Saturday 9 December 2017

Wandering around Oxford

Having visited the Oxford Ceramics Gallery, and before moving on to Modern Art Oxford, we decided to be tourists for a few hours and exploring Oxford, something we had not done for a while.

We walked down Woodstock Road and eventually reached the Randolph. The hotel was built in 1864, its architecture is Victorian Gothic in style. It has featured in the Inspector Morse series several times.

The Martyrs' Memorial on the left.

Balliol College, the University's oldest college, established in 1263, was open so we went in.

We only went as far as the quad

Anthony Gormley's Iron Man, on the roof of Blackwell's Art and Poster shop on Broad Street

The 7ft figure, cast in iron and weighing half a tonne, was inspired by Gormley's physique.

Gormley said: 'The casual passer-by will ask, 'what is that naked iron bloke doing up there?'  for which I hope there will never be a single satisfactory answer. It indicates an exposed place, separated from the shelter of the architecture that might otherwise contain, where one man once was and by implication anyone could be'.

Headington stone was used to build most of these buildings, and now that it has aged and mellowed they look absolutely gorgeous.

Our next stop was the Bodleian library.

This is the main research library of the University of Oxford and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it's the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. It operates principally as a reference library, and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.

We then walked into the Old Schools Quadrangle,

built between 1613 and 1619

its tower forms the main entrance to the library. It's known as the Tower of the Five Orders, because it is ornamented, in ascending order, with the columns of each of the five orders of classical architecture: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite.

On the opposite side of the quad is the Divinity School. Created between 1427 and 1488, this library was built above a lecture room intended for Theology.

The interior is stunning

The ceiling consists of very elaborate lierne vaulting with bosses (455 of them), designed by William Orchard.

We moved out of the quad and towards

Radcliffe Camera.  The rotunda was the idea of architect Nicholas Hawksmoor but the work was interpreted by James Gibbs.

Our next stop was Brasenose College.

This college has three quads. This arch led on to a second quad

University Church of St Mary the Virgin is just across the road, so we went to explore.

St Mary's was the site of the 1555 trial of the Oxford Martyrs, when the bishops Latimer and Ridley and the Archbishop Cranmer were tried for heresy. The martyrs were imprisoned at the former Bocardo Prison and subsequently burnt at the stake just outside the city walls to the north.

The interior space has six-bay arcades with shafted piers

Next was All Souls college which was closed

but we had a peep through the railings

Next, we went to the Covered Market, but I forgot to take any photographs.

By now we were hungry so we moved on to Frideswide Square where we knew there was a market of world food. It did not disappoint:






North African,

Ethiopian and Eritrean,

which is what we settled for. Ken had some Shiro  and I had some dahl with rice. It was delicious.

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