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Oxford, University Dress f.38

Oxford, University Dress f.38

Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymous

Medium: Ink wash on paper

Date: 1783

Shelfmark: Additional MS 15546

Item number: f.38

Length: 19

Width: 27.35

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

A drawing in ink depicting Oxford University dress, by S.H. Grimm. Detailed rules governed what members of the university should wear, and it is possible to recognize the degrees held by graduates and the social rank or status of undergraduates by their robes.

The figure on the left is a Commoner, an ordinary undergraduate student who pays for his college accommodation and meals (‘commons’). He wears a sleeveless black gown with streamers hanging from the shoulders and a mortarboard cap with a black tassel. The figure on the right holds a doctorate and is shown in Convocation dress, which is worn when attending formal university business meetings and church services. It consists of bands; a black gown with long closed sleeves; a sleeveless scarlet habit worn over the gown; and a scarlet hood, which hangs down the back and is lined with coloured silk. Grimm has, perhaps inadvertently, combined two degrees here: the gown (like the clerical wig) belongs to a Doctor of Divinity, but the hood lined with pink silk belongs to a Doctor of Civil Law or Medicine. (Colours are marked in words on the drawing.)

This description was provided by The Burgon Society, which was founded to promote the study of academical dress.

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