Explore Oxford’s most amusing stonework — from medieval water spouts to the Bodleian’s latest literary carvings.

Cast your eyes up as you walk around Oxford, and your gaze will likely be met by any number of creative stone carvings of eeries figures. These ornate pieces, known as grotesques, add color and humour to many of the city’s otherwise austere buildings.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting the subtle differences between a grotesque and a gargoyle: while the word grotesque refers to any characterful carving gargoyles act as water spouts, directing rainwater from the roof. Still, regardless of nomenclature, we can all enjoy this gallery of some of Oxford’s most entertaining stonework — some of it as recent as 2009.

All image by Oxford University Images