Odds and quads - 14 November 2013

November 14, 2013

One of the greatest British writers of the 18th century, Samuel Johnson (1709-84) studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, for just over a year before he ran out of money. He would later describe himself as “a hardened and shameless Tea-drinker, who has for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant, whose kettle has scarcely time to cool, who with Tea amuses the evening, with Tea solaces the midnight, and with Tea welcomes the morning”.

The Worcester gruel mug (c.1765), now owned by Pembroke, was kept in the city for Dr Johnson’s personal use during his frequent visits to his friend Thomas Warton. The two‑quart teapot (also Worcester, c.1765) was given to the college in 1858 by a descendant of the Reverend Samuel Parker of Henley, whose wife was part of Dr Johnson’s social circle.

The Japanese short sword, one of a pair traditionally worn by a samurai, was donated to the college in 1932 by Sir William Conyngham, former British ambassador to Japan. Both the blade and the handle date from the first half of the 18th century. The hilt is decorated in ray skin bound in dark brown silk.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns