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John Chessel Buckler
Magdalen Hall, Oxford

The Painting
A watercolour measuring 7½” x 10½”. Provenance: Revd Desmond Morse-Boycott, author of Lead, Kindly Light: studies of the saints and heroes of the Oxford Movement (labels verso).

About the Artist
John Chessel Buckler (1793-1894) was born in Oxfordshire, eldest son of the architect and architectural draughtsman John Buckler FSA (1770-1851), who began his working life as clerk to the Steward of Magdalen College, Oxford. John Chessel succeeded to his father’s practice in 1826. His principal interests as an architect lay in the restoration of churches and other ancient buildings. He restored the belfry, spire, pinnacles and statuary of the tower of St Mary’s Church, Oxford; the exterior of Jesus College; and the tower gateways of Oriel and Brasenose Colleges. Magdalen College School was built to his design in 1850. He also inherited his father’s aptitude for drawing, and received lessons from Francis Nicholson (1753-1844) in addition to his architectural training in draughtsmanship. He exhibited in 1810-44, including at the Royal Academy (39), the Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street (2), and the Old Watercolour Society (15). He celebrated his 100th birthday on 8 December 1893 and died at Melbury, Cowley St John, Oxford, on 5 January 1894.

The Subject
Magdalen Hall, Oxford. The two well-proportioned classical blocks shown in this watercolour were designed in 1820-22 by William Garbett (c.1770-1834), for 25 years surveyor to the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. Located on Catte Street opposite the Bodleian Library, they were originally built for the principal and students of Magdalen Hall; this ceased to exist in 1874, when Hertford College was revived on the site. The buildings now form part of the west front of Hertford College. The low wall and lodge between the two blocks were demolished in 1887-8 to make way for the present Hall.

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