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(Oxford University Museum of Natural History)

Statues of Scientists

Various sculptors

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In the main exhibition room of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (built 1854-60) are 18 statues of eminent scientists, philosophers and engineers and 10 busts of Oxford men of science that have made a significant contribution to the Museum, plus a portrait medaillon of the architect of the building. The 19th statue is that of the founder, the Prince Consort, is placed more central in the hall.
The plan was that each pillar around the gallery would play host to a statue of one of the great scientists. The statues were paid for by private subscription however, and unfortunately only 19 full statues were completed. Many of these were presented by Queen Victoria. All but one of the statues is carved in Caen stone - a limestone from Normandy in France. Many of the sculptors were well-known Victorian artists.
    In the central aisle:

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    1. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

  1. The Prince Consort
    this statue of the | PRINCE CONSORT | was presented to the university museum | by citizens of oxford | april 1864.
    Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Schloss Rosenau, Coburg, 1819 - Windsor Castle 1861), the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Thomas Woolner.

    Starting at the entrance going left along the west arcade:

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    2. Aristotle
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    3. John Hunter
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    4. Thomas Sydenham
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    5. William Harvey
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    6. Hippocrates

  2. aristotle
    Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), Greek philosopher (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Henry Armstead, signed "h.h.armstead.scup.london"; presented by the Bachelors and Undergraduates, 1858
  3. john hunter
    John Hunter (Long Calderwood near East Kilbride 1728 - London 1793), Scottish surgeon, one of the most distinguished scientists and surgeons of his day (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Henry Hope Pinker, signed "H. Richard Pinker / 1886 sculp.t"; presented by Queen Victoria, unveiled 5 June 1886 by Princess Christian.
  4. sydenham
    Thomas Sydenham (Wynford Eagle, Dorset 1624 - London 1689), English physician (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Henry Hope Pinker, signed "h.hope-pinker Sculpt. 1894"; presented by the Warden and two Fellows of All Souls College.
  5. harvey
    William Harvey (Folkestone 1578 - London 1657), physician, first to describe the circulation of the blood (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Henry Weekes, signed "h. weekes r.a. Sc"; presented by Mr. H. Vaughan.
  6. hippocrates
    Hippocrates (c. 460 - c. 370 BC), ancient Greek physician; considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Alexander Munro; presented by Mr. Ruskin, 1857.

    Along the north arcade:

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    7. John Burdon-Sanderson
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    8. Raphael Weldon
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    9. George Rolleston
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    10. Benjamin Woodward

  7. sir john scott burdon-sanderson, bt | d.m., f.r.s. | waynflete professor of physiology, 1882-95. | regius professor of medicine , 1895-1904.
    John Burdon-Sanderson (near Newcastle upon Tyne 1828 - Oxford 1905), English physiologist (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Henry Hope Pinker; Acquired February 1908
  8. walter frank raphael weldon | m.a., d.sc., f.r.s. | linacre professor of comparative anatomy, | 1899-1906.
    Raphael Weldon (London 1860 - Oxford 1906), English evolutionary biologist and a founder of biometry (Wikipedia).
    Unveiled 8 October 1908
  9. george rolleston, d.m., f.r.s. | linacre professor of physiology, | 1860-1881.
    George Rolleston (Maltby Hall, near Rotherham, Yorkshire 1829 - Oxford 1881), English physician and zoologist (Wikipedia).
  10. benjamin woodward, architect.
    Benjamin Woodward (Tullamore, County Offaly 1816-1861), Irish architect, designed the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Wikipedia).

    Along the east arcade:

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    11. Carl von Linné (Linnaeus)
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    12. Charles Darwin
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    13. Sir Isaac Newton
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    14. Galileo Galilei
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    15. Euclid
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    16. William Buckland

  11. linnaeus
    Carl von Linné (Linnaeus) (Rashult, Stenbrohult parish 1707 - Hammarby estate, Uppsala 1778), Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by John Tupper, signed "Designed | & carved by | J.L. Tupper | london; presented by the Rev. F.W. Hope, D.C.L.
  12. charles darwin
    Charles Darwin (Shrewsbury 12 February 1809 - Downe 19 April 1882), English naturalist who realised and presented compelling evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors (Wikipedia)
    Sculpted by Henry Hope Pinker; unveiled 14 June 1899; presented by Mr. Edward B. Poulton.
  13. newton
    Sir Isaac Newton (Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, Lincoln, 1643 - Kensington, 1727), English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Alexander Munro; presented by Queen Victoria, 1857.
  14. galileo
    Galileo Galilei (Pisa 1564 - Arcetri 1642), Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Alexander Munro; presented by Queen Victoria, 1857
  15. euclid
    Euclid (Greek: Εὐκλείδης, Eukleidēs) (fl. 300 BC), sometimes called Euclid of Alexandria, Greek mathematician, often referred to as the 'Father of Geometry' (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Joseph Durham, signed "j. durham"; presented by the Freemasons of the province of Oxfordshire.
  16. william buckland, d.d., f.r.s. | reader in mineralogy 1813-56 | and in geology 1818-56
    William Buckland (Axminster 1784 - Islip 1856), English theologian who became Dean of Westminster. He was also a geologist and palaeontologist, writing the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus (Wikipedia).

