Sir William Jones Memorial

Univ_Sir William Jones Memorial.jpg


Sir William Jones Memorial


Orientalism in Oxford


This monument designed by John Flaxman (1755–1826), now at University College, shows Sir William Jones (1746–1794), a prominent orientalist, judge, and alumnus of the College, writing with three Hindu pundits, or scholars, informing his work. Jones was a student of Persian and Sanskrit, and graduated from Oxford in 1773. He became a judge for the supreme court in Calcutta. His works, including Grammar of the Persian Language (1771), were influential in preparing writers for work with the East India Company and promoting 'romantic orientalism' in nineteenth-century literature. His memorial at University College, completed before 1797, is intended to demonstrate the exchange of knowledge between East and West. Seen as liberal in his day, Jones's attitudes have come under increasing criticism in recent years.

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Photo credit: University College, University of Oxford / Art UK, CC BY-NC 4.0

Alt text

Stone monument depicting William Jones taking notes from other scholars with the caption 'He formed a digest of Hindu and Mohammedan laws'.

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