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Oxford by night

It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for some time: photograph Oxford’s city centre by night. The first requirement, a tripod, was met a couple of months ago.

Last Friday, I finally had the opportunity to take pictures just after sunset. The famous ‘blue hour’ appeared to last less than an hour, but I managed to capture the beautiful dark blue sky just after sunset. And a small sliver of the moon.

The cover photo is of the Sheldonian theatre, with the Bodleian library to the left and the Clarendon building to the right (formerly home to Oxford University Press, today part of the Bodleian library).

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By the time I reached the church of St Mary the Virgin, the sky was completely dark.  It made the brightly lit tower stand out even more.

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Puzzling tree

On my last visit to the Botanic Garden in Oxford, the monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) caught my eye, with its strange spiky branches.

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Resin was seeping from its bark.

Especially the dead one on the ground gave the impression of a branched snake covered with dragon scales.

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All Souls College

All Souls College, or ‘College of the souls of all the faithful departed’ as it is formally called, was planned and built in the 1430s. It received its foundation charter in 1438.

The Fellows of the College, next to their scholarly work, had the obligation to pray in chapel for the souls of the founders, of those who had fallen in the long wars with France (at the time not being prosecuted with much vigour), and of ‘all the faithful departed’.

The antechapel has beautiful stained glass windows, some dating from the fifteenth century. The niches behind the altar contain statues of saints, bishops, and monarchs. In the centre are a Crucifixion scene, and a Last Judgement, high up under the roof. The original fifteenth-century statues were destroyed in Reformation. They were replaced with these Gothic imitations in the nineteenth century. Gilded wooden angels adorn the ends of the roof beams.

 

 

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The North Quadrangle, facing Radcliffe Square, is dominated by its iconic twin towers.

 

 

 

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The Codrington Library contains about 185,000 volumes, about a third of which were printed before 1800.

 

 

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