camile pissaro

Camille Pissarro (1830 – 1903)

View from my Window, Éragny-sur-Epte

A794; oil on canvas; 65 x 81 cm

Signed and dated: C. Pissarro 1888

Presented by Mrs Lucien Pissarro, 1950; WA1950.185

Pissarro and Venturi 1939, no. 721; Thorold and Erickson 1993, no. 13

The painting shows a view from the Pissarro’s house at Éragny, looking towards the village of Bazincourt. The tall building on the left was converted into Pissarro’s studio when he bought the property in 1892. The composition, which the artist referred to as ‘modern primitive’, was begun in 1886 but not completed until two years later, in the painstaking Pointillist technique Pissarro used for only a few years.

Information derived from the The Ashmolean Museum Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings.

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‘Smart Glasses’ offer help to near-blind people


Oxford University researchers are measuring how their smart glasses can help people with limited vision navigate and avoid walking into obstacles.

‘The idea of the smart glasses is to give people with poor vision an aid that boosts their awareness of what’s around them – allowing greater freedom, independence and confidence to get about, and a much improved quality of life,’ says Dr Stephen Hicks of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford, who is leading the development of the glasses.

‘We eventually want to have a product that will look like a regular pair of glasses and cost no more than a few hundred pounds – about the same as a smart phone,’ he adds.

The smart glasses consist of a video camera mounted on the frame of the glasses; a computer processing unit that is small enough to fit in a pocket; and software that provides images of objects close-by to the see-through displays in the eyepieces of the glasses.

The transparent electronic displays, where the glasses’ lenses would be, give a simple image of nearby people and obstacles. The camera with specially designed software interprets the nearby surroundings allowing people to see important things much more distinctly than before, such as kerbs, tables and chairs, or groups of people.

The glasses don’t replace lost vision but assist with spatial awareness. Anyone using the glasses looks through them to make the most of their existing sight, with additional images appearing in their line of sight to give extra information about who or what is in front of them.

In some cases, details such as facial features can become easier to see – making social interaction more natural. The glasses work particularly well in low light and can be used to cope with night blindness.

Lyn Oliver, 70, of Faringdon in Oxfordshire has a guide dog, Jess, to help her get around. She was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in her early 20s, an eye disease which gradually leads to loss of vision and blindness. Lyn has tried out the smart glasses and describes how they could help when out with her guide dog: ‘If Jess stops, the glasses can tell me if she’s stopped because there’s a kerb, there’s something on the floor or it’s roadworks, and it’ll give me a sense of which way she may go around the obstacle.’

Lyn relates how on one occasion, when she was without a guide dog for six months last year and just using a cane, she walked into a car. ‘Some people insist on parking on the pavement, then swear at you because you’ve walked into their precious car. There was just too much traffic noise for me to detect it there. With the glasses on, I would have seen the car.’

Dr Hicks’ team has set up testing venues in Oxford and Cambridge where they can control the lighting and introduce obstacles to avoid. Participants are tracked as they navigate through obstacle courses, with and without smart glasses. The study will involve 30 volunteers with poor vision.

The group is also beginning to see how people respond with the glasses in indoor spaces like shopping centres.

Iain Cairns, 43, a copywriter for a marketing agency in London, tried out the smart glasses in Oxford’s Covered Market. Iain was diagnosed with the inherited eye condition choroideremia at around the age of 12. On having the glasses fitted, Iain reacted: ‘Ooh, I can … I can see your face. It’s, er, like suddenly going into … Like the Lord of the Rings when he puts the ring on. And sees things in a new way … That tablecloth is looking lovely. It’s getting the pattern of the tablecloth … It’s like I’ve wandered into an 80s pop video. Everyone has cool A-ha drawings round them. It’s now much more of a scene with several people in.’

Iain says he can see the potential of the smart glasses: ‘The glasses could really help with a lot of day-to-day challenges I’m facing in getting around or walking down the street. I do still have some sight. What is great about these glasses is that you can see through them and make the most of the vision you’ve got. They add to what you see with extra information.’

The Oxford University researchers carried out preliminary tests last year of an earlier prototype with 20 volunteers having a range of eye conditions and levels of vision. They found that people could quickly get used to the glasses, and it was the third of people with the lowest vision that really found benefits in using the glasses to get around and avoid obstacles. There are roughly 100,000 people in the UK alone with this low level of vision and who could potentially benefit.

The research and development of the glasses is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The trials are being carried out with the support of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

The group has been awarded further funding from the Royal Society to look at introducing more features into the glasses, such as face, object or text recognition. An audio prompt via an earphone would give people more information about who or what they are seeing.

