This cache is in the pedestrian shopping area in central Oxford, at the end of a small alleyway.
This used to be the main entrance of the Oxford Union. The main entrance is now through the gardens, in St Michael street. The building to your left is the original debating chamber of the Oxford Union Society, designed by Benjamin Woodward. Its walls and ceiling of were decorated in 1857 by 7 artists, organised by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Admiring Woodward and Rossetti's work on the recently built University Museum, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones joined the project. They also enlisted Valentine ‘Val’ Prinsep, John Hungerford Pollen, Arthur Hughes, John Rodham Spencer Stanhope. They were later joined by Frederic Sandys. The murals depict the Arthurian legend as told in the then recently published Morte d'Arthur by Tennyson. The ceiling is painted in a floral pattern by Morris. For various reasons they left the murals unfinished and the Union employed William and Briton Riviere to complete them 2 years later.
Under the influence of Rossetti, the friendship between Morris and Burne-Jones would lead to the birth of the second Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. At the time though, in 1857, they had graduated only a couple of years earlier and this was probably Morris’ first attempt at painting. The young artists were very inexperienced and their lack of technical knowledge has led to difficulties for the preservation of these paintings ever since.
The collaboration on the murals was inspired by Ruskin’s ideals of affordable art and a return to pre-capitalist artisan craft. The 2nd Annual report of the Morris Society (1957), states that "this enterprise,[…], foreshadowed the similar communal enterprise of Morris & Co."