We visited Magdalen College with our daughter Katie in 2004 and we were happy to re-visit the buildings and grounds this past July. What drew us to this college in 2004 was the information we read about Tolkien and C.S. Lewis enjoying walks and theological discussions here and along Addison’s Walk. We wanted to walk along that path, too.
Magdalen College was founded just outside Oxford’s City walls in 1458 by William Waynflete.
The chapel was begun in May 1474. The remarkable West Window of the Antechapel is a dramatic depiction of the Apocalypse and the judgement of souls. This vision was cast in 1637 but has been subjected to subsequent restorations, the re-glazing in 1859-1861 leaving the windows as they appear today.
Above the stalls hangs Giampetrino’s remarkable 15th copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, on permanent loan from the Royal Academy. In view of the bad condition of the original fresco in Milan, (which I had the privilege of seeing in March of 2013) Magdalen’s copy on canvas is a piece of increasing historic and artistic significance.
The doors to the main Chapel were locked so I had to get these photos by looking through the glass on the doors. The choir sings from the middle stalls at either side. Towards the end of the 19th century the Choir achieved renown and played a pivotal role in ensuring an unprecedented fondness of carol singing among the general public by the publication of an anthology of carols.
This is the Hall which was built at the founding of the College. The High Table at the far end seats the President, Fellows and formal guests, just as it did in the early 16th century when it welcomed King James I. Oscar Wilde was a former member of Magdalen.
This post is getting long so I will do another post with photos from the Cloisters and some outdoor spaces.
This September 2022 we are going to be in Oxford during an ‘Open Day’ for the Oxford Colleges. We aren’t sure what that means but we hope it means we can walk onto any of the colleges without a fee and that we can see inside some quads and buildings we haven’t been able to see in prior trips. Time will tell if that is the case.
Back to the present day which is Friday August 5th. We are having a slight relief with our heat dipping into the 80’s for a couple of days and then it will spike up again reaching the 100’s again next Tuesday. It has been nice to start the mornings off in the 50’s instead of the 60’s. Have a great weekend everyone!