This quiet road, tucked away close to the busiest areas of Oxford, is punctuated dramatically at one end by Christ Church‘s Tom Tower. The dark foreground roadway, edged by parking lines, draws the eye towards this iconic tower, heraldically lit from the west on this autumn afternoon, with the silvery light of the archway at its base revealing another life beyond.
I loved the soft mauve shadows of the scene, with the tree bringing a fanfare of ochres and reds into an otherwise very tonal composition. The view is from a position just in front of the lodge entrance to Pembroke College, whose buildings frame the painting to the right. Students wend their way on foot or cycle along this route, and there are bicycles leaning against the college buildings, marking their owner’s passage this way. J R R Tolkien was a fellow of Pembroke College at the time he was writing ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ – he had rooms overlooking this square and would have seen the tall, Citadel-like Tom Tower every day.