This article first appeared on the Oxford news page and republished here with kind permission.

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St John,  Ambrose  (1815-1875), Roman Catholic priest and headmaster, was born in Islington, London, on 29 June 1815, the younger son of Henry St John (1768-1833) and Catherine (d. 1856), the daughter of the Revd Henry Wigley of Pensham House, Worcestershire. Ambrose was the grandson of St Andrew St John, dean of Worcester, and the great-grandson of John, tenth Lord St John of Bletso. He entered Westminster School in 1829, became a king’s scholar the following year, and in 1834 went to Christ Church, Oxford, where he was elected to a studentship. He proved to be a good classical scholar and a keen Orientalist, studying Hebrew and Syriac under Edward Pusey, though he only gained a third-class degree in literae humaniores (1837). St John graduated MA in 1840, and, after taking holy orders, served as curate (1841-3) to Henry Wilberforce, first at Bransgore, in Hampshire, and then at Walmer, near Deal. It was Wilberforce who provided the link with John Henry Newman, who first met St John on 21 April 1841 at the consecration of Ampfield church, in John Keble’s parish of Hursley.

On 7 August 1843, suffering increasing doubts about the Church of England, St John joined Newman’s community at Littlemore; but the anticipated visit of ‘about 3 months, perhaps for a longer time’  (Letters and Diaries, 9.428) turned into an association of thirty-two years. St John left Littlemore on 30 September 1845 for a visit to Prior Park, Bath, and, after three days there, was received into the Roman Catholic church; he returned to Littlemore in time to be present at Newman’s reception on 9 October. At his confirmation at Oscott College St John asked if he could take a vow of obedience to Newman; the request was turned down, but for the rest of his life St John acted as if he had taken one. In the autumn of 1846 he and Newman set off for the College of Propaganda Fide in Rome to study for the priesthood; there the Romans spoke of the fair-haired, blue-eyed Englishman as Newman’s guardian angel. The two were ordained priests on Trinity Sunday 1847 by Cardinal Fransoni at Propaganda, and, after a short novitiate, returned to Birmingham, where Newman was to establish the first oratory of St Philip Neri in England.

St John remained at the Birmingham Oratory for the rest of his life, effectively acting as Newman’s right-hand man. By nature vivacious, energetic, and practical, St John took easily to parish work, and was indefatigable in pulpit and confessional alike. In September 1849 he and Newman volunteered to help the priest at cholera-struck Bilston, risking their lives in the process. As well as shouldering many of the tasks at the oratory, St John acted as superior when Newman was in Dublin overseeing the Catholic University; and in December 1855 he and Newman went to Rome to resolve a dispute with the newly formed London Oratory.

In 1857, when Newman was asked to undertake a new translation of the Bible from the Vulgate version, he chose St John as one of the chief translators. St John began work on the book of Psalms, adding a commentary from the Hebrew text, but the Bible project was abandoned (and his translation of the Psalms left unpublished). St John saw through three other major translations: the Raccolta (1857), a vast Italian collection of prayers, which ran to numerous editions and was praised by the Weekly Register (14 Nov 1857) for its ‘great felicity of expression’; the Doctrine of Holy Indulgences (1868), also from the Italian; and Joseph Fessler’s True and False Infallibility of the Popes (1875) from the German.

In January 1862, at Newman’s request, St John dropped his literary work to undertake the headmastership of the Oratory School. It had been founded by Newman in 1859 as a public school for Catholics at the request of a group of Catholic converts, led by Edward Bellasis; but the experiment nearly collapsed when the first headmaster and his staff mutinied in December 1861. Bellasis and James Hope-Scott, the school’s main benefactors, came to the rescue and enabled St John to take over, under Newman’s presidency. St John soon remedied the deficiencies in Catholic training and teaching that he had inherited and over the next decade ensured that the school was re-formed along the lines originally intended by Newman. From the outset the school had employed the Eton dame system, to provide female care for the younger boys. Now, under St John, discipline was tightened up and the school became more orderly. St John and Newman worked together on many school tasks: dealing with parents, whom they treated as partners in education; undertaking the individual interviews with boys after the end-of-term exams, at which St John read out a report about character; and even, from 1865, overseeing the production of an annual Latin play, for which St John acted as stage-manager. As a pioneering venture-employing laymen, not clerics, as masters, catering ‘for youths whose duties are to lie in the world’  (draft prospectus in Shrimpton, 279) rather than ecclesiastical life-the Oratory School met with fierce opposition from supporters of the other Catholic establishments, and in 1867 St John was sent to Rome to prevent the school’s closure; during his audience with Pius IX the pope commented on how much he had aged.

