John Owens, Founder of the University of Manchester

T Woolner

John Owens, Founder of the University of Manchester

T Woolner


A photograph of a sculpted profile portrait of John Owens (1790-1846), whose legacy was used to found Owens College, the institution which became the University of Manchester. The photograph appears to have been cut out of the programme for the Owens College Jubilee celebrations in 1901-02. The original sculpture, by Thomas Woolner, is in an oval format, and appears to be carved in stone in low-relief. Owens is facing to the right. He wears a collar with a small ruffle visible above it. His hair is collar-length, brushed back from his forehead. He seems to be in late middle-age. The image has a card mount, decorated with the coat-of-arms and latin motto of the University of Manchester: 'Arduus ad Solem' has been written below a shield with a green knotted snake on a silver castellated background, behind which a gold sun rises in a blue sky. This is hand-painted, probably in the 1920s, by Bertha Hindshaw (1881-1955), the curator of the Horsfall Museum, an educational museum in Ancoats, Manchester. Hindshaw had been present at the Owens College Jubilee celebrations, and believed in the value of heraldry and pageantry in bringing history to life for children.

Object Name

John Owens, Founder of the University of Manchester

Creators Name

T Woolner

Date Created



mount: 37.9cm x 27.5cm

accession number


Place of creation

United Kingdom






Transferred from the Horsfall Museum Collection, 1918


© Manchester Art Gallery

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