This painting had several titles. Turl Street Turn. Turl Street Tourists. Traveling Turl Street. Why would the image evoke alliterations? Perhaps it hints at the unsettled alliance between Oxford City’s regular and student residents.
Turl Street Junction
Standing here at the Turl and Market Street junction, a cyclist rounds the corner from Market Street. Turl Street is home to no less than 3 Oxford colleges: Exeter, Jesus and Lincoln. That amounts to many academics per square metre!
On the left are Lincoln (home to one of the oldest working medieval kitchens in the UK) and Brasenose College. Behind you are Exeter to the left and Jesus College, founded by Elizabeth I, to the right. The spire of All Saints Church (now Lincoln College Library) is dead ahead.
Brasenose College glows with golden tones defined by umber colours. The shops and cafes to the right offer a suitable red and cerulean blue contrast. These colours almost point out the retail sector’s essential place in Oxford life – all students across every century need books, food, coffee, and drinks.
In Oxford, the intertwined academic and everyday compete for attention and space. As an Oxford resident you have no option but to live in a university. It is ubiquitous, as academia has grown alongside the city for centuries. There simply is no ‘university campus’ set apart from the City of Oxford. Being in one, you simultaneously experience the other. Hand in glove.
Whether a student or not, life revolves around the university. Oxford University terms are short at a mere 8 weeks each but they make a statement. The moment term starts, a change descends on Oxford and non-scholarly residents gird their loins for the 24 000-student influx.
Bicycles - so Oxford
Overnight, bicycles overwhelm peaceful Oxford City. You cannot move for them! It is no wonder that the cycling rate in Oxford is triple the UK average. In term time, the three in this painting would be swamped with dozens leaning all along the left-hand wall. Sometimes as many as 5 deep – quintessentially Oxford.