Due to his chronic asthma and exhaustion, St John retired from the headmastership in 1873 and returned to ordinary oratorian duties. Newman had intended him to act as his literary executor and biographer, but he overworked on the Fessler translation, which was intended to support Newman’s efforts in rebutting William Gladstone’s Vatican Decrees. He died as a result of sunstroke and ‘brain fever’ at Ravenshurst Farm, Edgbaston, on 24 May 1875, and was buried at Rednal near Bromsgrove, in the private cemetery belonging to the Birmingham Oratory. Newman had already paid St John a glowing tribute in Apologia pro vita sua. Now, shortly after his death, Newman acknowledged that ‘As far as this world was concerned I was his first and last’  (Letters and Diaries, 27.305). In recognition of this deep spiritual friendship and absolute loyalty, Newman asked to be (and was) buried in the same grave.

Paul Shrimpton

Sources  Birmingham Daily Post (26 May 1875) + Catholic Times (28 May 1875) + Catholic Opinion, 11, 528 + Gillow, Lit. biog. hist. + Foster, Alum. Oxon. + Burke, Peerage + The letters and diaries of John Henry Newman, ed. C. S. Dessain and others, [31 vols.] (1961-) + H. Tristram, Newman and his friends (1933) + P. A. Shrimpton, A Catholic Eton? Newman’s Oratory School (2005)
Archives Birmingham Oratory, corresp., diaries, journal, notebooks, sermon notes and papers
Likenesses  M. Giberne, oils, 1847 (with Newman), Birmingham Oratory · Southwell Bros., two cartes-de-visite, c.1862, Birmingham Oratory · R. W. Thrupp, four cartes-de-visite, c.1864, Birmingham Oratory · S. Grey, carte-de-visite, c.1868, Birmingham Oratory · M. Giberne, oils, c.1870, Birmingham Oratory · H. J. Whitlock, three cartes-de-visite, c.1873, Birmingham Oratory · photograph, Birmingham Oratory [see illus.] · watercolour over photographic base, Birmingham Oratory
Wealth at death  under £2000: probate, 9 July 1875, CGPLA Eng. & Wales

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OBR is excited about expanding to Canada. Last night, Oxbridge Toronto Chapter was launched in the presence of Prof Al Edwards (Toronto and Oxford), and representative of the Ministry of Research and Innovation, Bill Mantel, at the Bitmakerlab space located in 220 King Street. The panel discussion was opened by Lise Eamer from Oxbridge. OBR is involved in a movement in support of biotech start ups. It seems there are all the right ingredients for Oxbridge to succeed in a grand scale.

Last night, the attendees identified several shortcomings for bio-entrepreneurship to succeed and grow in Canada. Conclusive remarks on the priority issues revolved around:

1- lack of advocacy and media attention – and some degree of ignorance on value proposition of bio-tech startups.

2- lack of seed funding and investment for scaling up by private sector.

An interactive Q and A resulted in some ideas emerging for Oxbridge to be creative, and different from other startup accelerators.

Sign up to learn more about Oxbridge Toronto Chapter with:

OBR Consulting

Innovative business consulting

OBR-consulting is a unique opportunity for students to gain experience in consultancy projects at the intersection of science, business and entrepreneurship


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Dave Phillips: Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford

Surfing the next great waves of the Internet

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How much do you know about the Law of the Sea?

necker_ocean_3Of the many things in our world that require protection, we sometimes forget the vast expanses of the oceans. However, they are also vulnerable and deserve our protection, including under the law. In recognition of World Oceans Day, we pulled together a collection of international law questions on the Law of the Sea from our books, journals, and online products. Test your knowledge of maritime law!




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Capitalist’s Dilemma

Watch The Capitalist’s Dilemma – Prof. Clayton Christensen (HARVARD and OXFORD Universities)

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oxfordOxford Business Alumni Advisory Council Elections

Our alumni play a crucial role in serving as the eyes and ears of the School’s community in the wider world. The Alumni Advisory Council (AAC) will provide an efficient way for alumni to voice their thoughts and add to the discussion on possible future directions for the School.

The AAC’s mission will be to:

  • Work closely with the Alumni Relations Office to strengthen the Oxford Business Alumni (OBA) Network and enhance the alumni experience
  • Advise the School on matters of concern to its alumni
  • Support the School in its mission and help raise its global profile
  • Contribute to the School’s governance through representation on the School Board

AAC Elections – Voting is now open through Friday 13 June!

