[Added by George P. Landow, Editor-in-chief, the Victorian Web.]

His rooms-—Old Lodge 4 and 5 (now 2 and 3), to the left of the library stairs—were a study in understatement. Ebony-tinted doors, stamped with antique iron; primrose-painted panelling, greenish-white in later years; a bowl of dried rose petals; a Persian carpet; tapestry over the chimney; books bound up in palest vellum; blue chintz curtains; lilies of the valley; classical statuettes; a scatter of Greek coins; a table draped in bluish baize; engravings after Michelangelo, Correggio, Ingres: such a contrast to 'the oaken respectability and heaviness of all other dons' rooms at that day'. On one side, at right angles to the fireplace, stood the focus of the room: an oriel window.

Left to right: All Souls College. Radcliffe Camera. The Old Quad, Brasenose College. [Click on these images to enlarge them.]

Here Pater would lounge on cushions, smoking dreamily, while the sun played late upon All Souls; the [Radcliffe] Camera on his left, St Mary's on his right, half Oxford in his hand.

Left to right: Brasenose College with a corner of St Mary's at th eright. Brasenose with the steeple of St. Mary's. [Click on these images to enlarge them.]

On the opposite side of the room, across a narrow passage filled with cupboards, stood 'a low, ancient, stone-framed, gothic doorway [leading] into a tiny slip of a bedroom, only a few feet wide'. At one end, a small window, looking out over the Old Quad; at the other a projection like a step—the roof in fact of a staircase below — on which rested a simple truckle bed. Nothing else, just a chest of drawers and a cold-water basin. Here Pater slept late, breakfasting later still, feasting on dictionaries, and making notes on tiny slips of paper. This is not the boudoir of an aesthete; it is almost an anchorite's cell. [274-75]

Bibliography

Crook, J. Mordaunt. Brasenose: The Biography of an Oxford College. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. [review by George P. Landow]


Victorian Web Overview Walter Pater Biographical materials

Last modified 8 October 2012