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About the collection
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Portrait of William SaltThe Staffordshire Views are a unique series of images of watercolours, drawings, sketches, engravings and lithographs commissioned and collected by William Salt, a London banker whose family came from Staffordshire. The views include churches, public buildings, country houses and landscape from all over Staffordshire. Many date from the 1830s and 1840s when Salt commissioned many of the drawings, but there are also earlier engravings and drawings collected by Salt. They form part of the core collection of the William Salt Library, Stafford. In all there are some 3,200 views.

Salt used a number of artists but had some favourites, such as Thomas Peploe Wood and John Buckler.

T.P. Wood was a local artist, born at Little Haywood in Staffordshire in 1817. He died in 1845 at a relatively young age. He was however a prolific artist, travelling on foot around the county to carry out his work. The quality of his work is superb. His biographer C.S. Meacham referred to his style as: “combining in his realistic and masterly cattle painting, exquisite English landscape and glorious composition, a manner and style that have never been approached by any English painter”.

Staffordshire Views image collageJohn Buckler (1770-1851) was born in the Isle of Wight. Originally an architect, he became well known as a topographical artist. Salt commissioned him to survey the buildings of Staffordshire through his drawings. He did this very systematically to the extent of sometimes producing up to four or five drawings of one church.

John Buckler’s two sons, John Chessall Buckler and George Buckler, also produced drawings for William Salt and there is much similarity between the work of all three Bucklers. John Chessall, like his father, was particularly interested in architecture and the restoration of buildings. Many of his watercolours were exhibited at the Royal Academy.

The collection also contains views by a number of other artists, some commissioned by Salt but others collected by him. One of the most prolific of these artists was Stebbing Shaw, the Staffordshire antiquary (1762-1802) There are 106 Shaw drawings. The drawings are not particularly good but some of them have been redeemed by his engravers, notably T Donaldson, who considerably improved the quality of Shaw’s drawing, without changing the content.

The 50 coloured views in the collection by Lewis John Wood (died 1901) are of excellent quality. These are principally of churches in the north of the county and there are 51 in total. Many are unsigned and undated but can be attributed to Wood and date mainly from the years, 1835-40. Among these is a view of the old church at Cheadle, which was replaced in 1837. Wood first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1831 and was to continue to exhibit throughout a long life.

The work of two drawing masters at Wolverhampton Grammar school, Richard Paddey (died 1821) and Robert Noyes, is also represented. Paddey’s work dates from the end of the 18th century. Noyes was particularly well known as a local artist in Wolverhampton and many of his views are of the town itself and villages in South Staffordshire. One of the most striking is his view of Wolverhampton Racecourse in 1825-26.

There are many examples of the drawings by members of the Fernyhough family, whom Salt employed as transcribers and copiers as well as artists. The largest number of drawings by any one member of the family is about 70 views by John Robert Fernyhough, (born 1808), mainly watercolours with pen and ink outlines, dating from about 1835-36.

The brothers, Henry Curzon Allport (1788-1855) and John Allport (1799-1854) of Aldridge, together with their half sister, Sarah Clifford Allport, contributed about 70 drawings, mainly landscape views, around Lichfield, Tamworth and Burton.

Other artists represented in the collection include: S Bentley, who produced some views of castles in 1777; W Carter, whose work was completed probably in the first two decades of the 19th century and some of which is engraved; and AE Everitt, a Birmingham artist, whose work concentrates on Lichfield and the south-east of the county.

Salt also collected earlier prints and engravings. These include the 26 views of major houses and buildings in Staffordshire, drawn and engraved by M Burghers, a Dutch artist, for Robert Plot’s Natural History of Staffordshire, 1686. There are also some views by S & N Buck, dating from the 1730s.

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