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Thomas Graham Jackson
Relevant Non-Istrians
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homas Graham (T.G.) Jackson (1835-1924), was born in London Dec. 21 1835, the first-born child of Hugh Jackson, a solicitor, and Elizabeth (or Eliza), daughter of Thomas Graham Arnold, a physician. He had two sisters, Emily and Annie.

architect, artist, educator, author and historian

born in London

Thomas Graham was educated at Brighton College and then Wadham College. After a brilliant career at Oxford as Scholar (1854), where he became a fellow of Wadham (1864), he vacated his Fellowship by marriage to Alice Mary, youngest daughter of William Lambarde of Beechmont, Kent, in 1880. He became an Honorary Fellow n 1882 and A.R.A. in 1892.

He entered the office of Sir George Gilbert Scott at the age of 23, and remained there for three years (1858-61), but his future work showed that he was not very deeply influenced by the somewhat narrowly Gothic method and predilection of Scott. He established his practice as an architect in 1862 and was still working at his death in 1924. This sixty-two year career included time as a writer; work as a designer of buildings, glasses, silverware, and furniture; an involvement in educational reform, historical research, and conservation work.

Much of his career was devoted to the architecture of education and he worked extensively for various schools, notably Giggleswick and his own alma mater Brighton College. He also worked on the college chapel at the University of Wales, Lampeter.To accommodate himself to the calls upon his sense of propriety in design, one who was later to be asked to add additional building work to many of the Oxford colleges - (Brasenose, Lincoln, Balliol and others, and especially the University Examination Schools) - needed that wide range of knowledge of the architecture of the late 16th and 17th centuries that is indicated in much of Jackson's work.

Bridge of Sighs, Hertford College, Oxford 2004-01-24; Copyright Kaihsu Tai.

Jackson is best remembered for his work at Oxford Univesity and various colleges, including the Bridge of Sighs over New College Lane, most of Hertford College, much of Brasenose College and the Examination Schools.

He also carried out many important university buildings for Cambridge, the Law library and school, the Archaeological museum, and the Physiological laboratories amongst them. Less bound there than at Oxford to the precedent of an existing design, his work, mostly of a late English Renaissance character, shows facility and invention. His new buildings and additions at so many great English schools - including Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Westminster - formed a very large proportion of his artistic output in the 'eighties and 'nineties. The interior of the chapel at Giggleswick school, Yorks., is an example of that treatment of colour - in marble and mosaic - upon which he relied so much as a complement to his architectural design. He was always keen on bringing together the various arts as tributary to, or allied with, architecture, and in support of this endeavour was a member, and in 1896 master, of the Art Workers' Guild.

Cambridge University - Downing Site

Sedgwick Museum of Geology

Downing Street Entrance

Jackson's name is also connected with a large number of new churches for which he was responsible, and of even more in the restoration of which he was concerned, including St. Mary's at Oxford. Though subjected at the time to much criticism as to the decorative features of the exterior, and especially the spire, Jackson's work still holds its own as dealing conscientiously and conservatively with the difficult and disputed problem of restoration. He carried out many new houses, and a large number of alterations and additions to others.

During his lifetime, T.G. Jackson had an almost unrivalled reputation as an architect of collegiate and school buldings – particularly Oxford colleges, public schools, chapels and churches. As an architectural theorist, he was a leader of the generation that rejected the Gothic Revival and sought to develop a new and modern style of building.and as a sensitive restorer of historic buildings and monuments.

The Temple of Vesta, Rome, 1880
Painting by T.G. Jackson, © Bridgeman Art Library / © Wimbledon Society Museum of Local History, London UK

T.G. Jackwas was a friend of William Morris, and was a pioneering member of the arts and crafts moment. A distinguished historian, he also restored dozens of houses and churches, and he ensured the survival of Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, Hampshire. Being one of the largest cathedrals in England, the earliest part of the present cathedral building is the crypt which dates from the early 12th century. The squat, square central tower was begun in 1202, and has an indisputably Norman look to it. Work continued on the cathedral during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and restoration work was carried out by T.G. Jackson during the years 1905–1912. The cathedral is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and is part of a former monastic settlement, originally founded in 642. The Benedictine foundation, the Priory of St Swithun, was dissolved in 1539.

