Sydmonton Common Oak


An ancient oak tree, over 400 years old, still marks part of the boundary of Sydmonton Common in north Hampshire. It is an intriguing entity – partially decayed and yet still living (its upper limbs sported green leaves when I first visited the tree in November; today its branches were as bare as you would expect in January). The tree is hollowed to such an extent that I am sure it has lost a full half of its former radius. The “lost” side is obscured and occupied by invasive rhododenron, while birch and other young upstarts overshadow the old oak.

This studio drawing (one of a short series made of the tree) shows the more complete side of the bole, as seen from the road, and does not attempt to track the skyward reach of the branches. It is based on my November trip, when undergrowth hid the base of the tree; I made a few guesses about that area when I decided to omit the undergrowth.

Sydmonton Common Oak (3)

inks on paper, <A3


Media note: Rohrer & Klingner drawing inks on Bockingford hot press watercolour paper, applied with a dip pen, water and fingers. Colours used: Sepia, Bister, Caput Mortuum, Alt-Goldgrun, Gelbgrun, Senegalblau, Indigo.