The Sheldonian Theatre was built in 1664–8 to a design modelled on the theatre of Marcellus in Rome, and was the first major work of Sir Christopher Wren. It is named after Gilbert Sheldon who was a chancellor of the university. The curved end of the Sheldonian, with its pillars bearing carved ‘Emperor’s heads’ faces like the stern of a ship onto Broad Street.
Sir Thomas G Jackson won a competition in 1875 to design the Examination Schools. Jackson rejected the Gothic style in favour of an eclectic mix of English and Italian Renaissance which became known as ‘Anglo-Jackson’. The main entrance, in the form of a Venetian window, faces the High Street. The central three-storey clock tower, the Tower of the Orders is purely for show and has no doorway.
The Radcliffe Camera is named after Dr. John Radcliffe who left the money in his will for the building of a Science library. It is now a reading room for the Bodleian Library to which it is connected by a tunnel. Although the original design was by Nicholas Hawksmoor he died before the building was started and James Gibbs was appointed to carry out the work. His plan was for a rectangular building but he was persuaded to conform to Hawksmoor’s design for a domed circular library.
Sir Thomas Bodley founded the Bodleian Library in 1598. The Gate Tower, or Tower of the Five Orders, is a magnificent frontispiece on the east range of the Schools Quadrangle ornately decorated with grotesques and strapwork. The five superimposed orders of columns are Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite.