There’s the story of the artist who made hundreds of drawings depicting the same gothic city from an equal number of viewpoints.

What amazed the critics was the consistency of his work; whenever the Great Tower was visible in the far background, its dimensions and features were the same down to the tiniest pencil line – even if years had passed between the drawings.

Whenever someone scoffed at his skill and tried to find some mundane explanation – “why he used stencils of course!” – some other discovery laid waste to it. I still recall the day when a fellow academic realised that the height of the trees in Bishop’s Green increased exactly as it would in the real world taking into account the amount of snowfall and sunshine that they received in this imaginary world – measured five years earlier by a group of PhD students who worked on series CV – “Guild of the Timekeepers”

Much as it has been written for this man – and it is a great deal of writing – nobody could decipher what appeared to be his last sketch, found on his desk the day after his death.

It was a piece of paper, blank save for the faintest of shadows. The outline of the bell tower and the multi-storey building next to it were only discovered when someone accidentally included the artifact in a bundle of his drawings sent for x-ray analysis. In her report for the museum’s management – a museum dedicated only to him – the lead scientist wrote that the shapes were baked into the very molecules of the paper and that even with today’s technology it would be extremely hard to achieve – if at all.

Weary of the museum becoming the centre of conspiracy theorists and other lunatics, management decided not to make the report publicly available and to discourage its author from any thoughts of doing so via a quite generous pay package and subtle mentions of how uncomfortable legal proceedings can be for those unfortunate enough to be in them.

Sometimes, over dinner, the curators and their colleagues discuss the artist’s work; and there’s always someone who will express their amazement at how real he made that city to be.

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