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This is an archive site and is not updated. It represents works conducted by Oxford University Museums funded by Arts Council England between 2012-2018. For information about our current work please visit

What's on our Walls

21 August 13 -- jsuess

For those who haven't been to visit us, the ASPIRE office is located deep in the bowels of the Museum of Natural History, down several corridors into a hidden, new section of the museum which also includes some fancy labs. We can't send our visitors out alone in fear of losing them.

Even here in the more new and remote sections of the museum, where few specimens are kept, there are interesting things to be found, for example, a series of watercolours and sketches by the likes of Ruskin, Philips and Acland for the design of the museum.

Today we thought we would share some of these back room treasures!

Observation Deck: A watercolour of the museum tower from 1855. The depicted balcony was intended for scientific observation, but was never completed.

(c) University Archives

Architecture in Action: Contact drawing of the museum's tower from 1855.

(c) University Archives

Angels Watching: A design by Ruskin for a double lancet window with angels carved in the tympanum.

(c) Ashmolean Museum

Natural Design: Design for a wrought iron spandrel from Acland and Ruskin from 1859. Based on the horse chestnut, it can be seen above the north side of the central aisle of the museum.

Main Entrance: Design of the museum porch entrance c. 1860 by John Hungerford Pollen. It was only partially completed.

Designing Nature: Design by Ruskin for double lancet window with birds and flowers.

(c) Ashmolean Museum

There's nothing holding that up!: Design by Ruskin for balcony of west front.

(c) Ashmolean Museum

Moving in: Sketch by John Philips for the installation of statues of the corbels at the first floor level above the central court of the museum c. 1855.

Fundraising: Lithographed section of the central court of the museum from the appeal for funds produced by John Philips in 1855.