The two male figures in combat are Samson and a Philistine. The subject is taken from 'Book of Judges' in the Old Testament of the Bible: "And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand and took it and slew a thousand men therewith.''

This lead copy was originally in the garden of the 3rd Earl of Burlington's Chiswick Villa outside London, which later belonged to the Dukes of Devonshire. It was fashionable in about 1700 to have lead statues decorating the garden. This statue, previously thought to represent the Biblical figures Cain and Abel, may have been acquired by the 3rd Earl of Burlington from the 2nd Earl of Fauconberg when he purchased the latter's adjoining estate, Sutton Court, in the late 1720s.

Giambologna's famous original marble statue, originally the centrepiece of a fountain in Florence, Italy, has been in England since the 1620s and set a high standard for English artists and sculptors to imitate. Richard Osgood made a good living out of supplying lead figures for gardens in the early 18th century. The original may be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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