Author endorsements



Jan Morris, often described as the world's leading travel writer, is the author of two classic books about Oxford: Oxford (1965) and The Oxford Book of Oxford (1978).  Her reactions to the city  are described in Chapter 2 pages 46-47, and quotes from her work occur throughout the text.




 ‘Experiencing Oxford' is a fascinating book that describes this most fascinating of cities in a totally new way.  The book has given me entirely new insights into the nature of this very subtle organism, called Oxford.  Above all the book gets to the very heart of the place through emotions and artistry and Ian's personal observations and paintings. I particularly like the painting on the cover of the book of the Oxford Skyline from South Parks, this brings back good memories of arriving into Oxford.’



Peter Lovesey, one of Britain’s leading crime writers, has been awarded Gold and Silver Dagger Awards by the British Crime Writers’ Association. Peter and Ian became friends in Hampton Grammar School in the early 1950’s.  Peter has contributed to Ian’s book describing ‘Experience Oxford through Athletics’ (page 310)




‘Experiencing Oxford’ arrived this morning and gave a lift to our day. The book itself provides some of those sensory experiences you investigate within its pages: that exciting smell it gives off when you open it (ink and paper, I suppose, but fragrant to anyone lucky enough to be the first to open the book); gorgeous illustrations, a treat for the eye; the feel of the paper and the solid, satisfying weight of the book in your hands; plus, of course, the anticipation of enjoying the text. We'll treasure this.

I love the book, scholarly and yet accessible: wide ranging and yet personal; visually gorgeous.  I feel sure it will get a lot of attention and become a ‘must-have’ for everyone who loves the city. Your paintings work beautifully with the text.’



Tim Pears, an Oxford based author of novels who explores social issues as they are processed through the dynamics of family relationships. Soon after moving to Oxford he had a memorable multi-sensory experience of galloping horses in the mists of Port Meadow, captured in his vivid description in Chapter 7, page 173.




‘Sorry not to have responded immediately upon the arrival of your book, but I wanted to have a good look at it first and have been engrossed.

It is so rich. A truly monumental achievement, I have not seen a book of Oxford to equal it, it will surely become the great book for present inhabitants of the city, Oxonians worldwide and tourists alike. You should be really satisfied and proud of this achievement, Ian. On top of the many photos, walks, quotes and so on, your paintings are the heart of the book.

…a wonderfully immersive journey through Oxford, that could only have been composed, in word and image, by one who has lived long within the city. Ian Davis has both delved into Oxford’s glittering sanctums and gazed upon its mellow beauty. His lucent watercolours convey light on stone and architecture with rare distinction.’



Juhani Pallasmaa, a leading Finnish architect, Professor Emeritus Aalto University, Helsinki is the author of definitive books concerning a sensory approach to Architecture and Urban Design including: The Eyes of the Skin, Architecture and the Senses  (1996)  He wrote the Foreword to Experiencing Architecture (page 7)




 ‘I have been reading your book, and it is extraordinarily rich and layered in its contents. It really reads as a piece of literature instead of a guide book. Your watercolours are impressive in their combined clarity and artistic feeling… I am sure your book will be a success also in terms of sales. I am pleased to have my humble piece in the book as the Foreword.

…This book projects a sense of lived life, reality and tradition, not just academic scholarship: the reader is not only walked experientially through Oxford, but also exposed to a rich field of information and association.’ 



Mark Williams, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology in Oxford University is a pioneer in the development of Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy.  He co-authored: Mindfulness: A practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World (2011)




‘ Ian Davis has given us a wonderful treat. Through words, paintings and photographs he invites us to slow down, to use all our senses to experience both the ordinary and the extraordinary in Oxford.  For those of us who thought we already knew this place, he guides us to see new views and discover fresh perspectives… we savour its treasures.’



Christina Hardyment, is an Oxford based author of numerous books including. Writing the Thames (2016).  She is also the reviewer of Audio Books for The Times. Christina commissioned Ian to write about Oxford and illustrate Oxford Colleges when in the early 1990’s she was editor of Oxford Today, the University Alumni Journal. Some of this early material has been included in Experiencing Oxford.  




‘Experiencing Oxford is without doubt the most stimulating book about the city and its university that I have come across, a wonderful left-field contribution to the plethora of Oxford guided. Davis has lived in Oxford for most of his life, used it as a tool to inspire generations of architectural students, painted and photographed it, and reflected deeply on its extraordinary sensory appeal.  He knits ancient and modern into a multi-layered collage rich in historical, literary and visual reference that is guaranteed to shake up your thinking.  It is a wonderful book, and the paintings are glorious... I am immensely proud of it’