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Buildings of Oxford

Year Completed : 1971

Size : 2.4m square (8ft)

Client : Bradford & Bingley Building Society

Location : Currently at our workshops in Wells

Current Status : In October 2015 we rescued the mural before refurbishment of 114-116 Aldates Street, Oxford, OX1 1BD

Buildings of OxfordIn the early days we made our murals on the ground, with hessian between the raw clay and the cement floor surface.  Here the cathedral at the lower right is only drawn on the surface whilst in other areas the clay has been modelled and textured.The cathedral has now been modelled and white slip added to the window areas. These will have coloured glass added at a later stage.The pieces are cut up and numbered to facilitate reassembling at a later stage.  Laid here on newspaper, they will next be placed on wire trays to dry before firing in the kiln.Buildings of OxfordThe pieces of ceramic, now glazed, are laid into polyester resin to form panels. This photograph would have been taken from the gallery in our new studio.Buildings of OxfordBuildings of OxfordWooden battens - painted black to hide the joints - were screwed to the office wall to receive the nine panels. Two panels have already been fixed to the wall.Buildings of OxfordBuildings of OxfordBuildings of Oxford

Throughout the seventies, Kennedy and I were commissioned by Bradford and Bingley Building Society to design and make murals for their different high street offices. In nearly all cases we tried in our designs to reflect the character and history of the particular area. The Oxford mural was the first that we did for the Society, and the first building mural on which we worked together. We designed a mural which consisted of a collage of buildings showing some of the famous buildings of Oxford University including the Sheldonian Theatre, Christchurch Cathedral, the ornate gate to St John’s College and the fabled Spires of the city. It is modelled in bold relief. We were still working out our various techniques and the mural had little of the repeating elements that we subsequently used. We melted coloured glass onto the church windows and used slate in the sky. This was not the rusty/grey slate obtained from a worked-out Cornish slate quarry which we came to use late on, but darker grey/black slate from Wales (Broken roof tiles, I think!)

In 1992 the branch office was moved but the mural followed it and was re-sited to new offices based at 114-116 Aldates Street in Oxford. The building is to be refurbished and it is not clear if the mural will be required there in the future. Whilst rescuing it in October 2015 we spotted a little note behind it saying PT and JKC re-sited the mural here in 1992.

Lat/Long : 51.210727, -2.641327

Blue - mural exists but with restricted access

Mural still exists but can't easily be seen due to resticted access to the site


Contact Us

Philippa Threlfall
Black Dog
Tor Street

01749 672548