successfully persuaded Edward to spare their lives.

Jean de Fiennes (obscured), Pierre de Wiessant (turned sideways), Eustache de Saint-Pierre (the leader & richest of the group) & Jean d’Aire (holding a key).

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