Spring in Oxford and I see my frog at last.

I’m just back from 3 days in Oxford. I’ve only visited on a day trip before, so it was good to have more time to explore, although I could happily have stayed much longer, there was still so much more to see. I had been to the Pitt-Rivers Museum before, and although it is marvellous we went to the Ashmolean this time, which obviously needs more than a half day visit. I wish it were my local museum, the new wing is fabulous. Highlights there for me were an astonishing enormous Spanish embroidery, Uccello’s The Hunt, and lots of ancient ceramics; I grew to love these during my ceramic years. The best thing, however, was my frog . For many years I have had a postcard of a little metallic embroidered frog purse which I love, and I was hoping to see it in real life. There it was, tinier than I thought, but such a sweet little chap, in one of the textiles showcases. What a simple pleasure, and naturally I had to buy a book about the English embroidery collection at the Ashmolean, which is where this image is from.

He’s 17th century, embroidered in metallic thread needle point stitches, with wrapped wire legs and added beads. He’s about 7 cm long.

Here are a few other images of Oxford. I took about 300 pictures but I’m only posting 267 of them for now.

Magdalen College, the Great Tower, from the Botanic Gardens. We visited the College, the grounds were stunning with spring flowers, the river, a meadow of snakeshead fritillaries and deer. The Botanic Gardens were good too, the first Botanic Gardens to be laid out  in England, during the 1600s.  They were planted for  the study of medicinal plants, still a strong feature of some of the planting  today.

The river walk at Magdalen College.

Magnolia outside the church of Saint Mary the Virgin, where Oxford University began in the 14th century. It also has a very good cafe, how things do change.

Punts on the River Cherwell by the Botanic Gardens, from Magdalen Bridge.

Hertford College Bridge.

An inviting passageway to the Turf Tavern, a great little pub, which we were forced to visit twice.

2 thoughts on “Spring in Oxford and I see my frog at last.

  1. Do you believe in serendipity? Today I read your blog and was delighted to find that I could see one of my favourite paintings ‘in the flesh’ at the Ashmolean and that they’ve embroideries too! The silly thing is that I’ve lived less than an hour drive away from Oxford for the last twenty years, but never knew about this before, so thank you very much indeed!

    I did know about the cafe at St Mary the Virgin – it’s brilliant. About fifteen years ago I went on a bell-ringing tour around Oxford which ended at sunset at St Mary’s. We went out onto the parapet around the tower and watched the sun going down, drenching the skyline in reds and golds – one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen and never to be forgotten.

  2. I was so impressed by the Ashmolean, but couldn’t really do it justice, due to lack of time.
    The textile area is small but really interesting, and the large embroidery is in a gallery with tapestries and musical instruments.There’s so much other inspirational stuff too. Then of course there’s the Pitt-Rivers, which we didn’t go to on this trip, but is also wonderful.
    Isn’t St Mary the Virgin popular as an eating place? Not surprisingly, given the food and the setting. I should think it was magical on the parapet, rather like that Pre Raphaelite painting, except that was sunrise on May day I think, on Magdalen Great Tower, I’ll have to check it up.

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