Classics Transformed: Schools, Universities, and Society in England, 1830-1960

By Christopher Stray | Go to book overview

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Frontispiece: Dr Busby's Chairii

Richard Busby was headmaster of Westminster School, 1638-95. He was famous in his own time as the author of school grammars and as a staunch monarchist throughout the Protectorate of Cromwell. The attribution to Lely is a joke; a chair of c. 1670 presented to Busby survives in the school but is undecorated. The 'sedes Busbiana' is adorned with symbols of the different aspects of classical language learning. The birch supports a figure looking upward to a bishop's mitre—the sign of a hoped-for preferment, as with the 'Greek Play Bishops' of the early nineteenth century. This print was published in 1802, and reflects the continuing domination of the public-school curriculum by the 'gerund grind' of Latin and Greek teaching. The theme of the mythical/heroic headmaster is also seen in the (mock-) veneration of Benjamin Kennedy of Shrewbury in Fig. 11. 'In hoc signo vinces' ('in this sign you shall be victorious) refers to the cross seen in the sky by Constantine before the crucial battle which he went on to win. (From the original in Westminster School archives, by courtesy of John Field.)

Fig. 1: Sedes Busbiana40

This 'explanation' of the Sedes Busbiana print of 1802 (see Frontispiece) is found on the reverse of some copies. (Cf. M. D. George Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: Personal and Political Satires, no. 9947.)

Fig. 2: Prospectus for John Darby's Academy42

The Academy was typical of the large numbers of private schools which offered tuition in a wide range of subjects not taught in the public schools. Classical tuition was also offered, but largely in deference to the social aspirations of pupils and their parents. ( Leeds Public Library.)

Fig. 3: Benjamin Kennedy in his schoolroom50-1
(a) Kennedy ( 1804-89) was headmaster of Shrewsbury School 1836- 66, and the most famous schoolmaster of his day. This is a collage made by an ex-pupil, who stuck it into his copy of Sabrinae Corolla,

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