Winchester Cathedral

Housed ijn the cathedral for centuries are boxes said to contain the remains of Saxon kings, and dating (allegedly) from before the founding of the cathedral. The cathedral also contains a shrine to Saint Swithun, a 9th century bishop, and the burial site of Alfred the Great. William II of England (son of William I, "the Conqueror") was buried in the cathedral on August 11, 1100, after he was killed in a hunting accident in nearby New Forest. Jane Austen, who died in the city, is buried in the cathedral's north aisle of the nave. The original 19th century marker gave reluctant praise for her writing ability. Much later a more descriptive marker about Austen's talent was placed on a nearby wall.

On a more trivial note, Winchester Cathedral is possibly the only cathedral to have had popular songs written about it. "Winchester Cathedral" was a UK top ten hit for The New Vaudeville Band in 1966. The cathedral was also the subject of the Crosby, Stills & Nash song, "Cathedral". In 2005 the building was used as a film-set for The Da Vinci Code.

Travels to Dalmatia, Quarnero and Istria

Jackson was not only a scholar, but also an antiquarian, a keen traveller, and a prolific writer of considerable standing. As an author he was responsible for several works, covering a wide area of his profession, and especially his many visits to the Near East and the Balkan States. Travelling extensively throughout Europe, Jackson recorded his experiences in notebooks, sketchbooks and diaries. Fascinated by the landscapes, monuments and works of art in a region that is now Croatia, he published a three-volume book Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria with Cettigne in Montenegro and the Island of Grado. Oxford, 1887.  Each volume contained 400+ pages. The third volume, having an index of twelve pages, includes the Quarnero Islands, Istria, Fiume, Trieste, and Aquileia.

The volumes contain the author’s drawings of churches, interiors and exteriors, column capitals, squares, and so on. He is attributed to having provided nearly all of what is known on the architecture of Ragusa, Dalmatia, Istria and the Adriatic coast. Of Zadar where he had spent time in 1884, he said "The first impression a stranger has of Zadar is that it is Italian. In due time I realised in traversing the narrow city streets that between Italy and Zadar there stretches the expanse of the Adriatic Sea."

Recognized as the authority on their traditional type of Romanesque building, the Dalmatians in Zadar sought Jackson's help to complete the construction of their Campanile. The cathedral of Zadar, Saint Anastasia, was built in the 12th century on the remains of an old Christian basilica, Saint Peter, while the bell tower was started in 1452.  Standing separate from teh Cathedral, the 56-meter bell tower has a ground floor and first level in Romanesque style, while the upper levels, built in 1892 by T.G. Jackson, follow the model of the cathedral of Rab.

In his biography of Jackson, William Whyte wrote:  

St. Anastasia, the cathedral of Zadar (Zara) with Jackson's bell tower.
Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria was perhaps Jackson's most successful book. Published in 1887, it was widely reviewed and very well received. It remains a standard work on the subject. For although there were a number of guidebooks and general descriptions of the area, as late as 1881 E.A. Freeman complained that 'the best guide to those parts is still the account written by the Emperor Constantine Porphyroggenitus more than nine hundred years ago'. Jackson's work transformed the scholarly treatment of the region, yet as in his most polemical work, he was writing within a recognizable tradition. In particular, he approached the subject as a follower of both Ruskin and Viollet-le-Duc. From the former, Jackson took a love of Venice and its architecture. The contrast between Gardner Wilkinson's pre-Ruskinian horror at the "Venetian subjugation' of Dalmatia' and Jackson's celebration of Venice's 'greatness' could not be more start. Viollet-le-Duc offered something rather different. For him, the motive of any modern architecture was lay and city-based. Graham Jackson found proof of this in Dalmatian art, which was, he argue, 'entirely urban'. Condemning the 'semi-barbarism' of the rural Slavs, he ignored their culture almost entirely. The book's perspective was personal - and the result both original and influential.

It is in his approach to the city of Zadar, which Jackson knew as Zara, that his intellection preoccupations are more clearly shown. Zadar was the capital of Dlalmatia, but it was far from typical of the province as a whole. It was the last Italian-speaking city in the region, a 'small Venice' which was 'never really Dalmatian, or rather Slavic'. Jackson, unsurprisingly, loved it and devoted two chapters to describing its treasures. More than this, he was commission to build within the city. Threatened by the approaching tide of panslavism, the civic authorities experienced a belated burst of resolving to complete their half-finished cathedral tower. Initially he began with an exuberant essay in Italianate architecture. Then, under the influence of the Austrian government, he was gradually persuaded to adopt a more archaeological approach. But throughout, Jackson's plans for the building revealed his sympathy for the Venetian variants of Dalmatian design. And the tower itself became a powerful symbol of the loyalty to Italy which would keep Zadar within the Italian orbit until 1945. (1)

In 2003, the public was first able to see the original watercolours and drawings which T.G.Jackson used for illustrating the three-volume book and to admire his artistic talents at an exhibition was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in London. It was announced with an extensively illustrated article about Croatian culture in the special 20th anniversary edition of the Royal Academy of Arts Magazine, considered to be the most popular art magazine in Europe.

Ghost Stories

Back home in England, Jackson's wide-ranging interests were to stand him in good stead when, in his eighties, he wrote a single collection of six ghost stories for the amusement of his family and friends.

These tales were collected together in book form in 1919 and published as Six Ghost Stories by John Murray in London. With one exception, none of the stories were reprinted until 1999 in a limited edition by Ash-tree Press in Ashcroft, British Columbia. They range in setting from eighteenth century London to twentieth century Italy, and include ghosts both malevolent and benevolent. 'The Lady of Rosemount' and 'The Eve of St John' tell of ghosts from the past intruding on the present, while 'The Ring' concerns an ancient curse visited on an over-inquisitive visitor to Italy. In 'Pepina' and 'The Red House', restless spirits return to haunt those responsible for their deaths; and in 'A Romance of the Piccadilly Tube' Jackson has created one of the first ghost stories ever set in the London Underground.

In his extensive Introduction, Richard Dalby provides an account of the life and acheivements of the unique personality behind Six Ghost Stories; and Jackson's scholarly tales of ghosts and hauntings are sure to please lovers of the classic supernatural story.

Jackson received many honors in his lifetime. In 1910 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awarded him their gold medal. He was elected A.R.A. in 1892, and R.A. in 1896, became hon. D.C.L. of Oxford, and hon. LL.D. of Cambridge, and was created a baronet in 1913 of Eagle House in Wimbledon in the County of Surrey. A stone memorial tablet to Sir Thomas was erected in the chapel of Brighton College, part of which he built as a First World War memorial in 1922–23. For that school's chapel he had also designed many memorials during the 1880s and 1890s. The other concentrated group of mural tablets by Jackson is to be found in the antechapel of Wadham College, Oxford.

The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences (pictured above), marked its centenary year with an exhibition of watercolour sketches by the Sir Thomas Graham Jackson who had been the Museum's architect. Through a partnership with Unicorn Press in London, they published in 2003 a revised and expanded edition of his memoirs - Recollections of Sir Thomas Graham Jackson: The Life and Travels of a Victorian Architect - which was first published in 1950 as Recollections, 1835-1924 by the Oxford University Press.  Distributed in the U.S.A. by Antique Collectors' Club, Wappingers Falls, it is a hardback book having 362 pages with 135 illustrations. (34 in color), and a dimension of 25 x 16 cm. This edition is edited by Sir Nicholas Jackson, the architect's grandson, and features a comprehensive gazetteer (directory) of Sir T.G. Jackson's work. Hardback, full colour jacket. 224 pages with over 60 black-and-white drawings and photographs. 8 pages of colour illustrations.

