Oxford author Sylvia Vetta has designed a walk through the city center that features some locations from her novel Sculpting the Elephant.

In the novel, Harry King, artist and antique dealer, believes he just made the worst purchase of his life – a huge Victorian chest of drawers filled with antique newspapers and junk that now occupies half of his shop.

But when he stumbles upon the beautiful historian Ramma Gupta, he realizes that he may have gotten more than he expected. Their story merges with the life of a Victorian explorer who mysteriously vanished.

Ms Vetta describes the novel as “an intercultural journey takes them from Oxford to India to discover the love, secrets and teachings of a lost empire”.

The walk begins at the Jam Factory in Frideswide Square, where Ms. Vetta once helped run an antique center.

It is now a cafe and a center for offices and businesses.

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Ms Vetta said: “In 1987, when my business partner Gill Hedge and I ran an art and antiques center downstairs, we called it Jam Factory and the name stuck.

“The restaurant / bar at the back has kept its name and in some ways the ambience.

“Why not start your walk with a coffee or a drink in the Jam Factory which Harry would love because it is also an art gallery?” ”

Cross Cafe Street and turn left into St Thomas’s. It was the industrial heart of Oxford, home to many breweries.

Just before the castle you come to Quaking Bridge, turn left and walk along the river, cross Park End Street and continue along the river path. Cross Hythe Bridge Street and join the Canal Path.

Oxford Mail:

Follow the canal path for about half a mile until you reach a bridge near Isis Lock, cross the bridge to Mount Place and turn right into Canal Street.

Ms Vetta added: “Harry’s terraced house was near St Barnabas Church. Being an artist, Harry loved St Barnabas.

“The architectural style is that of a Roman basilica but the interior decoration would have been modern at the time. The Combes who ran the Clarendon Press (now OUP), also in Jericho, were among the early patrons of the Pre-Raphaelites. They were the instigators of the construction of this church.

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“The leafy decoration and other designs on the left could be from a book by William Morris. Walk up to Walton Street and turn right. You come to two pubs that are important in Harry’s life. The Jericho Tavern was where the Oxford band Radiohead performed in their early days.

Oxford Mail:

“Walk through the Radcliffe Observatory district and walk down to St Giles, before turning left onto Broad Street. Then cross to the corner of Catte Street and look up. You will see an elephant.

Oxford Mail:

“This takes us to India and the second half of Sculpting the Elephant. This building was originally the Indian Institute and is a good place to end our walk.”

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