OBA Network members who are eligible to vote should have received an email on Friday 30 May with a code to to view and vote for the candidates via a dedicated web portal managed by the Electoral Reform Services (ERS). The voting portal is only accessible via the emailed link, you will not find it on the OBA website or by searching the web.

There are more the 60 candidates running, so don’t miss your chance to make your voice heard! Please remember, you must be an actively registered member of the OBA Network in order for your vote to count.

For more information on voting procedures and becoming an actively registered member, visit the AAC Elections page.

Composition of the Alumni Advisory Council

The Council will comprise 20 seats, 15 of which will be held and elected by alumni. The remaining five seats will be non-elected, and include one Saïd Business School Faculty member, the Head of Alumni Relations and three alumni appointed by the Dean.

After the 15 alumni members have been elected and the three remaining alumni members have been appointed by the Dean, the AAC will choose a Chair from among its members. The Chair will represent the AAC on the School Board.

Roles and responsibilities

The AAC will meet as a group at least twice a year, greater frequency and format of meetings will be determined by the AAC. Members can attend meetings in person or by phone.

The Chair will be required to attend at least four of the six School Board meetings a year, in person or by phone.

The Alumni Relations Office will assist the Chair in supporting the AAC.

Length of tenure shall be two years in the first instance. No member shall serve more than two terms.

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Sign the petition for financial inclusion for women


Sign the petition for financial inclusion for women. watch the video

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Suspicious Savers

We distrust people who are mean with their money, according to the findings of a series of lab experiments conducted at Oxford University.


The study participants had no face-to-face contact but played a series of interactive games. They had to make decisions about whom to trust in their dealings with other players, based on information they were given on the level of these other players’ generosity in previous games.

The experiments revealed that participants who had been mean with their money were trusted less, and indeed were more likely to be untrustworthy. The findings by researchers from the University of Oxford and the European University Institute, Italy are published in the journal PLOS One.

The experiments involved a total of 265 Oxford University students. First, participants played the Dictator Game, where they were put into pairs, and in each pair one was given £8. These players could then choose the ‘mean’ option of giving £1 or the ‘generous’ option of giving £3.50 to the other player.

In the second stage of the experiment, participants played the Trust Game. In this game, the players were again put into pairs but with a different partner. Then, one player could first decide whether to keep or send money to their partner. Sending the money would multiply the amount, but now their partner could either send a larger share back in return, or simply pocket the money. However, before the first player decided whether to send the money, he or she received information about what the other player had done in the Dictator Game. The players could truthfully reveal, hide or lie about whether they had been generous or mean.

Some 65% of participants in the Trust Game sent money to those who had already shown generosity in the earlier game. Only 29% of players sent money to partners after learning those partners had been mean or had remained silent about what they did in the earlier Dictator Game.

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Engaging talks and collaborations

Ask Oxford Dons and Alumni

Unlike protesters who may be vocal but unclear, our Oxford community’s responsibility is to draw conclusions from evidence and then forcefully engage with the large debates that set the rules. (Dean Tufano)

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HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

Business bloggers at Harvard Business Review discuss a variety of business topics including managing people, innovation, leadership, and more.


Unlike protesters who may be vocal but unclear, our Oxford community’s responsibility is to draw conclusions from evidence and then forcefully engage with the large debates that set the rules. (Dean Tufano)

Marginal Revolution

Small steps toward a much better world.


Grants and Awards to Finance University Start-Ups

Mayor Boris Johnson

Provides news, articles and photos by and about the politician, journalist and columnist Boris Johnson

Elizabeth Eva Leach

Musicology, medieval to modern


Unlike protesters who may be vocal but unclear, our Oxford community’s responsibility is to draw conclusions from evidence and then forcefully engage with the large debates that set the rules. (Dean Tufano)

Nature News Blog

Unlike protesters who may be vocal but unclear, our Oxford community’s responsibility is to draw conclusions from evidence and then forcefully engage with the large debates that set the rules. (Dean Tufano)

Unlike protesters who may be vocal but unclear, our Oxford community’s responsibility is to draw conclusions from evidence and then forcefully engage with the large debates that set the rules. (Dean Tufano)


Grants and Awards to Finance University Start-Ups

Unlike protesters who may be vocal but unclear, our Oxford community’s responsibility is to draw conclusions from evidence and then forcefully engage with the large debates that set the rules. (Dean Tufano)


Unlike protesters who may be vocal but unclear, our Oxford community’s responsibility is to draw conclusions from evidence and then forcefully engage with the large debates that set the rules. (Dean Tufano)

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