Saturday, May 21, 2011

3rd History & Architecture of Oxford Tour

The third tour of Oxford focussed on the influence of the Renaissance on Oxford architecture. The Renaissance was basically a return to the architectural ideas of ancient Greece and Rome. They incorporated Roman-style arches and columns among other things into a new sort of architecture. My whole History of London paper from a couple weeks ago, which I put in an earlier post, was on this topic. Examples in Oxford of Renaissance influence came from St. John's Canterbury Quad, Wadham College, and the Bodleian Library.

The Divinity School. This room served as the sanatorium in the Harry Potter movies. It has some of the most elaborate ceilings I have ever seen. The work is done in the Perpendicular Gothic (not Classical) style. Note the elaborate fan-vaulted ceiling.

An unauthorized photograph of the Bodleian Library. That guy sitting in the box yelled at us for taking photographs afterwards.

The Tower of the Five Orders. 
The five orders the name of the building refers to are the five orders of Classical architecture. ( You can see examples of all five styles in the five stories of the buildings. The columns framing the tower show the orders in order of elegance, from bottom to top: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite. The three basic Greek orders are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Tuscan is similar to Doric, but even plainer. Composite combines the ornaments of the Ionic and Corinthian orders to produce the most elaborate order. 

The quad of Wadham College. You can see a tower very similar to the one above.

 St. John's Canterbury Quad. Again, you can see circular Roman arches and plenty of Roman columns. Above the statue of the college's founder, you also see a pediment in the rounded French style. England got many of its Renaissance ideas through France.

This is at Wadham College, but it could be at any other. Nearly every college has a bunch of lawns that nobody is allowed to walk on. Sometimes there are even lawns where only college fellows can walk on them. Sometimes there are specific hours during which you can walk on the lawns. Sometimes you can walk on the lawns only if you are within a set distance of a fellow of the college.

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