Oxford: The Museums

Having spent two days in Oxford I took nearly 300 photos. I had a fantastic time and have decided to blog not chronologically but thematically in two parts: The Museums and The Architecture. First up Museums.

Oxford has several Museums. I went First to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology. It has several floors of interesting materials from Roman finds to Eastern Collections and an impressive cast gallery. But I knew precisely what I wanted to see first.

The Alfred Jewel.

It is beautiful object. I love the combination of media used to make it and the inscription: AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN. Or ‘Alfred ordered me to be made.’

Also nestled within the Alfred Jewel’s vitrine is the Minster Lovell Jewel, used affixed to a rod as a pointer or to follow along while reading. I think they are just so lovely.

Additionally they have a Rune Stone!

Here is a Crozier with the sacral lamb about to be eaten by the serpentine hell mouth. Which I thought was pretty cool, although I think it looks more like a dog and a dragon.

Leaving the Medieval English room, as this trip was not all about research, I found lots of pocket watches. Some rooms in the Ashmolean, while very neat, seem completely random.

I took this in the Dutch Still Life room in homage to my housemate, Meg: who loves Lobsters.

I then meandered around and found the Victorian rooms, I thought he was pretty cool, albeit difficult to photograph.

Then there was a whole room dedicated to the Pre-Raphaelites, whom I love. This marble sculpture by Pio Fedi, depicts a scene mentioned in Dante’s Purgatorio. Nello is beginning to suspect his wife Pia of infidelity and following this scene in a fit of rage kills her. the details and the texture of the fabrics that he has sculpted is so delicate and lovely.

After leaving the Ashmolean, I found my new favourite place: The Pitt Rivers Museum. It is like a time capsule of 19th century antiquarianism and anthropological studies. It is packed full of things collected from around the world displayed in a thematic manner.

Such as sympathetic magic.

Or smoking pipes.

They had Shrunken Heads.

And a boat.

Every thing had a tiny hand written label with possibly inaccurate details. This silver Anglo-Saxon piece was found in a cabinet full of brooches of the British Isles. They had Roman, Merovingian and general Medieval pieces placed in a sort of timeline of jewellery.

The Pitt Rivers is connected to the Natural History Museum of Oxford.

The Natural History museum was in itself pretty neat.

It had lots of taxidermy animals.

And sculptures of scientists and thinkers. This one had a heart in his hand.

Easter egg in its natural environment.

Man vacuuming a dinosaur.

Out front there is a display of tree roots.

While in Oxford I also went to the Covered Market.

It had some nice shops, but I mainly went there for lunch.

I went to PieMinister (twice). They serve pies with mash and gravy.

And it was really tasty. England has great food I don’t care what anyone says, you just have to know where to look for it.




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