Frieze of nine life-size statues in Darley Dale stone in niches in the main façade of the University of Birmingham's Great Hall. From left to right they depict (the names are inscribed at the side of the niche and on the base):
Ludwig van Beethoven (Bonn 1770 - Wien 1827), German composer and pianist,
Virgil, Publius Vergilius Maro (70 - 19 BC), ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period (Wikipedia).
- michelangelo (on the side: michael angelo)
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Caprese 1475 - Rome 1564), Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance
Plato, Greek: Πλάτων (428/427 or 424/423 - 348/347 BC), philosopher, as well as mathematician, in Classical Greece and an influential figure in philosophy, central in Western philosophy (Wikipedia).
William Shakespeare (Stratford-upon-Avon 1564 - id. 1616), English poet and playwright (Wikipedia).
Sir Isaac Newton (Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, Lincoln, 1643 - Kensington, 1727), English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian
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
Michael Faraday (Newington Butts, England 1791 - Hampton Court, Middlesex 1867),
English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry
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
The vision of Joseph Chamberlain, the founder of the University, for the university was of 'a school of universal instruction, not confined to any particular branch of knowledge but taking all knowledge in its province'. Such a spread of knowledge, through the various branches of the arts and sciences, is reflected in the choice of figures for these stone sculptures.
The frieze was carved in situ by Henry Pegram. The lines of the five blocks of stone which continue through to the façade of the building are visible.
- Henry Alfred Pegram (London 1862 - Hampstead, London 1937),
British sculptor, an exponent of the New Sculpture movement
Sources & Information
Location N 52°26'57" W 1°55'50"
Item Code: gbwm069; Photograph: 24 June 2014
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt