J H Buckingham
A Window on Victorian St Albans
by Felicity Hebditch
St Albans Museums, 1988, ISBN 0 902781 02 2
Paperback booklet, 24*21 cm, 48 pages, many coloured reproductions of paintings
The historian interested in St Albans as it was is lucky that the town had the painter John Henry Buckingham (1800-1881) living in their midst. While his paintings and caricatures may not be of the highest professional standards they are important social statements about the town, the surrounding countryside and the people who lived there, particularly in the 1850's and 60's. One his death many were sold off at knock-down prices, but in 1901 some 200 examples of his work were purchased for what was then called the Herts County Museum, Hatfield Road [which had recently been built with my great-grandfather, Jacob Reynolds, bricks!]
St Albans Museums currently hold the pictures, and published a selection in this book under the following headings:
St Albans: 18 views, mainly rural scenes in areas around St Albans now covered with buildings. For instance a view from The Cricketers shows an almost complete absence of buildings.
Events: 8 pictures, including the Michalmas Fair in St Peters Street, the Workhouse Treat, a one arm and one leg cricket match, and the Volunteers at the Rifle Butts in Beech Bottom.
Agriculture: 6 views.
Churches: 5 views, including the Abbey before restoration.
The River Ver: 3 views.
The District outside St Albans: 8 views
Cartoons: 4 cartoons
The book also includes an interesting account of Buckingham's life by David Dean.
There is a web page for St Albans