Book published by the Society
Historic Views of Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire, its buildings and landscape, has been a subject of study for many years and our own dear 160 year old BAS have published several useful books on this subject, of which this is the latest. Fittingly the book is dedicated to the late Elliott Viney, FSA, who gave so much of his life to the preservation of the county and who was involved with the running of the Society for much of the last half of the twentieth century. Within the soft A4 cover are fifty images of buildings, structures and events in the county. All are taken from the collection of the Society, even though some have now passed into the care of the Museum. Those of us used to ferreting about in the Local Studies collection, the Society's library, or indeed the excellent BCC photographs website, may have come across some of the illustrations herein, but, isn't it good to have them all readily available in the one volume? All remain accessible by appointment. Each illustration is given its current name, original title, accompanying details of artist, publisher and date (if given), as well as its original size and the technique used in its production. The compliers point out that they have chosen sites that are perhaps less well-known than those illustrated elsewhere, and to give an idea of the range of styles used in illustrating the county over a period from the seventeenth to early-twentieth century. Indeed they range from quite primitive hand-coloured engravings to watercolours, and from cheery magazine illustrations to sophisticated drawing room plates. The compilers of the collection have obviously spent a considerable effort in visiting the various sites so that we also get a brief commentary on the history of the site illustrated and its current condition. It is surprising how many of the sites are still recognisable, given the continuing threat of development throughout the county, and of course disappointing to see those that are now lost.
The pictures are arranged more or less from the north to south of the county, though one feels a rather haphazard route was taken. Whilst some thirty-two feature aspects of the country houses that stretch across the county, there are also working buildings, townscapes, churches, a ruined abbey and even a railway bridge (at Pitstone). Here you will find one aberration, though a personal favourite of mine, in plate 22 'Aylesbury from the south-east', in fact the Birmingham Mail Coach stuck in snow in 1836, a wretched way to spend Boxing Day, but the mail still got through, even if 24 hours late.
At first glance the country house parks and gardens illustrated tend towards the landscape style, but as one gets further south and among those along the Thames and A4 & A40 corridors, a greater range of periods and styles come to the fore. Kenricks, Hambleden, of 1752, hasa topiary arcade comparable to those at Nebot's Hartwell and at Winchendon. The grand enclosed forecourt of Cliveden, in 1753, echoes that at Tythrop of seventy years earlier. Dropmore shows a face we still hope to see again, whereas Ditton Park, Slough, has already regained its appearance as J Gendall depicts it. Finally I would like to mention Domey and Upton Parks both of which have reverted to earlier aspects. Although allowances must be made for artistic licence, and in some cases considerably so, it is in the small detail of some of the pictures that much study is repaid. I should also point out that the brief texts appear excellent as pointers to further exploration.
A second copy of the book could usefully be broken up to produce your own print collection. The work is completed with a three-page bibliography, which makes a very helpful Bucks reading list.
Aylesbury from the south . Aylesbury from the south-east. Aylesbury Street, Fenny Stratford . Boarstall Tower . Buckingham Chantry Chapel . Bulstrode Park, Gerrards Cross. Chalfont Park House, Chalfont St Peter. Chequers, Church Street, Burnham. Cliveden. Creslow Manor . Danesfield Hotel, Medmenham. Ditton Park, Slough. Dorney Court. Dorton House. Dropmore,.Taplow. Gayhurst. Grace's Cottage, Stoke Mandeville . Gregories, Beaconsfield. Hartwell House. Hedsor House. High Wycombe from the south. Horsenden Manor, Longwick. Hughenden Manor. Kenricks, Hambleden. Langley Park, Wexham. Market Square, Aylesbury. Marlow from the south. Notley Abbey. Long Crendon. Place House, Horton. Quarrendon Chapel, Aylesbury. Ritchings Park, Iver. Salden, Mursley St John's Hospital, Stone. The Railway Bridge at Pitstone. The Thames at Harleyford. Tythrop House, Kingsey. Upton Court, Slough. West Wycombe Park. Whaddon Hall. Wilton Park, Beaconsfield. Buckingham. Chicheley Hall. Lillingstone Dayrell Manor House. Newport Pagnell Mill. Stony Stratford. Stowe Gardens . The Canal at Wolverton. Tyringham The Canal at Marsworth