Josephine Butler to Mrs George Butler (her mother in law)

Archive Unit
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 3JBL/02/39a
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 5202
  • Dates of Creation
      11 Jan 1869
  • Physical Description
      1 item

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from London. The day before the three boys with their father had spent the day at the 'Kensington Museum' [at that date housing both Science and Art exhibits] and the boys showed they had profited from their father's lectures on Art given at the College. Spencer Percival Butler (brother of the Rev. George) and his wife Mary Kendall, came to dinner. That morning they had been to Westminster Abbey and heard the Dean (Arthur Stanley) preach. The evening before Macmillan had called to discuss the publication of a book [this was 'Woman's Work and woman's culture', a series of essays by JB]. 'Frank' [Francis Galton, their host, and brother in law of George B.] had tried to teach her how to drive a hard bargain with a publisher, but she failed him. She has had a ride of her own 'Black Prince' [she had sold him to stables in London a short time before, and was able to hire him for a ride in the Park].

Administrative / Biographical History


'Kensington Museum and Frank Buckland's fish hatching'

'a rehearsal of my interview with Macmillan'

This would have been about the publishing of 'Woman's work and woman's culture', a collection of essays ed by JB with an introduction by her. It was published by Macmillan in 1869. It is still extensively used by students and others interested in the subject. (For further details about this book see letter of Jun 30 1869 JB to Mme Troubnikoff)

'Kensington Museum' 'and Frank Buckland's fish hatching' - This museum (later rebuilt and opened in 1909 with the official title of the Victoria & Albert Museum) originated in the Museum of Ornamental Art, established at Marlborough House in 1852 and transferred to a temporary iron building at South Kensington in 1857. The original aim of the founders was to develop and improve decorative design in British manufacturers, by providing models and samples of applied art, ancient and modern, for study by craftsmen and others. Gifts, bequests and government grants rapidly extended the museum. These older portions of the Museum, designed mainly by Capt Fowke R E between 1860 and 1884, were incorporated in the new building (London and its environs ed by Findlay Muirhead 1927 p.408). Frank Buckland was the 1st scientist to take up pisciculture seriously. 'In order to interest people in his favourite subject he established about 1865 at the South Kensington Museum a large collection of fish hatching apparatus, models of fish etc. This exhibition, to which Buckland was constantly adding, was the first successful effort to direct the attention of the nation towards pisciculture' (DNB)

'because of his [George's] lectures in the College in which they were required to pass a kind of examination about art and artists' - JB in her 'Recollections of George Butler' 1892 tells us that her husband was the first 'who introduced and encouraged the study of art in Oxford in a practical sense. In the winter of 1852-3 he obtained the permission of the Vice-Chancellor and Curators to give a course of lectures in Art in the Taylor building' (p.81)

'my own Black Prince' - JB owned this horse in 1868 and often mentioned it in her letters to Albert Rutson of that year. Then she sold it but was able to have a ride on him - the Park when staying in London in Jan 1869

In Jun 1869 when writing to her mother in law she mentions that she saved up the money she got for her horse to help with the expenses of the family trip to Switzerland

'Emily' - one of the 3 daughters who lived with their mother Mrs Sarah Maria Butler. The others were Gertrude and Ellen

'Mary and Spencer' - This was Spencer Percival Butler (1828-1915) brother of Rev George, barrister and holder of several public appointments, and his wife Mary Kendall (1846-1927)

'Frank' - was Francis Galton, famous for his researches into laws of heredity. He was a brother in law of George Butler whose sister Louisa Jane he married

The Butlers often put up at their house which was at 42 Rutland Gate. In 1869 it was at Gloucester Terrace

Biog: Mrs Sarah Maria Butler (widow of George Butler (1774-1853); Spencer and Mary Butler; Arthur Butler; Francis Buckland