Collagraph and chine colle (2016), 29cm x 17.5cm, varied edition of 30.
The oak tree is a well-known symbol of endurance and steadfastness. Its ancient name in the precursor of most Indian and European languages was ‘dorw’, which has formed the root for many words in different tongues indicating constance, permanence and fixedness. The English terms ‘duration’, ‘trust’, ‘truth’ and even ‘tree’ itself are all formed from this origin.
This particular tree is the Bowthorpe Oak, at Manthorpe near Bourne in Lincolnshire. With a circumference of 42 feet it is believed to be the widest-girthed oak in Europe and over 1,000 years old. Hollow inside, it has in the past hosted parties – the children from the local chapel once held their annual summer picnic in it - and there are reports that it can hold three dozen people at a time. It can be visited for a small charge – entry is through a farmyard and the tree has on each occasion I’ve visited been surrounded by happy hens scratching in the grass around it – you can see three in the image.