PAINTINGS of the ancient Ridgeway are travelling one of America’s most iconic roads this month.

Artist Michael Pearce, who grew up in Wroughton, was inspired by the scenery and history of locations like Hackpen Hill and Silbury Hill at Avebury.

Now based in the US, he has decided to take 30 of his works featuring Ridgeway and other British landscapes on a tour starting in California and following the famous Route 66 to Alabama and Olklahoma before changing direction and heading towards galleries in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

The Secret Paintings show stages festive scenes of 21st Century magical realism set in British landscapes, including four huge paintings called Chariot, which show a tree-covered earthwork beside the Ridgeway at Hackpen Hill and the white horse.

The paintings put viewers in the middle of the grove while an imaginary party of thirty-six beautiful women parades around them. Mysterious and magical Silbury Hill appears on the horizon.

He explained: “I love the Ridgeway. I love the way the track curves through the landscape. When I walk on it I feel as if my feet are in the steps of my ancestors.

“Now the Secret Paintings are travelling on the world-famous route 66 - it’s such a great combination of ancient Britain and modern America. We’ve always been linked. Travellers have come and gone between our countries for centuries.”

Michael, whose mother Dr Barbara Clay was instrumental in bringing the MRI scanner to Swindon, would use some of her X-Ray slides to help him with his artwork. She was a keen amateur photographer and when paying tribute for an obituary in the Advertiser earlier this year he credited her with inspiring him to become an artist.

Now based in America, his work has been collected by famous art lovers including Andrew Getty, Walking Dead director Jennifer Lynch and rapper Snoop Dogg. He is also a co-founder of the Representational Art Conference, which brought together figures such as Brinkworth-based philosopher Sir Roger Scruton and internationally renowned painter Max Ginsburg.