Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Oxford Colleges (2)

University College and The Queen's College

University College is the oldest of the colleges at Oxford; its main entrance is on High Street and it is bounded by Merton Street and Magpie Lane. It was founded by William of Durham in 1249 (although there exist unproven claims it was founded by King Alfred in 872), and until the 16th century was only open to Fellows studying theology. As the college grew in size and wealth, its medieval buildings were replaced with the current Main Quadrangle in the 17th Century. Although the foundation stone was placed on 17 April 1634 the disruption of the English Civil War meant it was not completed until sometime in 1676.

The east end of the chapel.

Work on the Chapel started in 1640/1 and after delays due to the English Civil War, it was finally consecrated in 1666. In 1862 George Gilbert Scott installed a new Gothic styled roof.

It is difficult to say exactly why, but this chapel felt right - the size, the proportions, the decoration, the windows, all came together - it wasn't trying to be anything other than a college chapel...and it did it very well.

Much of the stained glass is by the Dutch artist Abraham van Linge and dates back to the original construction of the chapel.

The Queen’s College was founded during the 14th century by Robert de Eglesfield (d'Eglesfield), chaplain to Queen Philippa of Hainault (the wife of King Edward III of England); The medieval college was rebuilt in the early 1700s so that by 1730 Queens was the only Oxford college to be housed entirely in Baroque buildings. The Front Quad has been called 'the grandest piece of classical architecture in Oxford' and was heavily influenced by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor.

The view from the Porters Lodge across the Front Quad towards the Back Quad.

The view back across the Front Quad to the Porters Lodge on the High Street.

View across the Back Quad towards the Library.

There has been a chapel at the Queen’s College since 1382: the present chapel was consecrated in 1719 and remains relatively unchanged today. Although not as grand as he originally envisaged, the design of both the exterior and interior is essentially Hawksmoor’s. It comprises a rectangle with a full height eastern aspe. Over the sanctuary (at the eastern end) is a circular painting of the Ascension by Sir James Thornhill.

The windows are circa 1717 by Joshua Price.

The view towards the west end and the antechapel

Quite a contrast to the chapel at University College yet impressive and in keeping with the Baroque style of Queen's College, but perhaps a little too splendid for a university chapel - I think I prefer the chapel at University College.

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