    Along the south arcade:

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    17. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    18. Hans Christian Ørsted
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    19. John Phillips
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    20. William 'Strata' Smith

  17. leibnitz
    Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (Leipzig 1646 - Hannover 1716), German mathematician and philosopher (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Alexander Munro; presented by Queen Victoria.
  18. oersted
    Hans Christian Ørsted (Rudkøbing 1777 - København 1851), Danish physicist and chemist (Wikipedia).
    Plaster statue, sculpted by J.A. Jerichau; presented by Queen Victoria. (the Danish name is on the museum's website erroneously read as K. Jobhen. See: Dan Ch. Christensen, Hans Christian Ørsted: Reading Nature's Mind (Oxford 2013), p. 12.
  19. john phillips, m.a., f.r.s. | reader in geology 1856-80 | professor of geology 1860-74 | keeper of the university museum 1857-74.
    John Phillips (Marden, Wiltshire 1800 - Oxford 1874), English geologist. In 1841 he published the first global geologic time scale based on the correlation of fossils in rock strata, thereby helping to standardize terminology including the term Mesozoic, which he invented (Wikipedia). He was a nephew of William Smith, see next entry.
  20. william smith
    William 'Strata' Smith (Churchill, Oxfordshire 1769 - Northampton 1839), English geologist, credited with creating the first nationwide geological map (Wikipedia). He was an uncle of John Philips, see preceding entry.

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    21. James Watt
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    22. George Stephenson
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    23. Sir Joseph Prestwich
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    24. Henry John Stephen Smith

  21. watt
    James Watt (Greenock, Renfrewshire 1736 - Handsworth, Birmingham 1819), Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Alexander Munro; presented by Mr. Boulton.
  22. george stephenson
    George Stephenson (Wylam-on-Tyne 1781 - Chesterfield 1848) was an English civil engineer and mechanical engineer who built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use steam locomotives (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Joseph Durham, signed "j. durham"
  23. sir joseph prestwich, knt., d.c.l., f.r.s. | professor of geology 1874-88.
    Sir Joseph Prestwich (Clapham 1812 - 1896), British geologist and businessman (Wikipedia).
  24. henry john stephen smith, m.a., f.r.s. | savilian professor of geometry 1861-83 | keeper of the university museum 1874-83.
    Henry Smith (Dublin 1826 - Oxford 1883), Irish mathematician remembered for his work in elementary divisors, quadratic forms, and Smith-Minkowski-Siegel mass formula in number theory; Professor of Geometry at Oxford, 1861-1883, and keeper of the University Museum, 1874-1883 (Wikipedia).

    Along the west arcade back to the entrance:

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    25. Sir Humphry Davy
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    26. Joseph Priestley
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    27. Roger Bacon
    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    28. Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban

  25. humphry davy
    Sir Humphry Davy (Penzance 1778 - Genève 1829), British chemist and inventor (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Alexander Munro; presented by the Marquis of Lothian.
  26. priestley
    Joseph Priestley (Birstall, Leeds, 1733 - Northumberland County, Pennsylvania 1804), English theologian, Dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and Liberal political theorist, usually credited with the discovery of oxygen (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Edward Stephens, 1860
  27. 1214 roger bacon 1292
    Roger Bacon (ca. 1214 - c. 1292), English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Henry Hope Pinker.
  28. bacon
    Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban (London 1561 - Highgate, Middlesex 1626), English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist and author (Wikipedia).
    Sculpted by Thomas Woolner; presented by Queen Victoria, 1857

    In a northern sideroom:

    Oxford - Statues of Scientists
    29. Sir Henry Wentworth Dyke Acland

  29. henrici wentworth-acland | baronetti amplissimi ordinis | balnei eqvitis | medicinæ apvd nos per annos | xxxvii professoris regii | qvi has ædes opse sva et | consilio constitvendas | procvravit | vt in perpetvvm scientiarvm | natvralivm inter se | connexarvm | domicilio essent | hanc effigiem | p.p. amici et collegæ
    Sir Henry Wentworth Dyke Acland, 1st Baronet, KCB (Killerton, Exeter 1815 - 16 October 1900), English physician and educator (Wikipedia).


  1. Armstead: 2
  2. Durham: 15, 22
  3. Munro: 6, 13, 14, 17, 21, 25
  4. Pinker: 3, 4, 7, 12, 27
  5. Stephens: 26
  6. Tupper: 11
  7. Weekes: 5
  8. Woolner: 1, 28


Sources & Information


  • Burdon-Sanderson, John
  • Chemist
  • Darwin, Charles
  • Davy, Humphry
  • Durham, Joseph
  • Engineer
  • Euclid
  • Galilei, Galileo
  • Gallery of Honor
  • Geologist
  • Harvey, William
  • Hippocrates
  • Hope-Pinker, Henry Richard
  • Hunter (surgeon), John
  • Jerichau, J.A.
  • Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm
  • Linné (Linnaeus), Carl von
  • Mathematician
  • Munro, Alexander
  • Naturalist
  • Newton, Isaac
  • Ørsted, Hans Christian
  • Palaeontologist
  • Phillips, John
  • Philosopher
  • Physician
  • Physicist
  • Physiologist
  • Prestwich, Joseph
  • Priestley, Joseph
  • Rolleston, George
  • Smith, Henry J.S.
  • Smith, William
  • Statue (man)
  • Stephens, Edward Bowring
  • Stephenson, George
  • Surgeon
  • Sydenham, Thomas
  • Tupper, John Lucas
  • Watt, James
  • Weekes, Henry
  • Weldon, Raphael
  • Woodward, Benjamin
  • Woolner, Thomas
  • Locatie (N 51°45'31" - W 1°15'20") (Satellite view: Google Maps)

    Item Code: gbse162; Photograph: 18 October 2015
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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