Outside the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, the walls are decorated by a series of carved heads. These are the third generation of stone heads here and they are sometimes known as ‘the Sheldonian Emperors’, although they could just as well represent philosophers..
Some of the present generation of heads generally has a startled or even shocked expression – these are based on some of the original heads. It is said that when Wren commissioned the first heads their expressions were his way of having a jibe at the limited budget for the decoration of the Sheldonian.
This is my study of one of the heads, although this one looks more jolly than startled.