Drawing on a considerable body of Jackson’s own memoirs – his “recollections” – this title covers both his life and successful career from his education, his early training as a painter, his apprenticeship in architecture with Gilbert Scott, through his first commissions in the early 1860s and Fellowship at Wadham College. His later travels in Dalmatia in the 1880s, his work at Westminster, Winchester, Uppingham and Rugby in the 1890s and his receipt of the RIBA Gold Medal in 1910, honorary degree at Oxford and baronetcy in 1910, form the culmination of a remarkable career. The book is described as an invaluable insight into the life of a contemporary and friend of William Morris, Norman Shaw, John Everett Millais, Frederick, Lord Leighton, William Holman Hunt, Edward Burne-Jones and John Singer Sargent, among others.

On August 31, 2006 Oxford University Press published the first biography of T.G. Jackson entitled Oxford Jackson Architecture, Education, Status, and Style 1835-1924 by William Whyte (ISBN-13: 978-0-19-929658). Consisting of 288 pages and drawing on extensive archival work, and illustrated with a hundred images, it is described as being the first in-depth analysis ever written of Jackson's career. It sheds light on a little-known architect and reveals that his buildings, his books, and his work as an arts and craftsman were not just important in their own right, they were also part of a wider social change. Jackson was the architect of choice for a particular group of people, for the 'intellectual aristocracy' of late Victorian England. His buildings were a means by which they could articulate their identity and demonstrate their distinctiveness. They reformed the universities and the schools while he refashioned their image.


  1. William Whyte. Oxford Jackson: Architecture, Education, Status, and Style 1835-1924, Oxford University Press (2006), p. 40-42.

Partial list of works (some are still available or in reprint):

