Exeter purchases stained glass created by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris

Through the generosity of 27 alumni, parents, and friends, the College has now been able to purchase the Edward Burne-Jones/William Morris stained glass windows from St Benet’s Church, Kentish Town. The purchase was completed on Tuesday 8 March and the windows were collected by Chapel Studios the next day for conservation work.

The windows were commissioned by marine engineer Alfred Burgess, father of the Victorian artist William Burgess, in memory of civil engineer James Cooper. They were designed by Exeter alumnus Edward Burne-Jones and executed in 1863 at the Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co Works. Their purchase has been a great aspiration of the College as they not only celebrate our heritage but tangibly link the historic and new quadrangles. And I’m sure John Ruskin would have approved too!

Alison Brooks and her team of architects are now working on the design for their installation. They will be placed in the corridor adjacent to the Special Collections Reading Room, near the Learning Commons at the heart of Cohen Quad. This way, not only will they enhance their immediate vicinity but they will also be seen by all our students, fellows, and visitors who come to learn more about our Special Collections and archives.

We are now looking to secure the final £15,000 towards the costs of purchasing and installing the windows and looking forward to seeing the designs for their installation.


The windows portray the parables of The Labourers in the Vineyard, Solomon Building the Temple, Noah Building the Ark and Christ with Three Disciples


The Learning Commons at Cohen Quad

The Learning Commons will be at the heart of Cohen Quad – a place where, at a glance, you can see who’s there already and who’s arriving (a bit like the Front Quad really!). It’s on several different levels, with the café in the basement and a teaching room elevated above the mezzanine on the Worcester Place wall. The space will be used by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Fellows, staff, and visitors, who want to use its flexible layout while working alone or in groups. With the café on hand with good coffee, and wifi to support multiple personal devices, this will be the academic hub of Cohen Quad.

The images show the architect’s rendering (bottom) and construction to date (top). The north cloister is already in place and the glazing to the North Quadrangle gives an indication of just how much natural light will flood this area. It still needs a bit of work, but the sense of fluid space is already clear. It won’t be long before the fixtures and fittings are in place.


Part of the Learning Commons as it stands today – still a work in progress

Learning Commons 02

Architect’s render of how the Learning Commons will look once it is complete, from a similar position to the top photo

Music at Cohen Quad

With the spring sunshine pouring onto the Cohen Quad site, it is easy to get a sense of how vibrant and light the new quadrangle is going to be. Katrina visited the site with Dr Jeremy Llewellyn, our Music Lecturer, who has been helping us to think about what type of piano will best suit the music practice room and, ultimately, in the auditorium.

The music practice room is situated towards the rear of the site, close to the auditorium and with south facing windows that (when the scaffolding is removed!) will fill the room with natural light. This is a far cry from the basement practice room on Turl Street which is situated next to the boiler and underneath Staircase 14!


Dr Jeremy Llewellyn inspects the music practice room

It’s likely that the best instrument will be a baby grand – if it will fit. Whatever instrument is chosen, we hope that it will attract students who want to play – for pleasure or for their degree – and who will then perhaps play for wider audiences in the auditorium!


The auditorium – work in progress!