The Burghers of Calais, by the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, represents the idea of freedom from oppression. It tells the story of the siege of Calais in 1347, during the Hundred Years War.
Calais had been surrounded for a year by English soldiers under King Edward III. Six leading citizens of Calais, the Burghers, offered to die if Edward spared the rest of the town's people.
Edward's wife, Queen Philippa, heard about the Burgher's offer and asked if they could also be spared if the town surrendered. Edward agreed and all the people of Calais were allowed to leave.
Rodin made his original sculpture in 1889 to stand outside Calais town hall and later made four casts, of which this is one. It was bought by National Art Collection Fund in 1911. Rodin came to London to give advice on where to put it.