C.S. Lewis Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis Wardrobe

Dr. Arthur Lynip was leading the England Semester in 1974 and invited Father Walter Hooper, the literary executor of C. S. Lewis’s estate, to speak to the Westmont group. After his talk Father Hooper mentioned the purchases Wheaton College had made of C. S. Lewis furniture, including an heirloom wardrobe, and then remarked that, "Of course, there’s no such thing as the original, but if there were an original for the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe it is still in Lewis’s house."

Dr. Lynip and some England Semester students had the idea of trying to obtain the wardrobe for Westmont. While in Oxford, Dr. Lynip spoke with the new owner of C. S. Lewis’s home, who was not at all interested in Lewis but did fancy the idea of having American-style walk-in closets. The wardrobe had not been sold because Lewis’s bedroom had been remodeled in such a way that it would have been impossible to remove the wardrobe without first disassembling it. The new owner sold the wardrobe to the Westmont group for the cost of lumber to build a closet.

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lewis refers to the wardrobe through which the Penvensie children reach Narnia as "a perfectly ordinary wardrobe, the kind with a looking-glass in the door." The Wheaton wardrobe is ornate and has two doors–neither of which has a looking glass.

Lewis’s emphasis that a perfectly ordinary wardrobe was the means of access to the fantastic spiritual realm of Narnia is not without theological significance. We are closer to the realm of the spirit than we sometimes realize if we are just willing to open the door.