It took some careful persuasion, and half a bottle of college port, before the Bursar eventually explained why there was no portrait of the late Master in the great hall. The Master refused to sit for said portrait in life but he granted permission to his executors to arrange a sitting post mortem. The result, admittedly regal and compelling, was rightfully considered too visceral for the undergraduates that would sit beneath its hollow gaze. Fittingly, the portrait was removed to the stairway outside the graduate tutor’s office where passers-by were more comforted than unsettled.
[from the unpublished and unwritten Oxford Noir]