The Interior of the Wren Library (1)

Our next few blog posts will focus on aspects of the interior decoration of the Wren Library. Christopher Wren's decorative design was not followed for the original ceiling of the library which instead was unadorned. The intention may have been to add painted decoration but it was not until 1850 that the more ornamental ceiling …

Continue reading The Interior of the Wren Library (1)

Building the Wren Library

In an earlier blog we learned how, by the seventeenth century, the existing library at Trinity was proving inadequate. The ambition to build a new library is popularly ascribed to Isaac Barrow, Master of Trinity from 1673 until his death in 1677. Barrow secured the services of his friend, architect Christopher Wren, for no charge. …

Continue reading Building the Wren Library

From the Crewe Collection: Goya Etchings

Among the greatest treasures in the Crewe Collection are three volumes of etchings by Francisco Goya (1746-1823), currently on display in the Library for the first time. It is likely that Richard Monckton Milnes acquired these in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. These volumes were accepted in lieu of inheritance Tax by H M Government …

Continue reading From the Crewe Collection: Goya Etchings

The Wren Library by Mark Draper (2017)

Last week Trinity College received a very special gift. Since retiring from his career as a special needs teacher with curriculum responsibilities for creative arts, Mark Draper has combined his interests in architecture and ceramics by making clay models of favourite buildings. Mark has a studio at his home in Rushton, Northamptonshire, where he produces …

Continue reading The Wren Library by Mark Draper (2017)

‘Free Object’

This photograph of Sir Antony Gormley’s ‘Free Object’, a sculpture which stands on the College Backs, was taken by James Kirwan and recently won second prize in a College-wide competition. James says his photograph seeks to capture 'the texture and geometry of the statue'. When he is not taking photographs, James manages the Library’s project …

Continue reading ‘Free Object’

Hockney’s Bigger Book – and a smaller one.

This morning we took delivery of A Bigger Book, David Hockney’s retrospective collection of more than 450 works from throughout his career. Measuring 70 x 50 cm, it is a spectacular survey of more than 60 years of Hockney’s work, from his teenage days at the Bradford School of Art, Los Angeles swimming pools in …

Continue reading Hockney’s Bigger Book – and a smaller one.

Roubiliac in the Wren Library

The Wren Library houses a magnificent series of portrait busts by Louis François Roubiliac, the leading sculptor in England in the mid-18th century. By Wren’s time, there was a well-established tradition of furnishing libraries with painted and sculptural portraits. The subjects of these portraits would often be ancient and modern authors, great men worthy of …

Continue reading Roubiliac in the Wren Library

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1779-1848)

This painting hanging in the staircase-pavilion of the Wren Library is a copy of 1830 after Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, London. It was painted at the time of Lamb's marriage to Lady Caroline Ponsonby in 1805. The marriage was unhappy, marred by infidelities on both sides, though most notoriously, Caroline's …

Continue reading William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1779-1848)

Dürer and perspective

Albrecht Dürer (b. Nuremberg, 21 May 1471; d. Nuremberg, 6 April 1528) Painter, draughtsman, printmaker and writer. Now considered by many scholars the greatest of all German artists, he not only executed paintings and drawings of the highest quality but also made a major contribution to the development of printmaking, especially engraving, and to the …

Continue reading Dürer and perspective