Oxford

John Radcliffe's Oxford legacy captured by exhibition

Radcliffe Camera dome Image copyright Greg Smolonski
Image caption The Radcliffe Camera, with its iconic dome, was Britain's first circular library

The legacy of a physician who gave Oxford some of its landmark buildings is being explored in a new exhibition.

John Radcliffe left the bulk of his fortune to charitable causes on his death 300 years ago in 1714.

This funded the Radcliffe Camera, which was Britain's first circular library, the Radcliffe Observatory and the Radcliffe Infirmary.

Remembering Radcliffe: 300 years of science and philanthropy is at the Bodleian Library until March.

Image copyright Stephen Hebron/Bodleian Libraries
Image caption The Radcliffe Camera was originally called the Radcliffe Library

"This is a wonderful opportunity for people to learn more about this remarkable physician and philanthropist," said librarian Richard Ovenden.

"John Radcliffe's legacy lives on today - not only in Oxford's stunning buildings but through his legacy's investment in scientific research and its support for UK heritage and crafts and classical music performance and composition through the Radcliffe Trust."

Image copyright Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Image caption A 1712 portrait of John Radcliffe by Sir Godfrey Kneller

The exhibition, which is free to attend, includes engravings, watercolours and architectural drawings.

Highlights include a 3D scale model of the Radcliffe Camera from 1735, rare and first edition books from the first collection of books housed in the Radcliffe Camera and items from Radcliffe's medical career.

"The exhibition explains how an 18th Century doctor became one of Oxford's greatest benefactors," said curator Stephen Hebron.

"Visitors can discover the story behind one of Oxford's most famous buildings, the Radcliffe Camera, including its origins, its design, how it was built, and its role as a university library."

Image copyright Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Image caption A wooden model of the Radcliffe Library from 1734-5 and an illustration of John Radcliffe used as the frontispiece for a book of poetry in 1715

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