Colin H. Roberts (1909-1990) will be known to some as the papyrologist who published editions of many important papyri, including early Christian pieces like P.Ryl. Gr. 3 457 (a.k.a. P52) and the Magdalen College fragments of the Gospel of Matthew (P64). To others he will be known as the Secretary to the Delegates (basically the CEO) of Oxford University Press from 1954 to 1974.
His obituary in the Proceedings of the British Academy concludes, as these obituaries often do, with a few words about his physical appearance. That description includes the following interesting note:
“His physique and what it told about his character were well caught…in the well-known Muirhead Bone view of Blackwell’s, in which he is one of the browsing scholars.”
In my first trip to Blackwell’s in several years yesterday, I stumbled across this picture in person for the first time. I noticed it sitting in a somewhat beat-up frame, leaning randomly against one of the walls near a stairwell. I was surprised to see it was in color, as I had only ever seen a black and white reproduction. I’m guessing that Roberts must be the nearest figure facing right on the right side of the picture.
A comparison with a roughly contemporary picture of Roberts shows some similarities:
I wonder if the identities of any of the other figures in the picture are known? [[Update 19 June 2022: The identities of several of the people in the picture are revealed here!]]