Saturday 27 October 2018

Plaster bust of a bearded man at Queen's College, Oxford.

Plaster bust of a Bearded Man 
at Queen's College, Oxford.

A mystery life size bust of a bearded man.
Perhaps no longer such a mystery.


Given to Queen’s Taberdars by Thomas Shaw, Principal of St Edmund Hall, in 1741.

I am very much indebted to Dr Graeme Salmon, Curator of Pictures at Queen's College, Oxford for making me welcome at Queens and for making this work possible.

Communication from Dr Graeme Salmon.

Rev. John Pridden's papers

Bodleian MMS  Top Oxon d. 281 , f 66


Ectypam hanc Imaginem
 Ex Marmore antiqus
 Handita pridem Romae effosso
 In amoris sui Pignus

 Ultro oblatam



Aulae Ste Edmundi Principalis


" original supposition that it came from Rome and was given to Queen’s in 1741. Shaw travelled extensively in the Middle East in the 1720s before becoming a fellow of Queen’s in 1727.

I need to clarify the Latin translation with an expert, but it is roughly that :  Aristotle - This image was cast from an ancient marble long ago excavated in Rome and given in affection by Pope Clemente XII.

Given to Queen’s Taberdars by Thomas Shaw, Principal of St Edmund Hall, in 1741.

Maybe not that ancient and perhaps for ‘excavated’ one should read ‘carved’..

Communication from Veronika Vernier:

"This information about Thomas Shaw's involvement puts the whole thing a bit more in place.

As we know, he was travelling for eleven years in North Africa, Carthage, etc.,  and in the book, which he published about the travels, he laments a lot on the destruction of classical places by the native people, i.e. mainly arabs. After his return he was appointed Regius Professor of Greek which means that he knew a few things about classical art which can be a token for the quality of objects he collected. He gave it to the Taberdars in 1741, the year when he was appointed Regius Professor, and just for us at Queen's, a pride that he did give it to us and not to St Edmunds' of which he was the Principle by this time.

On another note, he was the most incredible scholar and,  as a 'byproduct', made maps of the places he travelled on horseback or camel, chased by harammies. I superimposed the Google map over his Tunis map to find that even the biggest difference is only 0.5 degree in a few places, otherwise it is pretty accurate".


A modern cast of St Andrew 
the original from the massive statue (14 ft tall) of St Andrew by du Quesnoy in St Peter's in Rome


St Jerome
35.1 x 28.7 x 22.9 cm


Provenance: Giovanni Piancastelli, Rome, Italy, Sold to Mrs. Edward D. Brandegee, 1905. Piancastelli was the curator of the Galleria Borghese.
Mrs. Edward D. (Mary B.) Brandegee, 1905, Sold to Fogg Art Museum, 1937.