Wolfson College, Oxford – view from Rainbow Bridge
The painting of Wolfson College, Oxford – the view from Rainbow Bridge is the first of my Oxford series. A familiar sight, on the bank of Cherwell. You’re standing, viewing the college from the Rainbow Bridge. Below, the river flows, along with a few punts. It’s a grey day, so not too many punts are around. Although grey days, or even rain, will never stop a serious punter. Half the fun of the punting challenge is keeping the punt dry, as you pull up or down the river, but I digress decorous.
The sky hides parts of the college, as its white walls blend with the watery blue clouds. The sienna path from the bridge twisting its way to the right. Then rolling past the buildings out of sight. Directly in front the end block, comprising four floors symmetrically built. Each balcony commanding an idyllic view. Oxford, is a very green city, especially on the periphery and Wolfson is a peripheral college.
A contemporary building, Wolfson was created in the 1960s. People have mixed views of the architecture. The traditionalist would have had Woflson built as a copy of the medieval architecture, more familiar to the average person who thinks of Oxford. But Oxford is a modern city, why shouldn’t it have architecture that reflects that modernity. Looking at it from a hindsight perspective, it’s easy to dismiss the architecture as commonplace, but, in its day, this was cutting edge. As were the older colleges, we tend to forget that. What we view as traditional was once, state of the art. Sometimes we need a little reminder. In all times, we need people prepared to build with the future in mind. not with both eyes looking at history. We need contemporary architecture to inspire us to see the world around us anew. And if it inspires more painting of Wolfson College Oxford cannot help but benefit.
See the other paintings of Modern Oxford Colleges by Cathy Read.