  • 1885 - Ragusa. Il palazzo rettoralle; il duomo; il reliquiario del teschio de S. Biagio;;
  • and their seats in Somerset and Devon, Clarendon Press, 228 pages;
  • 1887 - Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, 3 volumes. Clarendon Press (Oxford, 1887, 1896); Softcover, Kessinger Pub (2007), ISBN 1432662996 (1-4326-6299-6) [Note: this work was used as a major source of information about Istria in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica] - Vol. 3 (under construction);
  • 1893 - contributor to Arts and Crafts Essays -
  • 1893 - Wadham College, Oxford, its foundation, architecture and history, with an account of the family of Wadham;
  • 1897 - The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford;
  • 1898 - The Libraries of the Middle Ages (with discussion);
  • 1906 - Reason in Architecture: Lectures Delivered at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Year 1906;
  • 1909 - "Notes on the Architecture of the Eastern Coast of the Adriatic," in The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 14, No. 72 (Mar., 1909), pp. 343-345.]
  • 1913 - Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture. Hardcover, Cambridge University Press. 2-vol.: ill. (some col.), 165 pl, plan; 25 cm.; 1920; Hardcover, Hacker Art Books (Jun 1975), ISBN 0878170731 (0-87817-073-1); Softcover, Kessinger Pub ISBN 0548769796 / 9780548769799 / 0-548-76979-6
  • 1915 - Gothic Architecture in France, England and Italy. Reissued as hardcover by New York Hacker Art Books (Dec 1975), and softcover by Kessinger Pub ISBN0878171061 / 9780878171064 / 0-87817-106-1. Volume One, xxii + 291 pages including 102 Figures (many full page), plus LXXX [80] black-and-white Plates; Volume Two, 339 pages including 127 Figures (numbered 103-229), plus 111 Plates (numbered LXXXI-CXCI);
  • 1917 - A Holiday in Umbria: With an Account of Urbino and the Cortegiano of Castiglione. John Murray (London), 206 pages, hardcover. First edition in blue cloth with black decorative touches and titles, colour frontispiece (watercolour of Ancona by Jackson), 15 b/w plates (drawings and photographs), 11 figures index. "This book is the result of two visits, in 1881 and 1888, made in happier days to a part of Italy little known to travelling Britons, but not inferior to any in historical associations and in beauty of nature and art. The architecture of the Middle Ages is represented by the churches of Ancona, Gubbio, and others, and the earlier and most interesting period of the Renaissance by Alberti's work at Rimini, and the ducal palaces of Urbino, Pesaro, and Gubbio. A few of the illustrations are from photographs; the rest are from author's own sketches."
  • 1919 - Six Ghost Stories, John Murray (London). First edition issue of 500 copies, republished with an introduction by Richard Dalby by Ash Tree Press (Ashcroft, British Columbia, January 1999), Hardcover ISBN 1899562680 / 9781899562688 / 1-899562-68-0. Penned for the amusement of family and friends, these tales were collected in 1919 and, with one exception, have never been reprinted. In one selection, Jackson was among the first to haunt the London Underground.  ("The Lady of Rosemount", "The Ring", "A Romance of the Picadilly Tube", "The Eve of St John", "Pepina", "The Red House".);
  • 1920 - Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture
  • 1922 - The Renaissance of Roman Architecture, 3-vol. (Part 1: Italy / Part II: England / Part III: ?)London Cambridge at the University Press 1922. Part 2: England, is the study of the influence of Roman architecture on English buildings. With 121 pages of b&w photos and plans.
  • 1923 (?) - Renaissance of Roman Architecture. Hardcover (Jun 1971); Hacker Art Books (January 1975) ISBN 087817091X / 9780878170913 / 0-87817-091-X;
  • 1923 - Memories of Travel, The University Press (Cambridge), 23x17cm, cream spine cloth gilt, grey boards, viii + 172pp, col frontispiece, b&w line drawings (plates and engravings), Travel account; author visited Dauphiné, Marriore & Borromean Islands, Venice & the Euganean Hills, Assisi, the Dolomites, Dalmatia, Herzegovina & Bosnia, Salonica & Constantinople;
  • 1925 - Architecture, From Greece to the Renaissance. Macmillan and Co Limited (London, 1925). Hard Cover. 366 pages, illustrated with 110 plates. 1st Edition, First printing with errata slip. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall.1873 - Modern Gothic Architecture;
  • 1950 - Recollections of Sir Thomas Graham Jackson: The Life and Travels of a Victorian Architect, Bt. R.A. Arranged and Edited by Basil H. Jackson; introduction and Gazetteer of the works written and compiled by Dr. James Bentley, First edition. 8 vo., original green cloth, dust jacket. London, Oxford University Press; Unicorn Press (2003), ISBN 0 906290 72 4, Size: 6 x 9 1/4 in., 224 pp 12 col. and 60 B&W illustrations (Hardbound); also published by Third Millenium Publications (hardcover);
  • 1983 - ll Genio italico della Dalmazia, Associazione nazionale dalmata, Nagard (Roma, 1983).

Articles and reviews:

Sources and other links:

  • Biography -
  • Top photograph (T.G. Jackson in his early 60s) - from William Whyte's Oxford Jackson: Architecture, Education, Status, and Style 1835-1924, Oxford University Press (2006), p. 1.
  • National Portrait Gallery (bottom photograph by Walter Stoneman, for James Russell & Sons, bromide print, circa 1916) -
  • Text and image -
  • Book list - various sites, including
  • Horror Masters Collections -
  • Text -
  • Text -
  • Image -
  • Image -
  • Images -
  • Oxford University Press -
  • Bridge of Sighs -
  • Zara -
  • Winchester Cathedral -

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Created: Sunday, September 17, 2006; Last Updated: Friday, March 11, 2016
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