Architecture across Oxford has it’s own special charm, but the jewel in the crown has to be the Rad Cam. Right in the heart of the city it's stunning architecture dominates the picturesque Radcliffe Square and is a truly iconic part of Oxford’s dreaming spires skyline.
The Camera was designed by one of Britain's most influential architects, James Gibbs, and the circular library became the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. As an epicentre of learning for students and scholars, the Rad Cam is home to over 600,000 books and is linked with the Old Bodleian Library by a series of, not-so-secret underground tunnels that lie beneath the surrounding lawn and cobbles of Radcliffe Square.
Entry for the general public is, sadly, not permitted, however, if you are looking to get a glimpse of the inside there are a handful of extended Bodleian Library guided tours that run a few times a week. These also include the Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor's Court and the Duke Humfrey's library (well worth it in our opinion! You can find out more here
One of the best views of the Radcliffe Camera is from the top of St. Mary’s Church Tower. There is a small entrance fee and just over 100 steps to climb, but the views from the top are unparalleled. Other areas for good views include: on Catte Street in front of Hertford College, St. Mary’s Passage, Brasenose Lane, the passage to the Bodleian Library and, if you’re lucky, from Exeter College Fellows’ private garden.
The special landmark appears in a number of pop-culture film and tv productions including, The Golden Compass, Young Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse and Endeavour to name but a few. The surrounding area was also very influential for Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis due to intricately carved door and beautiful lone lamppost on St Mary's Passage.
As part of our namesake the Camera has inspired lots of pieces in our artwork collections and is a frequent photography feature. Be sure to add this to your bucket list of places to visit in Oxford and if you are looking for a piece of art for your home, workplace or wardrobe(!) Head over to our art collection pages or click on the links above, to find unique pieces featuring famous Oxford Colleges and university buildings and museums of Oxfordshire.