All the old familiar places…

I’m finished copying the slides taken in Oxford over several visits, and included a few in today’s post. Two days ago, in a fit of piqué, I tossed most of the Bath slides we took in 1986, in the trash. Today I worked on Cambridge or was it Canterbury?  You know how it goes, if its Thursday this must be….

A view from a church in Oxford.  I like to visit churches, cathedrals,  museums, gardens and old buildings.  Lots to see in Oxford and easy to reach by train from London, which we did on a few occasions.  We also went by car a couple of times.  I haven’t visited Oxford in several decades, but I watch lots of Morse, Lewis, etc. on TV, so see many of those old familiar places.

As an undergraduate at Mary Washington College, I took art history classes and focused on architecture. Years later through the school of continuing education at Georgetown, I studied several kinds of architecture in Europe, England and the US.

When I travel, I look for the architectural detail various professors showed us in slides. The detail tells me when something was constructed. As does the foundation stone if you can find one.  Oxford is so old there are plenty of examples from the fourteenth century on. 


I like gardens and I wrote a paper on botanic gardens for my history of science grad class. I also worked as a volunteer in a historic garden years ago, although it had belonged to an American diplomat, not an Oxford College.

Every time I went to Oxford, I visited the Botanic Gardens (photos below).  Did you know the botanic garden at Oxford began as a physic garden and later became an attempt to recreate the Garden of Eden? Plants from all over the world are housed here in the hot houses and on the grounds.  

phys·ic  (fzk)


1. A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic.
2. Archaic The art or profession of medicine.
tr.v. phys·icked, phys·ick·ing, phys·ics

1. To act on as a cathartic.
2. To cure or heal.
3. To treat with or as if with medicine.

[Middle English phisik, from Old French fisique, medical science, natural science, from Latin, natural science, from Greek phusik, feminine of phusikos, of nature, from phusis, nature; see bheu- in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Yesterday, my shoulder, back and neck in pain, I grew tired of scanning, but saved some of my favorite shots for you from my cache.  The rest of the Oxford shots, I trashed. 



During the lectures in my Art History classes, the professors noted half-timbers, wattle and daub, corbels and arches, wainscoting, stringcourses, fenestration and oriel windows, the piano nobile, and other elements of architecture. Can you identify any of them in these photos? I’ll give you a clue, in the photo above of the building with the wisteria espaliered against the side, you have two examples.

11 thoughts on “All the old familiar places…

  1. RYN: I use Photoshop 10, and I truly need lessons in how to use it. I’m very embarrassed to not fully understand it. It’s not an intuitive program, and too Photoshop initially invented it’s own language rather than using existing in-use words for it’s operations. Oy! It is the industry standard, and I am determined to learn it.

    I am also embarrassed to post my small piece with loused up end notes. I confess that it’s my first time using then in Word, and once you make a mistake, there it is for all to see.

    Hope your days are cooler.


  2. Ummm… You had back and neck pain? Ooops! So do I. I didn’t think it was from scanning but now I’m wondering. Your slides have really copied well. All your photos are beautiful.


  3. I still cannot believe you threw those slides away. Great shots. Love the pictures. No dentals tho. 🙂
    Dr. Higgens gave us 700 some slides a week to identify in 2 graduate level architectural history courses, and every quarter there were four essays due. A thesis with 3×5 cards and a model were due at the end of the semester. Who knows what I remember, but I kept all the books. 🙂

    Yeah, I have most everything backed up on my backup drive. That sure helps.


  4. wonderful photos. It is always difficult to decide what to keep and what to let go. I now have so many photos on my computer that I almost need a separate hard drive for them. I am about to do some clearing out and exercise the delete finger.


  5. I know nothing about the fine details of architecture, so can’t answer your question. That garden of eden looks interesting. The wisteria crawling up the side of the building is beautiful. Wish I could do something similar here. Your memory astounds me. Is it because you took these courses relatively recently? I can’t remember much of my musicology courses taken at Columbia in the early 1970s.


    • I do have a good selective memory. I took the art and architecture classes at MWC in the early 1970s, and the continuing education architecture classes at GU in the 1980s. In the 1970s, when I was a docent at Gunston Hall we took instruction from the art historian who helped Jackie redo the White House. We studied the European influences on architecture in the US.

      David and I (sometimes me alone) traveled to England many times, and to Europe too, but unlike you, I never lived there (David, my son, and my sister lived in Europe or England or both). I also have earned an MA in history since 2000, and focused on Europe.


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