The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

I return to Oxford again and again to paint as I love architectural subjects, and Oxford contains some of the finest buildings in the world. I’m not sure this painting is completely finished yet, but with watercolour it’s usually best to stop while you’re winning, and not overwork a subject. Why the angle chosen in the picture? When you approach Radcliffe Square from the High, through a narrow pedestrian lane, the Camera is suddenly there in front of you, and I wanted to evoke the ‘impact’ it has when you first round the corner and look up.

I’ve just suggested the Bodleian Library in the background. I’m never certain a painting has ‘worked’ when I’ve just finished it, but I certainly enjoyed working on it, and that’s important to me!

The Radcliffe Camera was designed in the English Palladian Style by James Gibbs between 1737 and 1748, and is believed to have been the first circular library to be built in England.

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