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St John's College, Oxford

St John’s College commissioned Susan Morris to create a tapestry artwork for its new Library and Study Centre designed by Wright & Wright Architects. 

The work ‘Silence (on Prepared Loom)’ for the Library & Study Centre, comprises a series of six woven tapestries taking inspiration from the context of the Library, its architectural design and setting.


Susan Morris says of her tapestry series:

‘These tapestries were woven directly from a 50-minute sound recording made in the garden on the other side of Sprott’s Wall, a boundary shared between the garden and the library. Through the application of a specially written script, the recorded sound was configured to the 'score' for John Cage's 1952 Lecture on Nothing, a spoken word performance that has silence at its core. The garden itself is visible through the single window in the second bay of the reading room, and can be regarded as part of the overall piece.’


The approach to site specific artist commissioning has been led by the vision of the College’s presidents, bursars and art panel members, working with Modus Operandi, and supported by its architects, who have generously afforded opportunities for other creative minds.


The commission forms an important addition to the collection of notable contemporary artworks for the College, which include, also commissioned in 2022, Mary Lum's 'St John's Primer', preceeded by earlier commissions by Kirsty Brooks- Otranto Passage Artwork’ and Susanna Heron’s ‘Stone Drawing’ both of which were commissioned as part of the first phase of the New Library. The contemporary art collection includes earlier commissions by Wendy Ramshaw, Alexander Beleschenko, Langlands & Bell and Ian Monroe, all curated by Modus Operandi.  


Susan Morris

Title of work

'Silence (on Prepared Loom)'


University of Oxford


Wright & Wright Architects





Image credit

Image by Stephen White & Co