The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, the Lapworth Museum of Geology and the University of Birmingham Collections - Objects
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ID number: BIRRC-A0565a-i
Institution: Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection: The Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker: Pegram, Henry (1862-1937)
Title / Object name / Definition: Architectural carvings of Beethoven, Virgil, Michelangelo, Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, Watt, Faraday and Darwin
Object type: Sculpture
Date made: 1907
Materials: Darley Dale stone
Description: Joseph Chamberlain’s vision for the University of Birmingham was ‘a school of universal instruction, not confined to any particular branch of knowledge but taking all knowledge in its province.’ This is expressed in stone over the main entrance to the Aston Webb building in the frieze of nine life-size statues.
The figures represent great men from the worlds of art, philosophy, science and industry, each carrying an attribute or maintaining a pose reflecting his achievement. These guardians watch over every person who passes beneath, reminding us that the University is a living part of the tradition of European culture and learning.
The frieze was carved in situ by Henry Pegram and, if you look carefully at the figures, you can see the lines of the five blocks of stone which continue through to the façade of the building.
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