During the siege of Calais in 1347, King Edward III agreed to spare the city if six citizens would give themselves up. Eustache de Saint-Pierre was the first heroically to offer himself and one by one five others joined him. The burghers descended to the English camp potentially to their deaths, although in the event they were spared. Rodin was commissioned to produce a monument commemorating this event in 1884. Originally this was intended as a single figure of Eustache de Saint-Pierre, but Rodin swiftly produced a first maquette (sketch model) which includes all six burghers as a group on a single base. As he continued to work on the project Rodin separated the figures modelling them first in the nude and then clothed, increasing the scale to the monumental dimensions of the final version, which was unveiled in 1895. A second maquette of six separate plaster figures of about two feet in height was submitted in August 1885 and is now in the Musée Rodin in Paris. The present set of bronze figures is one of twelve sets cast from these original plasters in the 1970s.