An unusual run of Victorian pine balcony parapet panelling,
in four sections, vertically mitred to form two "corners", each panel cut with rectangular apertures screened with fret-cut pierced Indian-inspired ornament (later back-boarded to make "blind"), egg and dart and other mouldings run the length of the panelling, indications that the mouldings ran around an integral clock, that brackets enabled metal stanchions either for book-rests, hand-rail or safety screens, a hatch enabled ladder access,
£4,335 the lot
This panelling is intriguing. We have it on good authority that it was removed from the Old Indian Institute (now the Oxford Martin Centre) – a Victorian landmark building, shouldering Hertford College and looking down the length of Broad Street between The Sheldonian Theatre and the Bodleian Library. Our research hopes to unearth an illustration of this panelling in situ but we haven’t found one yet. We understand that it formed part of an inward looking internal mezzanine balcony – possibly in the Museum part of the Institute.
The Building has been the subject of controversy insofar as the money raised for its construction in the 1880’s, and the founding of an Institute there to represent and further the promotion of India generally and Indians in particular at Oxford, was mostly garnered in India, but, that on completion the building never fully satisfied the aims that the donors had subscribed for and in time was re-purposed for other needs by The University – including, in the 1960’s, using the place for administrative offices.
The building, completed in 1896 (and later extended) was designed by Basil Champneys and built from Milton Stone. Four buildings were demolished to make way for the construction – including one by Vanbrugh – and whilst, with its corner turret and prominent fenestration it occupies the difficult site well – it had its critics.
Its original purpose can still be detected in the carved and applied ornament on the building but none moreso than by the fabulous elephant weathervane on top of the turret.