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The design of New Court at St John’s College, Cambridge

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Salmon, FE 


Erected between 1827 and 1831, Thomas Rickman’s New Court at St John’s College, Cambridge is, after King’s College Chapel, probably the University’s most iconic building (Figs. 1 and 2). The subject of many small prints after its completion, viewing it from almost every angle, including its least advantageous rear (north) façade, New Court was widely admired by the public from the start – including by the young Queen Victoria, who wrote of a visit to the ‘Backs’ of the colleges in summer 1847 that ‘it was so pretty & picturesque, & in particular that one covered bridge of St John’s College, which is supposed to be like the Bridge of Sighs at Venice.’ The Bridge, as well as the central Staircase block with its ‘Wedding Cake’ Lantern and the front Cloister with its ‘Eagle Gate’, have since remained essential viewing for visitors to Cambridge, as well the source of various, mostly apocryphal, stories.



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The Burlington magazine

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Burlington Magazine

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None, other than a research support grant from St John's College