Thomas Jeckyll Biography

Thomas Jeckyll: A Pioneering Architect of the Aesthetic Movement

Thomas Jeckyll, born into a family of furniture makers in Norwich, Norfolk, began his career as a Gothic Revival architect. His creative journey in this concrete jungle involved designing rectories, schools, and restoring churches and historic houses, contributing significantly to the agricultural industry. He experimented with Old English, Anglo-Japanese, and Queen Anne design idioms, evident in his local Gothic Revival Chapel in Holt, Norfolk (1862-3).

Early Career and Diverse Influences

Jeckyll's career took a definitive turn in 1859 when he began an eighteen-year collaboration with Norwich iron founders Barnard, Bishop and Barnard. This association nurtured his affinity for Chinese and Japanese styles, as seen in his bedroom suite designs and the Japanese style fire grates for the London International Exhibition of 1862 and the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876.

Jeckyll's Signature Designs and Commissions

The 'Key' design, a hallmark of Jeckyll's work, appeared in many of his creations, including the cast iron grates and fenders made by Barnard, Bishop and Barnards, and furniture designed for 'Alecco' Ionides. His Billiards room at 49 Princes Gate in London displayed the 'Key' design in walnut shelving and sideboards.

Queen Anne Style and Architecture

Jeckyll's Queen Anne style, tied to the Arts and Crafts Movement, incorporated elements like finer brickwork and asymmetrical fronts, as demonstrated in his Cambridge town house 'Rance’s Folly' (1871).

Jeckyll's Legacy in Furniture and Architecture

Jeckyll's works, including Japanese style lacquered door panels and intricate brass brackets, are unique examples of his Anglo-Japanese style. His furniture, like the walnut dressing table designed for 'Alecco' Ionides, showcased his mastery in design. His architectural practice involved designing gates, railings, and metal fittings for domestic and ecclesiastical commissions.

Conclusion: Jeckyll's Impact on Aesthetic Movement

Jeckyll's furniture, limited to exclusive, one-off pieces, was never intended for batch production, highlighting his commitment to unique design. His genius lay in the innovative detailing and eclectic styles, marking him as a significant figure in the Aesthetic Movement.

Researched and written by Tony Geering & Kristy Campbell.

Shop Thomas Jeckyll on Puritan Values