« PreviousContinue »
130 A Buft naked, head wanting.
1637: Ætat. 17.
The Front of this Building is opposite to the Divinity School, adorned with Corinthian Pillars, and the Statues of Archbishop Sheldon and the Duke of Ormond. Its Roof is Aat, compofed of short pieces of timber, continued to a great breadth, without Arch-work or Pillar to support them, being sustained only by the fide-walls, which are at the distance of 80 feet one way
70 the other. When properly filled, the Chancellor or ViceChancellor being feated in the centre of the femia circular part, the Noblemen and Doctors on his right and left hand, the Proctors and Curators in their Robes, the Masters of Arts, Bachelors, and UnderGraduats, in their respective habits and places, together with Strangers of both fexes, it makes a most august appearance.
On the north fide is the Statue of Charles II. Within are the Portraits of the Founder (Archbifhop Sheldon), the Duke of Ormond, and Sir Christopher Wren, the Architect. Likewise a curious Ceiling by Streater; the following Description of which is taken from Plott's Natural History of Oxfordshire.
" IN Imitation of the Theatres of the ancient Greeks and Romans, which were too large to be covered with lead or tile, fo this, by the Painting of the flat roof within, is represented open; and as they ftretched a cordage from pilaster to pilaster, upon which they ftraincd à covering of cloth, to protect the people from the injuries of the weather, so here is a Cord-moulding gilded, that reaches cross the houfe, both in length and breadth, which fupporteth a great reddish Drapery, supposed to have covered the roof, but now furled up by the Genii round about the house, towards the wall which discovereth the open air, and maketh way for the Defeent of the Arts and Sciences, that are congregated in a circle of clouds, to whose affembly Truth descends as being folicited and implored by them all.
For joy of this festival fome other Genii fport: aboué the clouds, with their Feftoons of Aowers and laurels, and prepare their Garlands of laurels and roses, viz. Honour and Pleafure, for the great lovers and fudents of those arts: And that this assembly might be perfectly happy, their great enemies and disturbers, Envy, Rapine, and Brutality, are by the Genii of their opposite virtues, viz. Prudence, Fortitude, and Eloquence, driven from the fociety, and thrown down headlong from the clouds : the report of the assembly of the one, and the expulfion of the other, being proclaimed through the open and ferene sir; by some other of the Genii, who blowing their antick Trumpets, divide themselves into the several quarters of the world.
Thus far in general
More particularly, the circle of figures confifts, First of Theology, with her Book of Seven Seals, imploring the assistance of Truth for the unfolding of it.
On her left-hand is the Mofaical Law veiled, with the Tables of Stone; to which the points with her iron Rod.
On her right-hand is the Gospel, with the Cross in one hand, and a Chalice in the other.
In the fame division, over the Mofaical Law, is Hiftoky, holding up her pen as dedicating it to Truth, and an attending Genius, with several fragments of Old Writing, from which the collects her history into her books.
On the other fide, near the Gospel, is Divine Poesy, with her harp of David's fashion.
In the Triangle on the right-hand of the Gospel, is. allo Logick, in a posture of arguing; and on the lefthand of the Mofaical Law, is Mufick, with her Antick Lyre, having a pen in her hand, and a paper of Musick Notes on her knee, with a Genius on her right-hand, (a little within the partition of Theclogy) playing on a Flute, being the emblem of ancient mufc,
On the left but within the partition for Pbyfick) Dramatick Pcegy, with a Vizard, representing Comedy, a bloody Dagger for Tragedy, and the Reed Pipe for Pastoral.
In the square, on the right side of the circle, is Law, with her Ruling Sceptre, accompanied with Records, Patents, and Evidences on the one Side, and on the other with Rhetorick : by there is an atrending Genius, with the Scales of Justice, and a figure with a Palmbranch, the emblem of reward for virtuous actions ;. and the Roman Fasces, the marks of Power and Punish
Printing; with a Case of Letters in one Hand, and a Form 'ready set in the other, and by her several heets hanging to dry.
On the left side the circle, opposite to Tbeology, in three Squares, are the Mathematical Sciences, depending
on Demonfiration, as the other on Faith; in the first of which is Aftronong with the Celestial Globe, Geography with the Terrestrial, together with three attending Genii ; having Arithmetick in the square on one hand, with a paper of figures; Optics with the Perspective. Glass; Geometry with a pair of Compaffes in her left-hand; and a table with Geomeirical figures in it, in her right-hand. And in the square on the other hand, Architecture embracing the Capital of a Column, with Compasses, and the Norma or Square lying by her, and a Workman holding another Square in one hand, and a Plumb-Line in the other.
In the midst of these squares and triangles (as descending from above) is the figure of Truth fitting as on a cloud, in one hand holding a Palm Branch (the ema blem of victory), in the other the Sun, whose brightness enlightens the whole circle of figures, and is so bright, that it seems to hide the face of herself to the spectators below.
Over the entrance of the front of the THEATRE, are Three Figures tombling down ; first Envy, with her Snaky Hairs, Squint Eyes, Hag's Breast, pale venomous. Complexion, ftrong but ugly Limbs, and riveled Skin, frighted from above by the light of the Shield of Pallas, with the Gorgon's Heaj in it, against which the opposes her snaky Tresses; but her fall is so precipitous, the has no command of her arms.
Then Rapine, with her fiery Eyes, grinning Teeth, harp Twangs, ber hands imbrued in blood, holding a bloody Dagger in one hand, in the other a burning Flambeau; with these inftruments threatening the de. struction of Learning, and all it's habitations, but the is overcome, and prevented, by a Herculean Genius, or power.
Next that is represented brutith, fcofing Ignorance, endeavouring to vilify and contemn what she understands not, which is charmed by a mercurial Genius, with his Caduceus."
IN the Theatre are held the Public Acts called
the Coinitia, and Encænia, and Lord Crewe's anpual Commemoration, in June or July, of the Bene, factors to the University; when the Prizes adjudged to particular Performances are publicly récited.
This fuperb Edifice, which justly deserves to be deemed one of our principal Curiofities, was built by that celebrated Architect Sir Christopher Wren, at the expense of Archbishop Sheldori, the Chancellor, in 1669, and cost his Grace 15000l. to which he added 2000l. to purchase lands for the perpetual repair
On the west fide of the Theatre stands the Ath. molean Museum, a handsome Edifice, built by the University at the request of Elias Ashmole, Esq. Windsor Herald to King Charles II. who placed here all the Rarities he had collected and purchased, particularly from the two Tradescants.
The Building was completed in 1682, under the conduct of Sir Christopher Wren, and is admired for its Symmetry and Elegance. The Eastern Portico is highly finished in the Corinthian Order, and adorned with Variety of Characteristical Embellishments.
Mr. Alhinole presented to the University a valu. able Collection of Natural Curiosities, Coins and Manuscripts, together with three Gold Chains, one of philigrain work, he had received as honorary Presents from the King of Denmark and other Princes, on Occasion of his Book on the Order of the Garter.
This Repository has been greatly enriched by fee veral ample and valuable benefactions. The princia pal Natural Curiosities are the Collection of Bodies, Harps, Bopes, &c. of Animals preserved dry, or in