University anniversaries

Jubilee celebrations 1902

An At Home held at the Women's College, 3 October 1902

While the Undergraduates' Smoke Concert was in progress in the Great Hall, a number of guests were being entertained by Miss Louisa MacDonald, founding principal, at the Women's College.

The Women

Women's College c1900 with 3 College students seated on the lawn, photo, courtesy Women's College & donated by Elizabeth Vickery

A number of Greek tableaux were presented by the students of the College and dealt chiefly with events connected with the siege of Troy.

The entertainment was begun by Mr Arthur Pratt, who sang a Hymn to Nemesis.

The curtain then rose upon "the goddesses, Hera, Pallas, and Aphrodite, with the apple of discord."

The succeeding tableaux represented:

  • Helen persuaded by Aphrodite to accompany Paris
  • Andromache's fate as a captive
  • Clytemnestra orders Cassandra to enter the palace
  • Nausicaa and her maidens
  • Penelope at the Loom
  • Penelope mourning
  • Penelope, and the nurse telling of Odysseus's return


The pictures were presented with attention not only to beauty of grouping and colouring, but also to truth of archaeological detail.

Professor MacCallum introduced each with a few explanatory remarks and read English versions of the passages from Homer, Aeschylus, or Euripides, dealing with each particular scene.

The first tableau presented was that of the goddess Hera, Paris and Aphrodite. The legend runs that when Eris, the goddess of strife, threw the golden apple with the inscription "To the fairest" among the guests at the solemnisation of the nuptuals of Peleus and Thetis, the three goddesses Hera, Pallas and Aphrodite each claimed it. Paris was appointed by Zeus to determine who was the fairest, and he decided in favour of Aphrodite. In the tableau, the latter goddess was presented with the golden apple in her hand, and the other two goddesses looking on.

The most effective was "Penelope mourning", which showed the faithful wife with grief-stained eyes watching for the absent Odysseus.

Mr Pratt brought the programme to a close by singing a song from the first Pythian ode of Pindar.

Refreshments were then served among the guests.