Odds and quads

One of the classic images of the frozen North, Sir Edwin Landseer's Man Proposes, God Disposes was first exhibited in 1864 and praised for its "tragic grandeur".

October 25, 2012




It was later purchased by the medical entrepreneur Thomas Holloway and so found its way into the Picture Gallery at what is now Royal Holloway, University of London. Around 1970, however, rumours began to circulate that it upset some students sitting exams and had even driven one mad. Hence the tradition shown here of covering it up with a Union flag while exams are in progress.

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

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