In addition to the many fine portraits that adorn Univ’s Hall – details of which can be found on our Portraits in Hall page – College has a large number of noteworthy portraits elsewhere across our main site.
Further information on many of those whose portraits are listed below can be found on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography website.
Sir John Eldon Bankes (1854–1946), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1872 (Artist: John St Helier Lander)
Bankes, as his name suggests, was a great-grandson of the great Lord Chancellor John Scott, Lord Eldon, who had been an undergraduate and Fellow at Univ a century earlier. Bankes got a rowing Blue while at Univ, and then followed his ancestor into the law. He was made a Judge in 1910, and in 1915 was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal, which post he held until he retired in 1927. In his entry in the ODNB Bankes is praised as “a careful, clear-headed, and able lawyer”. He was also a devoted churchman, and helped draft the constitution of the Church in Wales when it was disestablished in 1920.
Sir Simon Bennet (c. 1584–1631), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1602 (Artist: Anon.)
Bennet came from a prosperous family with London links. Many of his relatives had extensive commercial interests, and some of them (including his father-in-law) invested in the East India and Virginia Companies. He himself seems to have lived a quiet life, and made a baronet in 1627. Bennet had no children, and on his death, made a remarkable bequest to his old College, apparently because of his affection for his old tutor, Charles Greenwood. He left us a large tract of woodland in Northamptonshire, instructing that the timber be chopped down to pay for a new quadrangle, and the land then turned over to farming, to be rented out to support new Fellows and new Scholars. The timber sales paid for the construction of over half of our Main Quad, and rent from the newly created farmland endowed four Fellowships and four Scholarships. Thus Simon Bennet joins John Radcliffe as one of the College’s most generous benefactors of any age.
Robin Butler, Lord Butler of Brockwell, and Jill, Lady Butler (Artist: Benjamin Sullivan)
Robin Butler, Lord Butler of Brockwell, came up to Univ as an undergraduate in 1957, and was our Master in 1998–2008. On leaving Univ, Butler joined the Civil Service, first working in the Treasury. As a Private Secretary he worked at various times for Edward Heath, Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher, and then in 1988–98 he served as Cabinet Secretary, working with Margaret Thatcher once again, and then with John Major and Tony Blair. This portrait was commissioned to mark Lord Butler’s retirement as Master, and is unique among such official portraits in that it includes his wife Jill, as a tribute to her deep involvement in the life of the College.
Four sons of the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (Artist: F H S Shepherd)
Robert Gascoigne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1830–1903), Chancellor of Oxford and Prime Minister, chose to send four of his sons to Univ in the 1880s, namely James (1861–1947), later 4th Marquess of Salisbury, in 1880, William (1863–1936), in 1882, Robert (1864–1958), later Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, in 1883, and Hugh (1869–1956), later Baron Quickswood, in 1887. William took holy orders, and became Bishop of Exeter in 1916, while his brothers entered politics. James and Hugh became prominent Conservative politicians, and Robert worked for the League of Nations, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937. This painting of the brothers depicts them in Lord Salisbury’s study in Hatfield House, and was given to the College in 1928 by our then Master, Sir Michael Sadler (who later encouraged the College to commission a conversation piece of himself and the Fellows from Shepherd). On the picture the brothers are, from left to right, Hugh, Robert, James, and William.
Portrait of Thomas and John Cockman and some Fellows of University College (Artist: Benjamin Ferrers)
Thomas Cockman, Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1691, Fellow 1701–13 and Master 1722–45, had a turbulent start to his Mastership. His election in 1722 was disputed by half the Fellows, and the College had no effective leadership until 1729, when a formal Visitation declared Cockman undisputed Master. In this conversation piece, Thomas sites in the middle of the group, holding a snuff box, while the figure on the left-hand edge, looking out at the viewer, is his brother John, who had come up to Univ in 1699, and had steadfastly supported his brother. The other figures are presumably the five Fellows who took Cockman’s side during the dispute. The painting was probably commissioned by John Cockman, as a celebration of his brother’s victory, and shows the brothers with the Fellows who stood by Thomas through thick and thin. The painting was handed down through John’s descendants, but came up for sale in 2008 and was purchased by the College.
Horace, Lord Davey (1833–1907), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1852, and then Fellow of Univ 1856–64 (Artist: Solomon J Solomon)
Davey won a considerably reputation as a Chancery lawyer, but went on to be a Liberal MP, serving as Solicitor-General in Gladstone’s brief government of 1886, and then became Lord Justice of Appeal in 1893 and then a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 1894. The ODNB says of him: “arguably the very greatest barrister of his day, Davey was certainly also one of the greatest judges.”
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1532–88) Chancellor of the University of Oxford 1564–88 (Artist: attr. Sir William Segar)
Favourite and long-serving minister to Elizabeth I, Dudley was never an undergraduate or Fellow of Univ, but on his deathbed he did become a benefactor to us (the presence there of William James, our Master in 1572–84, might have had something to do with this). Dudley bequeathed to Univ some property in Wales to support two scholarships. Unfortunately, he had to admit in his will that “This fee farm I know not the name of it”, and it took several years for the College to make good its claim. The farms were in a remote area of Montgomeryshire, and we sold them in 1920. Percy Shelley was a Leicester Scholar.
Edward Hales (1670–90), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1684 (Artist: Anon.)
Hales was an important figure in 1680s Univ, after Obadiah Walker converted to Catholicism. His father, Sir Edward Hales, another Catholic convert, was an important figure in James II’s fight to defend Catholicism, for he became Lieutenant both of Dover Castle and of the Tower of London. Walker was very proud of having Edward Jr. at Univ, because he chose him to give two major speeches, the first in February 1687 when the statue of James was installed in the Main Quad, the second in September 1687, to welcome James himself when he visited the College (the last visit by a reigning monarch to the College until 1999). After James II was deposed, Edward stayed loyal to him: he was killed fighting for James at the battle of the Boyne in 1690. This portrait was given to the College in 1898 by Rev. R. C. Hales, a descendant of the family.
Stephen Hawking (1942–2018), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1959 (Artist: Yolanda Sonnabend)
Stephen Hawking was one of the most famous scientists of his age, renowned for his work on cosmology, in particular the study of black holes, and he served as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge from 1979–2009. He accomplished this work, however, despite the fact that, soon after moving from Oxford to Cambridge to do postgraduate work, he was struck down with a type of motor neurone disease, and given only a short time to live. He conquered his increasingly debilitating illness with remarkable determination, even when he was confined to a wheelchair and required a computerised voice synthesiser. He published many books and articles, but his most famous book is undoubtedly his best-selling A Brief History of Time, published in 1988. A film about Hawking’s life, The Theory of Everything came out in 2014. Hawking himself was played by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his performance.
Edward Herbert, Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583–1648), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1596 (Artist: Anon., after William Larkin)
Herbert was an archetypal Renaissance man: as a young man he travelled around Europe, briefly serving as a soldier; he became a diplomat, being appointed English ambassador to Paris in 1619; but he was also a man of letters, publishing books on philosophy and history. He had a very fine personal library, but unfortunately gave it all to Jesus College. In his autobiography he talks about his time at Oxford, and in particular about the studied he thought appropriate to an undergraduate. This portrait was given to the College in 1934 by Gerald Yeo (matriculated 1884).
Gordon Hewart, 1st Viscount Hewart (1870–1943), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1887 (Artist: John St. Helier Lander)
Hewart was a draper’s son from Bury, who attended Manchester Grammar School, and it seems that, once up at Oxford, he feared that his Lancashire accent was a handicap, and altered it accordingly. He entered the law, and served as Lord Chief Justice of England in 1922–40. Sadly, the ODNB observes that “his period as lord chief justice was not distinguished”, and that, on the bench, he “was frequently boorish and rude to counsel”.
Harry Melvill (1866–1931), Undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1884 (Artist: Jacques-Emile Blanche)
Melvill was something of a man-about-town in the 1890s, who knew a great many artists, musicians, and writers in London and Paris at that time, but – unusually for the portraits in our collection – this painting is perhaps less important for its subject than for its painter. Jacques-Emile Blanche (1861–1942) was one of the leading portraitists of his age, painting such major figures as Proust, Debussy, Nijinsky, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. This painting, which is dated 1904, was shown for a while in the Tate Gallery, but by 1938 was in the possession of Melvill’s brother. It came to the College at an unknown date after that.
Sir Michael Sadler and the Fellows of University College, 1934 (Artist, F H S Shepherd)
Sir Michael Sadler, educationalist and pioneering collector of modern art, was Master of Univ from 1923-34. He was the first outsider to be elected to the post since 1692. Just before his retirement as Master, Sadler was invited, like his two predecessors, to sit for an official portrait, but he declined this offer, suggesting instead that the College commission a conversation piece of himself and the Fellows of the College. The painting is set in the Winter Common Room, and it shows the Master and Fellows as if they are taking a break from a College meeting. The sitters are as follows:
Back row: David Lindsay Keir (Fellow 1921–39), Ernest Ainley Walker (Fellow 1903–38), A. D. “Duncs” Gardiner (Fellow 1927–48), G. D. H. Cole (Fellow 1925–44), John Maud (Fellow 1929–39 and Master 1963–76), Arthur Goodhart (Fellow 1931–51 and Master 1951–63), and John Wild (Fellow 1933–45 and Master 1945–51).
Front row: Edmund Bowen (Fellow 1922–65), Arthur Poynton (Fellow 1894–1935 and Master 1935–7), Sir Michael Sadler, A. S. L. Farquharson (Fellow 1899–1942), Edgar Carritt (Fellow 1898–1945), George Hope Stevenson (Fellow 1906–49) and Kenneth Leys (Fellow 1908–42).
In later years, several observers noted Shepherd’s apparent percipience in putting three future Masters of the College (Wild, Goodhart and Maud) standing next to each other.
Horace Waddington (1834–1930), undergraduate of Univ, matriculated 1853 (Artist, G Thompson)
On leaving Univ, he joined the Department of Education, working first as an Examiner and then an Inspector, eventually taking charge of the Guildford district, until he retired in 1894. He endowed a Classics Scholarship at Univ, but also bequeathed us a collection of ancient coins, on condition that they may be placed in the Ashmolean Museum on revokable deposit. The portrait was given by Waddington’s widow in 1930.
John Wild (1904–92), Fellow and Chaplain of Univ, 1933–45, and Master 1945–51 (Artist: Barrington Bramley)
Wild came to Univ as our Chaplain having served as a curate in Newcastle. During the Second World War, when our Master, Sir William Beveridge, was taken up with his activities in Whitehall, not least the writing of the Beveridge Report, John Wild was appointed Vice-Master, and played a crucial role in keeping the College going. He was undoubtedly elected Master in 1945 because of this work. In 1951, Wild was promoted to become Dean of Durham, a post he held until 1973. He is affectionately remembered by those who knew him for his kindness of character.
Group portrait of (left to right) Bill Sykes, Sir Peter Strawson, George Cawkwell, and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann, (Artist: Daphne Todd – who also did the portrait of John Albury in the Hall)
Apparently, Todd was at a College Feast when she saw these four Fellows, and was struck by the idea of painting a set of heads of them. They are Bill Sykes (Fellow and Chaplain 1978–2005), Sir Peter Strawson (Philosophy Fellow 1948–68), George Cawkwell (Ancient History Fellow 1949–87), and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann (History Fellow 1977–2005).