Project Development

Mansfield College Chapel – Planning visit

Today was due to be a reconnaissance visit to Mansfield College Chapel, but as I was travelling to the neighbouring Harris Manchester College to photograph the east window, despite the less than ideal lighting conditions (bright, clear blue sky) it seemed sensible to attempt some photography.

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The Victorian Gothic chapel is one of the largest in Oxford and is now a multi-function space.  The college chapel is unconsecrated, and contains stained glass windows and statues depicting leading figures from Nonconformist movements, including Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane and William Penn.  Chapel services are still conducted in a Nonconformist tradition, with an evening service each Wednesday.  It is routinely used as a dining hall – indeed on my visit I was being set up for a significant banquet.

The chapel is aligned almost north-south and with harsh sunlight pouring through the west windows, precluded them from being photographed.  However, the light was more sympathetic on the east wall, where there were a number of low-level windows, sadly, most of these were partially obscured by internal fittings and furnishings stacked within the chapel in addition to receiving unbalanced lighting thanks to foliage outside.

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The south windows, while very high,  benefitted from having the full length of the chapel to help minimise angles and converging verticals.  Additionally, the pews at the north end (shown above) afforded some additional height.

While I do have the appropriate kit with me, I imagine that a follow-up visit may be sensible on a day with more sympathetic lighting.

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