Sunday, January 27, 2008
New gargoyles for Oxford
Oxford is a city of dreaming spires, but also one of the gargoyle capitals of the world.
Last June, the be-gargoyled university launched a competition for six- to 18-year-olds to design new gargoyles for the Bodleian Library. There is apparently extensive damage to 10 of the current gargoyles on the northwest face of the building, and with no historical records showing what the originals looked like, officials opted to commission new ones.
“The University is taking an exciting opportunity to create a lasting community monument in the heart of the university and the city that will celebrate 1,000 years of Oxfordshire history,” according to Dr John Hood, vice-chancellor of the university.
The ideas were to be based on one of three themes – myths, monsters or people – and have a historical connection with Oxfordshire within the last millennium.
The entrants were asked to give reasons for their choices—which will help gargoyle hunters of the future to understand why the figures appear where they do. In most cases, such information has been lost, if it was recorded at all, or extremely difficult to find.
Nine entries were selected to be carved by a stonemason and placed on the library. They included figures of Oxfordshire author J.R.R. Tolkien and Thomas Bodley.
“After all, he founded the library and the library is named after him,” said Alfie Turner, who submitted that entry.
The other winning entries can be seen here .