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Jane's got it all mapped out

Wellesbourne Airfield
Wellesbourne Airfield

The bulk of the plays take place in the British Isles or in Italy, so to squeeze so many into such a small space, meant Jane had to distort the underlying map of Europe considerably.

But the painting is not about accurate mapping. Jane said she painted it entirely for my own pleasure and has no plans to sell the original, which will be on display in the Montpellier Gallery, in Chapel Street, Stratford, in April.

Although prints are going down a storm in the United States. “Researching this painting has been a fascinating way of examining each play in turn to discover its essence and themes,” she said.

Her personal favourite play is King Lear, and her favourite Lear was Michael Gambon in 1982, with Antony Sher as the Fool, which she saw three times.

Jane was born in Stratford in the 1960s and lived in the town until she was 22. She was a student at Kineton High School and studied at Oxford Polytechnic.She has lived in Oxfordshire ever since.

She said: “Shakespeare was a big figure in my life when I was growing up. He was my local hero. I felt I should do something to commemorate him as part of me, and also to mark the 400th anniversary of his death in April.”

Jane started drawing maps just as a doodle six years ago, her early maps being in black and white. Her first was of a tiny village in Oxfordshire and then she mapped Woodstock, where her mother lives.

Last year, she painted the whole county of Oxfordshire, which has won a commendation for the British Cartographic Society’s John C Bartholomew Award for schematic mapping.

She added: “They saw in it, some of the magic I was trying to convey. “We are bombarded with maps all the time, many which are factual, but I’m trying to put the magic back into mapping.”

And what’s next for Jane? She plans to paint a map of the Bard’s play in the British Isles. To view the painting visit http://janetomlinson.com/artworks/shakespeare-map/

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