BETWEEN the wars, the Church Times had its own resident
artist. Donald Maxwell contributed regular pictures and
travelogues. His "Travels with a Sketchbook" section appeared
almost weekly, featuring cathedrals and lesser churches up and down
the country. He drew regularly for the paper from 1927 until his
death in 1936.
Maxwell was an official artist to the Admiralty in the First
World War, and a prolific author of travel books. His researches
took him across Europe, and to the Middle East and India.
One, more domestic, journey, charted in the Church
Times, was turned into a book, A Pilgrimage of the
Thames (Centenary Press, 1932). The author started the journey
in Gravesend, where an enthusiastic river pilot was keen to pick
out landmarks, mostly pubs. "'Tell me about the churches,' I
interrupted, in as stern a manner as I could command. 'What are
those two in sight?'
"'St Andrew's,' replied the pilot, 'and St George's. The little
one on the quay is called the Fishermen's Church. It belongs to the
St Andrewes Waterside Church Mission. St George's is the parish
church. It's an interesting old place, and there is a Princess
buried there.'" And so, his pilgrimage began.
His meandering journey took in the docks of London, Blackfriars,
Westminster, Richmond, Sunbury, Staines (which Maxwell calls "the
Bruges of Middlesex"), Eton, Maidenhead, Marlow, Dorchester,
Littlemore, and Oxford.
Finally, from the top of Iffley Church, he looked over Oxford,
in the evening light. "Its many towers glinted as if studded with a
hundred facets of amethyst and amber. The sun sank down in a
burning mist behind them and it seemed a City of Dreams - nay, more
than a City of Dreams - a City of Dreams Come True. . . So, here
upon the highest point we can find, and with Oxford as El Dorado of
our vision, we will indeed, as we have vowed, end our pilgrimage of