Period-style map of Oxford for The Dictionary of Lost Words

Client: Penguin Random House | October-November 2020 | Adobe Illustrator
I was commissioned by the publishing group Penguin Random House to create this illustrated period-style map of Oxford for "The Dictionary of Lost Words" by Pip Williams (ISBN 9780593160190, published in April 2021), a novel set within the famous university city in 1911. The map displays locations and landmarks around the city that are key to the plot, with six of the most important illustrated with simple pen sketches. The brief required the design to authentically resemble a map of the period and accurately show the city's streets and buildings as they were at the time; to achieve this I referred to contemporary Ordnance Survey maps of Oxford and used an appropriate typeface and a black and white colour scheme.

The full map which appears on a double page spread at the beginning of the novel. The map is orientated with east at the top to suit the page format.

Detail from the Six-Inch Ordnance Survey map of Oxford from c.1913, which I used as reference for the period style and topographical information (source:

Detail of the central section of the map.

Detail of some of the key buildings in the map including Somerville College as it appeared at the time, and the nearby Oxford University Press building on Walton Street.

Detail of other landmarks mentioned in the plot, including Trinity College and the Bodleian Library.

A montage of the six landmarks represented by illustrations, including the Old Ashmolean building on Broad Street, nowadays the History of Science Museum.