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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsLook at the image. What do you see? Why are there 12 bronze chairs in a field? This is a work of art called The Jurors. Artist Hugh Locke was commissioned to create a piece of art to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. Locke decided to base his work on Clause 39, "no free-man shall be seized, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, or outlawed, or in any way destroyed. Nor will we condemn him, nor will we commit him to prison accepting by the legal judgement of his peers or by the laws of the land." Out of this clause comes the idea of trial by jury. And it was this idea which Locke wanted to explore.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondEach chair is decorated with images and symbols. These images relate to struggles for freedom, rule of law, and equal rights. So for example, Nelson Mandela is represented by a prison cell. The fight for the female vote is represented by an image of suffragette Lily Lenton. The chairs are also covered in flowers, but these flowers are not just for decoration. In Victorian times flowers symbolised feelings and concepts. The flowers on The Jurors symbolise justice and injustice. The 12 chairs are a kind of invitation for the audience to sit down on, to discuss the images they see, and to debate the meaning of justice in past and present times.

Introduction to The Jurors

Look at the image. What do you see? Why are 12 bronze chairs in a field?

This is a work of art called The Jurors. Artist Hew Locke was commissioned to create a piece of art to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. Locke decided to base his work on Clause 39:

No free-man shall be seized, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, or outlawed, or in any way destroyed; nor will we condemn him, nor will we commit him to prison, excepting by the legal judgment of his peers, or by the laws of the land.

Out of this clause, comes the idea of trial by jury and it was this idea which Locke wanted to explore.

Listen to Genevieve talk about The Jurors. Then think about the following questions:

  • What do you think of The Jurors?

  • Imagine you went to experience this work of art with a group of friends. What ideas would you talk about as you were sitting on the chairs?

Please share your ideas in the comments below.

In the next step, you are going to read and listen to a poem which was written as a dedication for Hew Locke’s artwork.

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This video is from the free online course:

Exploring English: Magna Carta

British Council

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