Click on images to enlarge them. First photograph 1977, others 2012. Images, formatting, and text by the authopr. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

William Butterfield's Keble College, Oxford, as seen from Parks Road. The Oxford Natural History Museum is behind the viewer.

In his 1872 history of the Gothic Revival Charles L. Eastlake comments that in Keble College, Butterfield

ventured on a more emphatic departure from local traditions of style than Oxford has yet seen, either in the decadence or the Revival of Gothic, applied to buildings of a similar class. Perhaps it is hardly fair to judge of this building so soon after its erection, when the horizontal bands of stone, of black brick, and of white brick, oppose each other so crudely that in looking at the various fronts — east, west, north, or south — one can see nothing but stripes. Yet, even when time has toned down the colour of the materials, they will be always predominant in the design, and if such an innovation be tolerated at Oxford — once the head-quarters of Mediaeval taste — we need not be surprised to find it imitated elsewhere. Indeed, this mode of surface decoration has been long practised in other works, though by no means with equal skill. In Keble College the main mass of the walls is executed in red brick, and the architect has cunningly broken up his black bands with white bricks and his white bands with black ones. In order to relieve each other from monotony and heaviness. The window dressings and mullions are of stone, and the general design — except in the particulars mentioned — is distinguished by intense simplicity. [p. 262]

From left to right: (a) The end of the college housing the Warden's lodgings at the corner of Museum and Parks Roads. (b) Examples of the brick and stone polychromy that Eastlake mentioned. (c) The main gate, which contains the porter's lodge.

Other images of Keble College, Oxford, and related materials

Coming soon

References

Eastlake, Charles L. A History of the Gothic Revival. London: Longmans, Green; N.Y. Scribner, Welford, 1972. Facing p. 261. [Copy in Brown University's Rockefeller Library]

Thompson, Paul. William Butterfield, Victorian Architect. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971.


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Last modified 23 August 2012