Poetic vandal subjects Summertown site to a bit of literary criticism with graffiti by Shelley

The Oxford Times: The graffiti in Summertown Picture: OX65305 Richard Cave Buy this photo The graffiti in Summertown Picture: OX65305 Richard Cave

GRAFFITI usually involves the scrawling of crude messages or ‘tags’ on to walls and motorway bridges.

But a Summertown spray-painter is taking a different approach by using lines from literature on hoardings surrounding a housing development.

Lines from English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley have appeared outside the Hernes Road development of nine town houses.

The literary graffiti is a long passage from the sonnet Ozymandias about a crumbling statue in the desert, which features the memorable verse: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Oxford-based poet Dan Holloway said Shelley’s poem was about human vanity.

He said: “It is poem about the vanity of humans thinking they can build something of lasting value when they can’t.”

Sweetcroft Homes is building nine homes at the site – all of which will have four or five bedrooms.

Harpes Road resident Ed Nash, 34, said the graffiti started appearing last year and had always been promptly replaced whenever it was painted over.

And he said whoever was behind it had written other passages from literature on the white walls.

He said: “It doesn’t look like regular graffiti. Whoever it is, is clearly highly intelligent.

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“It is not done in a mean way – it is done in a tongue-in-cheek way.”

He also said he wished the words could become a permanent part of the development.

Hernes Road resident Stephen Struthers said: “If somebody is going to put up graffiti it is better they do that than the normal stuff.

“It is fairly harmless. The only problem is it might encourage more offensive graffiti.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “Whoever is doing it obviously thinks the building is pretty hideous and obtrusive.”

Sweetcroft Homes director Glen Chapman said he suspected the vandal was protesting at the development which saw “three or four” trees taken down.

But he said many more trees would be planted.

He added that the firm had painted over the graffiti at least three times.

He said: “It is a vandal with a masters in English Literature.

“I appreciate the humour, I appreciate the literature. It just doesn’t connect well with people wanting to buy houses.”

SHELLEY TRIBUTE

  • University College in Oxford hosts The Shelley Memorial, in memory of the poet who once studied there.
  • Percy Shelley (1792-1822) was expelled from the college after writing a controversial pamphlet, The Necessity of Atheism.
  • In 2005, the college acquired some of the poet's letters.

Comments (7)

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8:03am Thu 20 Feb 14

Sophia says...

Actually it doesnt say 'Ozymandias' but a two word name I cant read. Can you? Looks like Thanet something
Actually it doesnt say 'Ozymandias' but a two word name I cant read. Can you? Looks like Thanet something Sophia
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Amio says...

"Thweet Kwoft", it seems. Here's the full resolution version: http://www.oxfordmai
l.co.uk/resources/im
ages/2880792.jpg
"Thweet Kwoft", it seems. Here's the full resolution version: http://www.oxfordmai l.co.uk/resources/im ages/2880792.jpg Amio
  • Score: 1

1:28pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Amio says...

Amio wrote:
"Thweet Kwoft", it seems. Here's the full resolution version: http://www.oxfordmai

l.co.uk/resources/im

ages/2880792.jpg
or equivalently, bit.ly/1dRgKSj
[quote][p][bold]Amio[/bold] wrote: "Thweet Kwoft", it seems. Here's the full resolution version: http://www.oxfordmai l.co.uk/resources/im ages/2880792.jpg[/p][/quote]or equivalently, bit.ly/1dRgKSj Amio
  • Score: 1

1:51pm Thu 20 Feb 14

kubla-khan says...

This work is beautiful and compensates for the disappointment of seeing lines from Xanadu painted over two weeks ago. The word Thweetkroft was not written by the poets, but cleverly incorporated into their work. Thweetkroft was written by a previous contributor and is a rather uninspired play on Sweetcroft who are constructing the homes.
This work is beautiful and compensates for the disappointment of seeing lines from Xanadu painted over two weeks ago. The word Thweetkroft was not written by the poets, but cleverly incorporated into their work. Thweetkroft was written by a previous contributor and is a rather uninspired play on Sweetcroft who are constructing the homes. kubla-khan
  • Score: 2

11:16pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Whitto says...

I hope they are found and prosecuted in the same way that "Soak" was. Exactly the same crime, just because it is posh doesn't make it any less costly to remove...
I hope they are found and prosecuted in the same way that "Soak" was. Exactly the same crime, just because it is posh doesn't make it any less costly to remove... Whitto
  • Score: 3

11:51pm Fri 21 Feb 14

captian_red says...

Love it! I have a Percy Shelly reference t-shirt that almost no one ever gets, but those that do become my new friends =)

http://amorphia-appa
rel.com/design/yemig
hty/
Love it! I have a Percy Shelly reference t-shirt that almost no one ever gets, but those that do become my new friends =) http://amorphia-appa rel.com/design/yemig hty/ captian_red
  • Score: -1

4:10pm Sun 23 Feb 14

stillnotpc says...

I bet that no trees get planted. After all, who is going to make the developers do something that costs them money!
I bet that no trees get planted. After all, who is going to make the developers do something that costs them money! stillnotpc
  • Score: 0

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