‘South West View of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury’ is an aquatint print after a design by artist and architect John Buckler. It was published by the artist in 1813 and depicts the impressive west front of Salisbury Cathedral before the majority of the statues which now occupy the decorative niches were installed in the mid-19th century. The west front is composed of two turrets, surmounted by spirelets. Between them, the central section is topped by a gable and contains four lancet windows with two large niched buttresses either side.
Two original drawings of Salisbury Cathedral by Buckler, commissioned by John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury (1807-25), were sold by Fisher’s great granddaughter through Christie’s, London, in 1953. The sale also included views of the cathedral formerly owned by Fisher, painted by watercolourist and architectural draughtsman Frederick Nash. The Bishop was evidently a collector of artist’s impressions of the cathedral as he commissioned John Constable’s painting of ‘Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds’ in 1823.
John Buckler was born on the Isle of Wight. In 1785 he became a steward of Magdalen College, Oxford. For seven years he was also apprenticed to architect and surveyor Charles Thomas Cracklow. In about 1801 he became Bailiff and Collector of Rents for Magdalen College in Freemason’s Court and Southwark. His post with Magdalen allowed him spare time, which he spent working on his own architectural perspective drawings. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1796 to 1849. In 1799, Buckler published an engraving of one of his drawings of Lincoln Cathedral. For the next five years he made a series of views of English cathedrals and churches. By the end of his career, he had produced some 13,000 architectural perspective drawings.
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