after Michael Angelo Rooker (1743/6 – 1801)
North West view of Friar Bacon’s Study, and Folly Bridge
30 x 45 cm
Friar Bacon’s Study was built as a watchtower in the thirteenth century. The name is ‘merely traditional, and not in any Record to be found’, according to the 1773 text ‘The Antient and Present State of the City of Oxford’; it is said to have been used by the Franciscan Friar Roger Bacon as an astronomical observatory. For hundreds of years after Friar Bacon’s use of it, the tower was a notable landmark in Oxford, and Samuel Pepys visited it in 1668: ‘So to Friar Bacon’s study: I up and saw it, and gave the man a shilling. Oxford mighty fine place.’ The Study was often considered a folly, and the bridge is now known as Folly Bridge.
Rooker painted the tower in 1780 – around the same time as the tower was demolished – and James Basire produced an engraving of his painting in 1787, to be used as the frontispiece for the Oxford Almanack.
The Oxford Almanack was an annual almanack published by the Oxford University Press for the University of Oxford from 1674 through 2019 (when printing sadly ceased due to “dwindling interest”). The almanack traditionally included engravings or lithographs of the University and information about the upcoming year. Other almanack artists have included Michael Burghers, J. M. W. Turner, and John Piper. Basire and Dayes collaborated on several views of Oxford during the courses of their careers.
Michael Angelo Rooker ARA was an English oil and watercolour painter of architecture and landscapes, illustrator, and engraver.
Rooker’s original painting currently hangs in Worcester College.
Condition: good; in handsome (worn) antique Hogarth frame.
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