Thursday, 4 September 2008
From the back entrance to my former College, Univ., it was only a short distance to the Canterbury Gate of Christ Church ("the House"), so I passed that way often when I was up at Oxford (in the early 'Sixties). I took this photograph on Tuesday morning, standing just inside the Gate. On the left is the East end of the Library which faces onto Peckwater Quad, scene of much partygoing.
In 1765 General John Guise, an Old Member of the House, died leaving it a collection of some 2,000 drawings and 200 paintings. They were hung - or a few of them were - in the Library until the late 'Sixties, when the Christ Church Picture Gallery was built - to "House" them properly. It's celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special exhibition and has on display some of the best drawings, prompting our visit - my first for a long while.
What an amazing collection it is! And what a place on its own is Christ Church! We were there with Caroline and Andrew Meynell, having been staying with them. This gave us easy access to the Cathedral - Andrew being an Hon. Canon - via Cardinal Wolsey's Tom Quad.
Doubling as a college chapel, it's a tiny cathedral, you tend to forget - compared to Gloucester for instance. But the stained glass is particularly fine, dating from many different periods.
We ended up at The Bear for a nostalgic (for me anyway) lunch.