This exhibition, curated by Judith Curthoys, allows an insight into the often surprising contents of Christ Church archives. Apart from various versions and drafts of the Statutes, examination papers, documents related to the academic curriculum or the more light-hearted side of college life, Past Perfect at the Cardinal's College also introduces the viewer to a series of artefacts.
Among these, on display for the first time, are a 13th century pewter coffin chalice with its paten discovered during Victorian excavations in the cathedral; a collection of silver and pewter items found recently in an old wine cellar; some curious 18th century wooden and silver handles bearing the marks of Hester Bateman or of R. Peaston; Spanish coins from the reigns of Charles III and Charles IV found in a student’s room during redecorating; a 14th century jetton of Edward II found in one of the canonry gardens in 1978; and a reel-to-reel tape with the sound-track for the Son et Lumière, telling the history of the college and cathedral, held at Christ Church in 1968. The commentary was delivered by Sir John Gielgud.
Cardinal College, the first of three academic institutions on this site, was founded by Thomas Wolsey in July 1525. After the fall of Wolsey, Cardinal College ceased to exist, although Henry VIII allowed a re-foundation as King Henry VIII College. In 1542, the diocese of Lincoln was divided into several new ones, including one centred on Oxford. This prompted the King to create Christ Church, a unique foundation of college and cathedral, on 4 November 1546. Tellingly however, it was the Cardinal's scheme that was adopted and his statutes that formed the backbone of this college for years to come. These and many more other items are all on display in the Upper Library.
Past Perfect at the Cardinal's College will be open from 12 June 2013. Visiting hours Monday - Friday: 9.30 am - 1.00 pm; 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm (provided there is a member of staff available in the Upper Library).