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Walter Fraser Oakeshott papers, 1926-1986

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Finding aid for the Walter Fraser Oakeshott papers, 1926-1986 (bulk 1949-1986)

Scope and Content of Collection

Sir Walter Fraser Oakeshott was a scholar of Medieval art, distinguished by his work on the 12th century Winchester Bibles, and Elizabethan England. His career as professor and school administrator included positions as the Headmaster at Winchester College, Rector of Lincoln College, and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. While Assistant Master and librarian at Winchester College, Oakeshott identified the Winchester Malory ms. and went on to study the great Winchester Bible in the cathedral library, which led to a long-term inquiry of the 12th century Winchester school of painting, its sources, and its oeuvre. Oakeshott's interest in book and map collecting led to several other bibliographic discoveries and identifications, some of them relating to Sir Walter Raleigh and his peers. Out of such investigations came many articles and books of both a scholarly and popular nature. The bulk of the material in this archive dates from 1949 to 1986.

The largest portion of the collection contains writings and research files on various subjects, but consists mainly of work on Medieval art historical topics, such as the Winchester Bibles and related material. A second notable group of documents represents Oakeshott's studies on Elizabethan England, largely connected with Sir Walter Raleigh, Essex, and Elizabeth I, and their portrayal in Elizabethan poetry, especially that by Raleigh himself, Edmund Spenser, and Shakespeare. The collection reflects Oakeshott's interests in maps, cosmography, and the history of trade. Oakeshott's involvement in the Oxford stone campaign is represented here by several folders of correspondence, drafts for articles, and photographs documenting the process of restoration of stone buildings at Oxford. The archival material consists mainly of typescripts and ms. drafts for articles, books, and lectures, with many photographs used for research and/or to illustrate publications.

Additionally, the collection contains correspondence Oakeshott received, with copies of many of his replies. The letters are of a professional and personal nature. The archive also contains sermons, addresses, obituaries, and eulogies written by Oakeshott; miscellaneous photos of art from various periods; notebooks, clippings and ephemera; some personal photos; and offprints of articles by other scholars.

Arrangement note

The archive is organized in five series:
Series I: Personal and professional papers, 1949-1986;
Series II: Medieval art, ca. 1936-1972;
Series III: Renaissance and Elizabethan studies, ca. 1960-1986;
Series IV: Various studies, undated;
Series V: Assorted printed material, 1953-1984

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