It is not known who created this classical bust of Asklepios (Asclapius), although it is possible that it came from a supplier such as Brucciani & Co. This bust is similar to the bust of Asklepios found in the Sibbald Library. However, in contrast to the other pairs of busts in the college (for instance those of Harvey and Hippocrates) which are identical, these busts differ in their finish. Whilst the bust of Aesculapius in the Sibbald Library is finished in white, this piece appears to have been modelled in terracotta and has been left without a white finish.

 A statue of Asklepios can also be seen on the College's main façade.


Asklepios was the Greek god of healing. He was the father of Hygiea, whose statue can be found, alongside his own, on the main façade of the college.  In the Iliad Asklepios is also represented as the father of Machaon and Podaleirios, the doctors who attend the Greek army during the siege of Troy.

Asklepios himself was the son of Apollo and Coronis, a mortal. Apollo killed Coronis for marrying another mortal, Ischys, but he saved their child whom he gave to the wise centaur Chiron to care for. It was from Chiron that Asklepios learned the art of medicine. According to Greek mythology Asklepios was killed by Zeus because he restored the health of Hippolytos when entreated to do so by Artemis.

By the classical period Asklepioswas worshipped as a god and as the founder of medicine. His shrines often contain a sacred snake, always acquired from the main temple to him at Epidaurus. This may contribute to the traditional artistic representation of Asklepios in which he carries a staff entwined with a snake. The serpents and rods, which Ritchie executed on the façade of the college, are also symbols which derived from this traditional representation of Asklepios.

On his deathbed Socrates is believed to have said: ‘Remember we owe a cock to Asklepios', a statement which recalls that cockerels were ritually sacrificed to Asklepios. References to Asklepios return throughout the fabric of this building, for instance the japanned caps of the lights outside the College have gilded cockerels.