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The Notion Club Papers Camera



Night 63: Thursday, March 13th 1987. [Only the last sheet of this meeting is preserved. The discussion seems to have proceeded to legendary voyages of discovery in general. For the reference to the imram see Night (69).]

[Good] night Frankley!"

Lowdhawm seemed to feel a bit guilty about his ragging; and when the meeting broke up, he walked the High with Ramer and myself. We turned into Radcliffe Square.

"Played the ass as usual, Ramer," said Lowdhawm. "Sorry! I felt all strung up: wanted a fight, or a carouse, or something. But really I was very interested, especially about the imram. Underneath we Nordics have some feelings, as long as the Dago-fanciers will only be reasonably polite.” He hesitated. “I’ve had some rather odd experiences—well, perhaps we’ll talk about it some other time. It’s late. But in the vac. Perhaps?”

“I shall be going away.” Said Ramer, a trifle coldly, “till after Easter.”

“Oh well. But do come to the meetings next term! You must have lots more to tell us. I’ll try and be good.”


It was a cool clear night after a windy day. It was starry in the west, but the moon was already climbing. At BNC gate Lowdhawm turned. The Camera looked vast and dark against the moonlit sky. Wisps of long white cloud were passing on an easterly breeze. For a moment one of them seemed to take the shape of a plume of smoke issuing from the lantern of the dome.

Lowdhawm looked up, and his face altered. His tall powerful figure appeared taller and broader as he stood there, gazing, with his dark brows drawn down. His face seemed pale and angry, and his eyes glittered.

“Curse him! May the Darkness take him!” he said bitterly. “May the earth open—“ The cloud passed away. He drew his hand over his brow. “I was going to say,” he said. “Well, I don’t remember. Something about the Camera, I think. Doesn’t matter. Good night, chaps!” He knocked, and passed in through the door.


So. Back to the halfway decent stuff. Everybody liked the last crazy picture I had of this Lord of the Rings-based time-travel thing that I thought I might as well draw another. This one takes place before Lowdhawm's
outburst here [link] but it's still a pretty interesting scene.

Background info. That is Lowdhawm, of course; the bald guy with the sunglasses is Phillip Ramer, Tolkien's incarnation in the story; and the balding one with the pipe falling out of his mouth is Nicholas Guildford, the secretary who records the Notion Club Papers.

On a factual note, the Camera is an old building in Oxford, used as the reading room for the Bodleian Library. In case anyone wants to know. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out here, but I don't know if I like the sky. I have several versions of the coloration, and my brothers and sisters said it looked better before I did, but oh well.

Comments appreciated. enjoy!

EDIT: To see a picture of the whole club, follow this [link]
Image size
1696x2192px 1.57 MB
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pandemonium-213's avatar
This is fantastic and certainly hits my Notion Club Papers buttons! If you'll indulge me, I'd like to link Lady Elleth's "Let There Be No Doubt Now", which was a collaborative effort between us for the Silmarillion Writers' Guild's Akallabêth in August special project. When we were bouncing ideas back and forth for the illustration, I sent along an image of the Radcliffe Camera, knowing of its role in the NCP, and Lady Elleth took it from there. So I am tickled to see your rendering of the famous building here! Great illustration! I love seeing these memorable characters "in the flesh" as it were!