For more than three centuries Oxford has been the subject of fine illustrated books and engraved prints. These exquisitely made illustrations have become part of the historical record, showing how Oxford's identity is rooted in the past and tracing a history of the city's development through the architecture of its most beautiful colleges and university buildings.
Prints made by David Loggan in the seventeenth century show us a university where the medieval origins are already largely overlaid by Tudor and Stuart rebuilding. The engravings in the eighteenth-century Oxford Almanacks illustrate a city dominated by neo-classical ideas, while those of the nineteenth century show an increasingly romantic feel for the architecture against its natural background of sky, trees and river. Hand-coloured etchings published by Ackermann in the nineteenth century and Ingram's Memorials of Oxford of 1837 offer a nostalgic portrait of Oxford before development changed it into the modern city it is today.
The best of these historic prints are reproduced here to create a panorama of classical Oxford, with an accompanying text describing the origin of each building, institution or public event, together with the salient features of their history. Together they offer an instructive and captivating view of Oxford through the ages.