All posts tagged: Joanna Vestey

The custodians watching over Oxford’s hallowed institutions

Writing about Oxford, the travel writer Jan Morris observed, “it forms a national paradigm — in whose structure sometimes shadowy, sometimes splendidly sunlit, we may explore the history, the character and the condition of the English”. When Joanna Vestey moved to the city, she was intrigued by the way its inhabitants interact with its history, and she’s explored this nexus in her upcoming book Custodians. Lush, wide-angle shots frame the interior of locations such as The Radcliffe Observatory, The Codrington Library and the Trinity College Dining Hall, inhabited by a solitary figure somehow connected to the building. Vestey was interested in “how institutions shape us, and we them”, she writes in the afterword. She explains to me that she “wanted to find a middle ground that preferenced the space and the individual equally and leant towards something more painterly than photographic”. Russell Roberts describes Custodians as “a journey through the tourist imagination of Englishness” in his essay for the book, but Vestey says that she doesn’t intend this to be deferential. “[Roberts] also includes [an excerpt] by Allan Bennett …

2015-08-20T16:24:20+00:00

BJP Staff