University College Chapel – Planning visit
Work started on Univ Chapel in 1639. Inspired by the Dutch artist Abraham van Linge‘s windows in the chapels of Lincoln College and Queen’s College, together with Christ Church Cathedral, eight side windows and one grand east window was commissioned.
While the side windows were finished in 1641 (van Linge’s last windows in Oxford), the English Civil War interrupted further work and it was not until after the Restoration of the Monarchy that the chapel was consecrated (20 March 1666).
The east end of the chapel was captured in a photograph by William Fox Talbot shortly before an extensive refurbishment in the 1860’s that saw the installation of a new roof and east window. More images can be seen in The Talbot Catalogue Raisonné.
Unfortunately, without further permission to access the Master’s Lawn, I am unable to recreate this image perfectly, which would have been a fitting touch. However, my image below shows the significant alterations that were made to the chapel following Fox Talbot’s photograph. That gives me an idea for another project: In the footsteps of Fox Talbot, recreating his Oxford portfolio. Perhaps in another life.
Permission to photograph the chapel was a long time coming, but I was granted permission for a planning visit on 10 October, spending some time appreciating the location and considering the options. It is probable that in keeping with my recent work in Harris Manchester, I will capture some of the smaller lights within the east window in addition to one or two larger lights. The perennial challenge of excluding large candelabras from the photographs will be a feature here, with two at a frustratingly low-level.