Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Home again, home again...

I'm back! Well, physically I've been back from my trip to England for ten days, but the first five or six found me quite jet-lagged and foggy-brained. I am just now feeling like I'm approaching normalcy (or at least my version of normalcy).

Since I'm just getting back into drawing mode, I have no new drawing to post. But I thought I would share a few highlights, in the next few days, that might be of interest to my fellow artists and book lovers. First up...the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford!

When I arrived for the tour at the appointed time, the woman at the gate told me that I was the first to arrive. "You may go through those double doors and wait inside for the others."  Well, I was already rather awestruck being among the gorgeous buildings of Oxford, so I'm fairly sure that I gasped audibly when I entered this "waiting room":

(I know, the photo is a bit fuzzy...I was a tad overwhelmed.) Formerly the Divinity School, it's an exquisite room. (It may also be known to you as the Hogwarts infirmary.) Our tour guide was fascinating and extremely knowledgeable. As we climbed the stairs and toured the centuries-old Duke Humfrey's Library, we learned that, since its creation around 1600 through current day, all readers (students and staff) in all of the libraries that make up the Bodleian have been required to take this oath:

They are so serious about this oath that Duke Humfrey's library was only used in daylight hours until electric lights were invented. And when the library stood in for Hogwarts' library in the film, the flame on Harry's candle had to be inserted digitally!

We were then taken into the Radcliffe Camera. I was so excited; the public can only enter these rooms on certain tours. No photography was allowed, but I'll easily remember those gorgeous round reading rooms. 

After the tour, we went through the "Magical Books" exhibition at the Bodleian where we saw original sketches by C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Phillip Pullman. Click here if you're interested; much of the exhibition can be seen online.

We then walked over to the Ashmolean Museum to see the Master Drawings exhibit. Click here for more information. While there were stunning drawings from many famous artists, I was especially drawn to (no pun intended) this self-portrait and this sketch by Samuel Palmer.

One last thing—while I toured the Bodleian, my husband climbed to the top of one of the church towers and took these panoramic shots of Oxford. (Click to enlarge.) Such a beautiful town...enjoy!

Next up: Beatrix Potter's stomping grounds, and meeting a British blogging friend...in person!


  1. Welcome back! What great photos--looks and sounds like such a wonderful time! I am jealous that you got to go to the Ashmolean. It's on my bucket list :)

  2. Oxford is, indeed, a lovely city. It is a lovely idea to recount your travels here; I look forward to reading the remainder.
    - Your British blogging friend :-)

  3. Maybe someday I'll get to see the things you got to see. In the meantime, thanks for sharing your trip!