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Ancient Oak on Finchley Common

Ancient Oak on Finchley Common

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1775

Shelfmark: Ktop 29

Item number: 10.2.b

Genre: Topographical Drawing

View of an ancient oak on Finchley Common. A large part of the land at Finchley was heavy, wet clay which was difficult to cultivate and so it was left as common land. By the 13th century settlements and developed at the edges of the common area and it is from these settlements that Finchley grew. In the 17th century the common land was landscaped and put to grass. Finchley Common became well known after it became associated with highway man Dick Turpin. He was thought to have sheltered under an oak tree on the common. Although this association has never been proven it would explain the presence of this print of an oak tree in the King’s Topographical collection.

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