242 Route 33. OXFORD. Bodleian Library.
In clear weather an admirable *View of Oxford and the country
round is obtained from the foot of the dome. — Opposite the W.
gate of the Radcliffe Camera rises the old gate-tower of —
Brasenose College (PL E, 4), or the King's Hall, founded in
1509. The site of this college was originally occupied by a much
older institution, called Brasenose Hall (probably from 'Brasenhus',
or 'brewery'), the name of which seems to have been punningly
perpetuated by an ancient knocker or door-handle in the form of a
nose of brass. In its official documents the college is styled 'Colle¬
gium Aenei Nasi'.
The gate and the Hall have preserved their original character unaltered.
The latter contains the 'brazen nose' and some interesting portraits and
busts. This knocker, which is assigned by antiquarians to the early part
of the 12th cent., long hung in a hall at Stamford, to which a body of
Oxford students had migrated in 1334, but was brought hack to Oxford
in 1890. It seems probable that it had originally belonged to the Oxford
Hall and had been carried to Stamford as a visible sign of unity. A new
quadrangle, including the Principal's House, was added in 1888; it is entered
by a gateway in tbe handsome new facade adjoining St. Mary's in the
'High' (p. 241). The Library and the Chapel, completed in 1663 and 1666,
show an unpleasing medley of Gothic and classic forms. The hooks of
Brasenose contain the names of Foxe ('Book of Martyrs'), Burton ('Anatomy
of Melancholy'), Ashmole (p. 249), Bishop Heber, Rev. F. W. Robertson, Dean
Milman, and the Rev. H. Barham ('Ingoldsby Legends'). Brasenose is a
famous boating and athletic college, and its boat is often 'head of the river.
The large quadrangular block of buildings to the N. of the
Radcliffe Camera contains the Old Examination Schools (comp.
p. 246), begun in 1439 and completed in 1613-18. The principal
entrance is by a Gothic gateway on the E. side. The side of the
tower facing the court is adorned with columns of all the five Roman
architectural orders, and with a statue of James I., supported by
figures of Religion and Fame. The tower is crowned with an open
parapet and pinnacles. The former Natural Philosophy School con¬
tains the Hope Collection of Engraved Portraits, over 200,000 in
number (adm. free, 11-1 and 2-4; Sat. 11-1). — Since the erection
of the New Schools (p. 246), however, the whole of this quadrangle
has been absorbed by the *Bodleian Library (PL E, 3; open 9 to
3, 4, or 5, according to the season; adm. 3d.), which was originally
established in 1445 by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, opened as
a library in 1488, and practically refounded and rebuilt by Sir
Thomas Bodley in 1597-1602. The entrance is in the S.W. corner
of the quadrangle.
The library contains about 700,000 printed volumes, 30,000 vols, of
MSS., drawings, and 50,000 coin3. In the part of the reading-room open
to visitors are glass-cases containing autographs of celebrated persons,
some interesting memorials of Shelley, antiquities, curiosities of writing,
remarkable early printed books, MSS. distinguished for their age or their
illumination, and beautiful or singular bindings. On leaving the reading-
room visitors ascend a few steps to the Picture Gallery, containing a col¬
lection of models of ancient temples and other buildings, a Gallery of
Portraits, including a brass statue of the Earl of Pembroke, Chancellor
of tbe University in 1617-30, and various historical relics (Sir Thomas
Rodley's strong-box, Lord Clarendon's writing-desk, Shelley's guitar, a
chair made from the wood of Drake's ship the 'Golden Hind', etc.).