Dominated by the mighty 18th Century Radcliffe Camera in the centre and then flanked on four sides by the Bodleian Library; All Souls College; Brasenose College and the church of St Mary the Virgin – Radcliffe Square in Oxford is quite simply stunning…..there is no other word for it!
The Radcliffe Camera (in Italian “camera” means room) is named after Dr John Radcliffe who was royal physician to William III. When the glory-hunting doctor died in 1714 he bequeathed a huge amount of money for the construction of a library in his honour. The result is the magnificent Italian inspired rotunda designed by architect James Gibbs that you can see below.
All Souls College, founded in 1438, is unique in that it has no undergraduates – it only takes in “fellows” (and outstanding ones at that) to conduct research in their chosen subject. As apparently only 2 or 3 fellowships are awarded each year (and to obtain one you either have to be elected or pass a particularly difficult exam) it’s likely that All Souls is one of the most academically elitist institutions in the world! According to our walking tour guide, it is also reputed to have the best wine cellar of any college in Oxford…..and I suspect that really is saying something!!
Brasenose College dating from 1509, has the dubious distinction (well in my political opinion anyway) of being able to name the current British Prime Minister, David Cameron, as one of its graduates. Fortunately the balance is addressed somewhat by the likes of John Buchan, Michael Palin and William Golding also having graduated from Brasenose.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any photographs of the church of St Mary the Virgin itself, because it’s undergoing a major renovation and is currently covered in scaffolding and plastic sheeting. However we did venture up the 127 steps to the top of the tower to take some shots and they will form the basis of my next post. Not surprisingly this will also include images of Radcliffe Square and its surrounding buildings, especially the Camera, Brasenose and All Souls…..but this time from above.
The same is true for the Bodleian Library – as it’s probably my favourite of all the places we visited in Oxford I thought it deserved a post all of its own. So you’ll have to wait a bit longer for those images as well I’m afraid…..;0).
Copyright: © The Photography of Mark Simms (2012). All rights reserved.