An artwork by Hew Locke for Runnymede, Surrey, UK to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. Commissioned by Surrey County Council and National Trust.

A combination of images depicting the Emancipation of the Serfs (1861) by Tsar Alexander II. Serfdom was the feudal system that tied Russian peasants irrevocably to their landlords. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Moscow was to have commemorated the event, but it was never finished due to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Based on the 1914 painting by Alphonse Mucha depicting serfs in front of St Basil’s Cathedral on Moscow on the day of their emancipation, but with St Basil’s replaced with an image of the enormous Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Moscow, and a label in Cyrillic.

the-abolition-of-serfdom-in-russia-1914.jpg!Blog
The Abolition of Serfdom in Russia, Alphonse Mucha, 1914

Hew says of this part of The Jurors that it is like a riddle. The edges of the chair has numerous marks, like visual clues, and even the main image is a combination of two different sources.

Serfdom is condition of hereditary bondage, often little different to slavery, which developed primarily during the Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid 19th century (and in some areas persists today). In 1857, the number of private serfs was 23 million out of 62 million Russians. It was abolished in 1861 and the reform was commemorated by the construction of the aforementioned cathedral.

The marks around the edges of the chair include tally marks, like those marked up by prisoners on cell walls or those in hard labour conditions in whatever private space they might be able to occupy.

There is also a small drawing of balaclava, which gets its name from the Battle of Balaclava, fought near Sevastapol in 1854, Russia’s main port on Black Sea when it was worn by British and Allied forces. Recently the garment has become associated with Russian feminist punk rock group, Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot
Pussy Riot. Photo: Igor Mukhin

The name Andrei Sakharov and various numbers are scratched into the surface of one edge. Andrei was a soviet dissident, a former nuclear phycisist turned human rights activist. The numbers refer to the life and work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author and critic of Russian totalitarianism who helped to bring public attention to gulags and Russian forced labour camps.

Photography by Tom D Morgan - www.tomdmorgan.com
Names and tally marks from Emancipation of the Serfs as part of The Jurors. Photo: Tom D Morgan

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The xiezhi is a legendary creature and symbol of justice and law in Chinese mythology that can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (from 206 BCE). An inherently just beast, the xiezhi will point its horn at the wrong party in a fight or argument. Xiezhi is shown on The Jurors surrounded by scratches and gouges, as though made by its sharp claws.

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The house in Yangon, Burma, where politician Aung San Suu Kyi was held under house arrest for 15 out of 21 years until her release in 2010, despite her political party having fairly won government elections in Burma.

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In 1781, 133 slaves were thrown overboard from this ship, Zong. The owners made an insurance claim for the loss of their human cargo and the resulting legal case caused public outcry. On the sails, the west African symbol Epa represents captivity, law and justice.

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Ancient Egyptian scales are topped with the head of Ma'at, the goddess of truth, justice and balance. A dead person's heart is weighed against a feather to see if the owner is worthy to enter paradise. Ma'at's symbolism is still apparent in the western personification of Lady Justice.

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This hollow boab tree in Australia was adapted in the 1890s by police as a temporary prison for aboriginal prisoners. Hew Locke has added additional graffiti to its surface, each date and name referring to the ever-developing history of aboriginal Australians, their land and human rights.

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Chinese script that describes the Confucian principles of Ren (humaneness), Li (ritual) and Yi (justice) at the core of Confucian ideas of how a society should be organised, developed in the Han Dynasty (from 206 BCE).

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A boat carrying refugees inscribed with the names of sea vessels connected to legal cases which marked changes to maritime law, the responsibilities of nations towards refugees, and maritime search and rescue protocols.

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The Golden Rule states you should treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself. Versions of this concept are found in all major world religions and philosophies and the phrase is expressed on The Jurors in 14 different languages.

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“The Disappeared” – a collective name for those who been taken away, at the behest of a state or political organisation, across the world. Displays, such as this, erected by protesting relatives play an important role in sustaining a visible reminder that the Disappeared fates go unanswered and are a crime against humanity.

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Two representations of freedom of speech: in public and online. In 2014, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, called for an online Magna Carta to protect and enshrine the independence of the medium he created and the rights of its users worldwide.

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The keys found on some of the seats represent prison keys, and include the key to Nelson Mandela's cell on Robben Island, and one of the keys to The Bastille which was sent to George Washington in 1790.

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Nelson Mandela's prison cell where he served 18 years of his life-sentence for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the state. He was released in 1990 after 27 years incarceration.

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The destruction or redaction of evidence is a world-wide activity undertaken by states wishing to hide incriminating documentation of their activities. In 1989 the East German secret police's shredding of files was halted by German citizens taking over the Stasi offices.

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A loudhailer belonging to Harvey Milk, gay rights campaigner and first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California from 1977-78. Before his assassination, Milk sponsored a significant civil rights bill that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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A portable charkha, or hand spinning wheel for cotton, designed by Mahatma Gandhi and used in the 1930s as a political symbol of resistance to British imported goods and British rule.

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A combination of images depicting the Emancipation of the Serfs (1861) by Tsar Alexander II. Serfdom was the feudal system that tied Russian peasants irrevocably to their landlords. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Moscow was to have commemorated the event, but it was never finished due to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

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Poet Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American woman (1773), and Mary Prince was the first woman to present an anti-slavery petition to the British parliament (1828) and the first black woman to write and publish an autobiography (1831), at a time at which it was claimed that slaves were not capable of such writing.

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An ermine (a stoat in its winter coat) and its heraldic representation can be found on a number of chairs. The pure white fur of the ermine, a symbol of incorruptibility, is used in judicial gowns.

An Amerindian headdress, forest and a river clustered with gold nuggets. Indigenous land claims have been addressed, with varying degrees of success on a national and international level, since colonization. Such claims may be based upon the principles of international law, treaties, common law, or domestic constitutions or legislation.

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In 1920, marches of blind trade unionists from across the UK converged on Trafalgar Square under the banner "Justice not Charity" in support of the Blind Persons Act, which became law later that year and established disability rights as a fundamental principle in British society.

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Cornelia Sorabji was the first woman to practice law in India. She became a legal advocate for women in purdah in India, whose religious and cultural beliefs prevented them from speaking to men outside their family.

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A section from Clause 39 of an edition of Magna Carta stating that no one is to be imprisoned without "lawful judgement of his peers", the fundamental principle of trial by jury in common legal systems across the world.

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Oscar Wilde's poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol describes the brutalising effect of the prison system, written in 1898 whilst in exile in France and based on his observations when incarcerated for homosexual offences in 1895.

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In 1989, the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska, spilling at least 11 million gallons of crude oil. Subsequent environmental disasters and evidence of the cause and effect of pollution has led to the establishment of new principles such as the Ceres Principles, a moral code of environmental conduct.

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The flowers decorating many of the chairs are from the Victorian Language of Flowers. The are coltsfoot (meaning justice shall be done to you), hop (injustice), black-eyed susan (justice), and horse chestnut (do me justice).

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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, debated on The Jurors in a modern classroom, though ratified in 1990, was based upon a 1923 document drafted by British social reformer, Eglantyne Jebb.

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A portrait of Lillie Lenton, wearing medals and badges relating to the imprisonment and activism of suffragettes. Lenton's image is derived from a 1912 surveillance photograph taken in Holloway Prison.

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Designed & Built by Fiasco Design

© Surrey County Council & Hew Locke 2015