In 1784 the Virginia General Assembly commissioned the French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon to create a marble sculpture of George Washington. 127 years later, on 30th June 1921, a bronze copy of this statue was unveiled in Trafalgar Square, London. During the Revolutionary War, the Virginian government, who wanted to do their war hero full justice, payed for Houdon to travel from France to work directly from Washington. The result was an incredibly accurate model of which Washington and his closest friend’s greatly approved. After being completed in 1794 the statue was placed in the Virginia State Capitol, where it remains to this day. Washington is depicted standing, dressed in upperclass colonial attire. This is unlike many of the other figures of the time, who were cast in the neoclassical style. He rests his left arm on a bundle of fasces (wooden rods), a traditional Roman symbol of authority. The bundle contains 13 of these fasces each of which represents one of the 13 colonies. In his right hand he holds a cane. The statue is one of the most copied in the world. This is because in 1910, the American company Gotham Manufacturing was permitted to make bronze casts from the original moulds used by Houdon. It was this company that cast the copy now located in Trafalgar square. Identical versions can be found in Paris, Lima and numerous locations across the United States. These copies were given as gifts by various American governmental organisations. The London based one was given by The Commonwealth of Virginia as a symbol of goodwill. One fun fact unique to the London copy is the soil on which it rests. It is rumoured that Washington once said ‘I will never set on British soil again’. Out of respect for this vow, which he kept during his lifetime, a box of Virginian soil was brought to England and placed underneath the statue. While this may be a myth, it does make for an interesting story.