These herm busts, copied from designs by Sir Christopher Wren (d. 1723), served for a century (1868-1972) as the guardian 'termains' for the theatrical 'Roman' assembly hall built by Wren in the 1660s for the University at Oxford, and named after Gilbert Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1677). The original Sheldonian 'Philosophers', comprised a dozen busts, which together with gatepier Janus-heads, embellished the iron palisade screening the theatre's circular front on Broad Street. Introducing 'ancient Roman grandeur', they were designed in 1666 and inspired by Louis Le Vau's screen at Vaux-le-Vicomte, France. The heads, executed by the celebrated Oxford sculptor mason William Bird (Byrd) (b. 1624), derived in part from Wren's copy of J. J. Boissard's, Antiquitatum Romanorum, Frankfurt, 1597/8. Appropriate to the privileged enclosure of an ancient academy in which Latin was spoken, they depicted statesmen, philosophers etc., and included the historian Heraclitus and orator Isocrates. They featured in David Loggan's Oxonia Illustrata, 1675; while related termains of 'eminent Grecian and other ancient philosophers' were introduced in the 1680s at Bretby, Derbyshire. These Sheldonian heads, which replaced those by Bird in the 1860s, have also been popularly known as the Emperors: they were immortalised By Max Beerbohm in Zuleika Dobson, or an Oxford Romance, 'as they emerged side by side into the street, the Emperors exchanged strong sidelong glancs' (Zuleika Dobson, or an Oxford Love Story, London 1911, p. 76).