The Historic Heart of Oxford University

SKU: BODS-100596

‘The area by the Radcliffe Camera and the Bodleian is unique in the world, or, if that seems a hazardous statement, it is certainly unparalleled at Cambridge ... it is the closeness and compactness, the absence of anything merely a foil that is only true of Oxford.' – Nikolaus Pevsner, Buildings of England, Oxfordshire

Oxford’s university buildings are world-famous. Over eight centuries, starting in the twelfth century, the University – the third oldest in Europe – gradually occupied a substantial portion of the city, creating in the process a unique townscape containing the Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre and the Radcliffe Camera.

This book tells the story of the growth of the forum universitatis – as the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor called it – and relates it to the broader history of the University and the city. Based on up-to-date scholarship, and drawing upon the author’s own research into Oxford’s architectural history and the work of Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, James Gibbs and Giles Gilbert Scott, each of the eight chapters focuses on the gestation, creation and subsequent history of a single building, or pair of buildings, relating them to developments in the University’s intellectual and institutional life, and to broader themes in architectural and urban history.

Accessible and well-illustrated with plans, archival prints and specially commissioned photography, this book will appeal to anyone who wishes to understand and enjoy Oxford’s matchless architectural heritage.

Geoffrey Tyack is a member of the History Faculty of the University of Oxford and an emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College.

  • Hardback
  • 192 pages, 250 x 210 mm
  • 102 colour illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781851245284
  • Publication March 2022

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