Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Bodleian Library traces its roots back to 1320. It was expanded in 1426 by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, when his collection of manuscripts wouldn't fit in his old library. Since his brother was King Henry V, he didn't have any troubles with Oxford authorities. The library was refounded by (and renamed after) Thomas Bodley in 1602, who expanded the size of the library and the amount of rules, such as the keeper of the library can't be married and the library doesn't loan out books, they must be read there. The library is a copyright deposit library, so every book published in England comes there. The library has over 6 million volumes stored in its main building and in Radcliffe Camera.

J and the blogger at Radcliffe Camera

The main building is made up of the Old School Quadrangle, which features entrances for various schools with their Latin names above.

Entrance to the Quadrangle (from the inside)

School of Logic and Rhetoric (now the gift shop)

Logic and Rhetoric, Music

Natural Philosophy, Medicine

Library, Moral Philosophy

Grammar and History, Languages and Math


The decorations are impressive if not colorful.

Ceiling decoration, the most color outside

A fellow waiting to get into the library

Statue of William Herbert, Chancellor of the University (1617-30)

More picturesque is the Radcliffe Camera, a fantastic Baroque rotunda just outside the quadrangle. James Gibb built it in 1748 in honor of John Radcliffe, a prominent physician who died in 1714 and left £40,000 in his will for the cost. The rotunda originally housed the science library and now serves as the reading room for the library.

Radcliffe Camera

Sadly, regular tourists can't go inside without arranging a tour, so we did not wander around the stacks. I am sure it would have been fun.

A school and a camera!

Behind the rotunda is All Souls College, one of the schools that makes up the Oxford University.  All Souls was founded in 1438 by Henry VI.

All Souls all alone

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