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Inside the Chapel

A view along the full length of the chapel

The interior of Keble chapel is an extraordinary space. As Professor J Mordaunt Crook (Professor of Architectural History in the University of London), wrote recently:

"Keble is an architectural phenomenon"

"Keble is an architectural phenomenon: with Hawksmoor and Mackintosh, Butterfield ranks as one of the great 'originals' in British architectural history. His work is central to the Gothic Revival. And his genius was for colour, for abstract geometrical pattern, for endless invention in polychromatic form. Keble College comes towards the end of his career, when his idiosyncratic talent had been tried and tested. Butterfield's style is never easy, never bland; it arrests the gaze and challenges the understanding. He has taught generations of students to use their eyes and judge for themselves."

The Chapel has a splendid acoustic for choral music, and Keble Choir is generally regarded as the best of the 'non-professional' college choirs in Oxford. It has recorded three CDs, which can be purchased at the Lodge or ordered from the Development Office.

The south facing side chapel which contains Holman Hunt's 'Light of the World'The Chapel also contains Holman Hunt's famous painting The Light of the World. This famous Pre-Raphaelite painting was donated to the College in 1872 by the widow of Thomas Combe, Printer to the University, on the understanding that it would hang in the Chapel. Butterfield was opposed to the notion, and made no provision in his design. So when the Library opened in 1878 it was placed there, and was only moved to its present position in the 1890s when, Butterfield having refused, another architect, J T Micklethwaite was assigned to design the side chapel.

Holman Hunt was so incensed at the treatment of his painting that he painted a 'duplicate' which hangs in St Paul's Cathedral - its accessibility has meant that it has become better known than the original at Keble.

Map of the College

The intricate carvings, mosaics and stained glass windows of the Chapel

Decorated organ pipes