John Chessell Buckler
Artist & Architect
1793 - 1894
J C Buckler was the eldest of the eleven children of architect, John Buckler, FSA (1770-1851), and Ann Chessell. John was second prizewinner in the competition for the new Houses of Parliament in 1836 and his son also practised as an architect. However, their main interest was in the recording of ancient buildings on paper. They frequently worked together and John is held to have produced 13,000 topographical drawings in his lifetime. He noted:
“to build, repair, or survey warehouses and sash-windowed dwellings, however profitable, was so much less to my taste than perspective drawing with such subjects before me as cathedrals, abbeys and ancient parish churches, that I never made any effort to increase the number of my employments as an architect.” (The Builder, 10, 3 Jan 1852, 7)
The British Library holds 42 volumes of his sketches
John’s youngest son, George (1811-86), made up the trio of draughtsmen: they were held to have worked together in total harmony.
Though not a resident of Twickenham he spent time here in 1826 and 1831 making drawings of a number of local buildings. It is possible that his father accompanied him.
His son Charles Alban Buckler, a convert to Roman Catholicism, was also an architect, designing several impressive Catholic churches, including Our Lady and St Dominic, Haverstock Hill, London (1874–83).
J C Buckler retired to Melbury House, Cowley, Oxford, where he died at the age of 100 on 10 January 1894. The British Library Manuscript Collection has a volume of his drawings (ADD 36371) which includes a number of views of buildings in Twickenham:
fl0 View of Strawberry hill from Waldegrave Road
fl2 Little Strawberry Hill, Sep 19 1831
fl3 The Chapel in the Grounds, Sep 4 1826
fI4 The Cottage, or Printing House at Strawberry Hill,
Sep 19 1831
fl5 Garden Gate at Strawberry Hill, Sep 19 1831
f26 “Twickenham Riverside”, a view of St Mary's Church
and Twickenham riverside
f27 “North West View of Twickenham Church”, Sep 4 1826.
A view taken from across the road at he top of
f28 “On the North (outside) of the Chancel of Twickenham
Church”, Sep 19 1831. A drawing of the memorial to
Mrs Catherine Clive.
f29 “Pope's Grotto at Twickenham”, Sep 4 1826. A view of
the entrance, with a part of Baroness Howe's Villa
to the left.
f30 “The Grotto at Pope's Villa, Twickenham”, 4 Sep 1826.
An internal view, looking out, towards the river.
f31 “Monument erected by POPE to the memory of his MOTHER
in the grounds near his Villa at Twickenham”
4 Sep 1826. The monument has some figured dimensions.
f32 “Obelisk erected by Pope to the memory of his Mother
in the grounds near his house at Twickenham”,
Sep 4 1826. The obelisk and the urns are dimensioned;
the obelisk appears to be 24 feet high.
f33 “Cambridge House...” dated 21 Sep 1831.
f34 “Marble Hall (sic)”, dated 19 Sep 1831. Road front.
f35 “Marble Hill (altered from Hall) Cottage...
T Brent Esq”, dated 19 Sep 1831.
The sketches are attractive and well detailed. Most are initialled with the monogram JB, perhaps for John Buckler or JCB*, interweaved for his son. Buckler's finished drawing of the obelisk is at the Houghton Library, Harvard University.
*These initials should not be confused with those of J C Barrow, a locally born artist, who died in 1804.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
H M Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, 3rd edition Yale, 1995