The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Thomas Jeckyll, 1827-1881

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1827
Place of Birth: Wymondham, Norwich
Date of Death: 1881
Place of Death:


Thomas Jeckyll's father, George Jeckell, was a non-conformist clerk who had taken holy orders. His mother was Maria Ann Balduck. He was baptised on 20 June 1827. Later in life he changed his surname to 'Jeckyll.' His brother Henry was a Dudley brass founder.


Jeckyll was first recorded as an architect and surveyor in 1850 at Wymondham. By 1858 he was working in Norwich. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Shortly afterwards, he moved to London and met artists like Rossetti, Burne-Jones and JW. Much of Jeckyll's early work concerned the designing and restoring of Gothic churches, such as Sculthorpe church where there is also work by Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown. Jeckyll pioneered the use of Anglo-Japanese style furnishings. In 1859 he became closely associated with the Norwich firm Barnard, Bishop and Barnard, a situation which lasted until 1881. His work featured as part of their pavilion at the International Exhibition of 1862. He designed the company's cast- and wrought-iron pavilion for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

In the 1870s he designed a number of decorative schemes for patrons like Alexander Ionides at 1 Holland Park and Frederick Leyland at 49 Princes Gate. He designed the original scheme for Leyland's dining room that was reworked by JW into the Peacock Room. JW described him in 1877 as 'one of my intimate comrades' and professed admiration for his work (#02407).

His early death at fifty-four was brought about by a mental breakdown. He became ill in 1877 and died in Norwich Asylum in 1881.


Kelly's Directory of the Building Trades, London, 1870; Girouard, M., Sweetness and Light: The Queen Anne Movement 1860-1900, Oxford, 1977; In Pursuit of Beauty: America and the Aesthetic Movement, exhibition catalogue, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986; Berger, Charlotte, Thomas Jeckyll 1827-1881, 2 vols, BA thesis, Leeds University, 1994; Secondo, Joellen, 'Thomas Jeckyll', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 15 February 2002).