"Mr Samgrass of All Souls?"
Entrance to All Souls College
GNU Free Documentation LicenseEntrance to All Souls College - Credit: Bencherlite, Wikimedia Commons

Bookmark readers with good memories will recall that All Souls accepts only the crème de la crème as fellows of the college.

We may assume, therefore, that Mr Samgrass (whom we will come to know very much better, as the novel progresses) has top notch intellectual abilities.

It has been suggested that Waugh based the character on Maurice Bowra (1898-1971), Warden of Wadham College between 1938 and 1970, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford between 1951 and 1954.