Some of Oxford’s most renowned institutions are named after a celebrated 18th-century benefactor. The Radcliffe Observatory and Radcliffe Camera date from that period and the modern John Radcliffe is recognised as one of the country’s finest teaching hospitals.
To celebrate the tercentenary of his death, the Radcliffe Trust in association with the Ashmolean Museum commissioned a sculpture to stand on the lawn next to the Radcliffe Observatory within the grounds of Green Templeton College, Oxford.
John Radcliffe amassed a great fortune, later bequeathed to medical and educational causes, from his work as a physician. He was renowned as a diagnostician, but almost as well-known for his scornful view of patients and fellow doctors.
The over-lifesize sculpture depicts him in informal and somewhat rakish style, with a felt cap on his head in the place of the customary wig and with his gold-topped cane in hand. Enveloped in baroque doublet and cloak he gazes at the viewer with narrowed supercilious eyes.