London University faces Burlington Gardens, and lies at the back of the Royal Academy. Although founded in 1836, the University had no habitation of its own until the erection thirty-three years later of the present building, after designs by Pennethorne. The façade of this Renaissance structure is very striking, and the statues with which it is decorated are noteworthy. The figures over the portico are those of Milton, Newton, Harvey, and Bentham, representing the faculties of arts, science, medicine, and law, in which the University grants degrees. The rest of the statues in the series are counterfeit presentments of other great men of various nationalities, from the time of Plato to that of Sir Humphry Davy. Inside the building are a large theatre and many spacious rooms.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896