I have been swotting up on the life of Graham Jackson who was responsible for the design of the front entrance hall in Burlington House.
The child of high minded, evangelical parents, he was educated at Brighton College and Wadham, where he got a third in Greats, but a first in Natural Sciences. He then trained as an architect in the office of Giles Gilbert Scott, the prolific Victorian architect and restorer, who encouraged him ‘to bring your Pre-Raffaelitism into architecture’ and then instructed him in the fierce tenets of the Gothic Revival. Jackson set up in independent practice in 1862 and was elected to a prize fellowship at Wadham in 1864, which allowed him a long gestation as an architect before winning the competition to design the New Examination Schools on the High Street in Oxford, a large and rather gloomy building next door to University College, but with very good and serious English Renaissance detailing. He probably won the competition as a graduate of the university and Fellow of Wadham, friend of the reforming faction in the university, and went on to do an immense amount of other work for the colleges, including The New Building and President’s Lodging at Trinity, New Buildings for Corpus, also in Neo-Renaissance style, The Grove Building for Lincoln, most of Hertford, including its chapel, and the façade of Brasenose, next to the University Church, which he was controversially also responsible for repairing. He was not only a prolific architect, but also wrote widely about historic architecture, beginning with the publication of Modern Gothic Architecture in 1873, which signalled his rejection of the Gothic Revival and embrace of what he called a ‘judicious eclecticism’. More unexpectedly, he wrote ghost stories in the style of M.R. James.
Elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in January 1892, a full RA in November 1896, and Treasurer in 1901, in 1899 Jackson embarked on ambitious plans for the refurbishment of the the Academy’s front entrance hall, including laying a new marble floor to replace the old red and black encaustic floor put down in 1868 by Sydney Smirke. The minutes of Council record how ‘It was Resolved that the Entrance Hall should be repaved with black & white marble slabs after the pattern of the old pavement of Burlington House as seen in the Keeper’s House, & the Treasurer was requested to procure estimates for the same’. The proposal was subsequently approved by General Assembly and in the Annual Report for 1899, it was recorded that ‘Another great improvement which has been successfully carried out is the alteration and decoration of the Entrance Hall’. The total cost was £2,586 19s. 3d.
This is the new security box:-
And this is Jackson’s design for a letter box:-