Saturday, June 29, 2013

Objects of Travel Assignment 3: Collecting Doors

Throughout our class in Objects of Travel we’ve been discussing many different themes of collecting. Some people collect books, some collect figurines, and some collect packs of cards (like me!) It’s been difficult to fully express the scope of what all I have learned on this trip, but the blog has been a great way to keep a collection of those memories that will sadly soon begin to fade.

Following along with the theme of collecting, we were challenged to collect pictures of objects that are characteristic of Oxford and hold special value in the objects themselves. After doing some thinking and exploring, I kept finding myself standing in awe of doors. It might seem ridiculous, but every single door that I have crossed paths with has a different personality, flavor, and story behind it. I’ve even said a few times that I would love to come back to Oxford in about 10 years, pick out my favorite door in the whole town, ship it back to the U.S. and then build a house around that door. Might be wishful thinking, but hey, a girl can dream right?

Each of these doors either holds a special memory of my time in Oxford, or has a certain air of mystery that grabbed my attention.

 First up is a church door found during our time at Stratford upon Avon. The first thing that caught my attention was the shade of blue, something of a mix between cobalt and navy, as well as the curvature of the iron on the long wooden beams. It almost gives it a fairy tale like quality, something you wouldn’t think would normally be associated with the entrance of a church.

The teal rustic door with the chips of paint and hole in the bottom suggests a sense of wear and tear. From what I could figure out, this was a simple door for a simple house. Yet it was this simple characteristic that seemed to draw me in and demand a sense of respect. For me, this door represents the locals of Oxford, shaped by their history but also a distinct element of that history.

When this picture was taken, the grounds of Christ Church were buzzing with the excitement of the Summer Eights, a rowing competition held every year between the 38 colleges. It looked like Christ Church might be taking home the trophy, and the students were clearly excited about the possibility of returning glory to their college. This door is the entrance to one of the men’s dorms in Christ Church, as can be noted by the seal of the college on the right hand side. Along the left hand side you can barely make out how many bumps were made by the team. The person with the most bumps wins the competition. Not only is this door the entrance to students’ living quarters during the term, but also a way of showing their pride for their school and accomplishments.

This door caught my attention because of its distinct medieval flair. I came across this door when I walked into an old partly ruined Norman medieval castle (Oxford Castle) in the western part of the city. In the 14th century it was turned into a prison and now, oddly enough, is used as a hotel. The studded door, great iron hinges, and bars across the bottom capture the history of the castle quite well. Something that also intrigued me about this particular door was that it was one of the few white doors I came across in Oxford.

These two doors serve as a memory our tour of the Churchill War Museum in London. Clearly, the first was the entrance to a map room and the second, a door covered in keys that unlocked all of the other doors in the war rooms. I chuckled a little when I thought about the fact that this door’s sole purpose was to gain entrance to all of the other doors.

This door might seem a little familiar after taking a closer look, because it is the entrance to Hogwarts! We traveled to Warner Brothers Studio in London to take a tour of the set of the Harry Potter movie series. We had just watched a short film, narrated by Daniel Radcliffe himself, and in the film he beckons everyone to follow him into Hogwarts. The screen lifted up and there stood this door. It was made of real wood and opened up into the set of the Great Hall. 

Last Wednesday we took a tour of Blenheim Palace, and this magnificent door was our first greeting to the palace. The intricate detail and golden designs are indicative of what was to come on the tour, and it ended up being our favorite palace of all.

After exploring along Port Meadow and the River Thames we came upon the remains of Godstow Nunnery. The first picture serves as an entry way into the chapel of the nunnery, one of the last remaining visible buildings on the site. The second door (archway) was found along the wall of the ruins. The story behind this place is that when Henry II’s mistress died he originially buried her at the high altar at Godstow. The bishop of Lincoln did not like this and dug her up and buried her at the cemetery, which was destroyed due to the dissolution of the monasteries during Henry VIII’s reign. She is now said to roam the grounds searching for peace.

Not only do these doors serve as entryways to destinations, but they ultimately serve as a collection of some of my best memories from my time here in Oxford. Here are a few more that caught my eye that you all might enjoy.

This door was teeny tiny. I deemed it he "Hobbit" door. 

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