Museum Front Windows

I first really noticed the prettiness of these windows as I was working in the Wilberforce room which contains the Collection’s bird skin specimens. I particularly like the flower shape design and how, when looking through the windows, the bulls-eye glass panes distort the image of the outside world, whereas the glass between the bulls-eyes is perfectly clear thus providing an unworldly aspect to the normal daily movement of vehicles and pedestrians along Parks Road. I also like the fact that these windows now straddle rooms over two levels rather than the one very imposing, cavernous room originally designed to hold the Radcliffe Science Library (which stretched along the whole front of the building). The splitting of these first floor rooms was performed at different times between 1909 and 1924 (a third level was built at a later date creating attic rooms).

This external photograph of the window shows the intricate carvings and tracery. I especially like the fact that the carvings are of birds, as if it was foretold that bird specimens would be stored in the room behind this very window.

Lisa Conyers, Zoological Collections