'Nowhere in England is there a more vivid reminder of the union of Church and Crown' than in the bronze statutes of Charles I and his Catholic queen, Henrietta Maria, which provided the centrepieces to the east and west ranges of the Canterbury Quadrangle, constructed by Archbishop Laud in St John's College between 1631 and 1636.* '[A]s symbols of royalty to be seen at a respectful distance the two statues fulfil their hieratic function' magnificently. While Charles and his queen were resident in Oxford, these fine statues may have been a source of some gratification, but the surrender of the city to Parliamentary forces in 1646 placed them in grave danger. 'According to one traditon they were taken down and buried to save them from destruction; according to another they were offered for sale by the Parliamentary authorities, but "were ignorantly refused, because not solid" and so survived, to be reinstated at the Restoration.'**
The bronze bust of Charles I in the entrance to Duke Humphrey's Library, also donated by Archbishop Laud in 1636, was placed in a niche carved by 'Mr Jackson' in 1641, taken down during the Protectorate, restored to its current position in 1661, and depicted in Loggan's engraving of 1675.
* Geoffrey Tyack, Oxford: An Architectural Guide, Oxford 1998, p. 111.
** Howard Colvin, The Canterbury Quadrangle, Oxford, 1988, p. 38.
Photos: Andrew Shiva, East side of Canterbury Quad, St John's College, Oxford; 15 April 2014. Source: Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Credit: Howard Hotson (June 2018)