Christina Richard, author of Mr & Mrs Lockwood Kipling

Tisbury Author Launches New Book on the Parents of Rudyard Kipling

Christina Richard signed copies of her latest book “Mr & Mrs Lockwood Kipling: from the Punjab to Tisbury” (Hobnob Press) in the Hinton Hall on Saturday 16 October. John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911), a Yorkshire-born artist, teacher, and illustrator, met Alice MacDonald (1837-1910), a poet, while working in the Potteries. Their son was named after a favourite Staffordshire location, Rudyard Lake, and born in 1865 shortly after they had moved to India. John became Principal of the Jeejeebhoy School of Art in Mumbai and was engaged by the British Government to make an artistic record of cultural aspects of the country. Many of his drawings are archived in the Victoria & Albert Museum. In 1875 he took up the posts of Principal of the Mayo School of Arts and Curator of the Central Museum in Lahore.

John Lockwood Kipling and Rudyard Kipling, c.1890
John Lockwood Kipling and Rudyard Kipling, c.1890

In 1893 the Kiplings returned to England, and retirement in Tisbury with its convenient railway station. The father provided many of the illustrations for the son’s popular literary output, including the Jungle Books. He was also responsible for the Indian-themed decoration of the Durbar Room, an extension to Osborne House, the royal residence on the Isle of Wight.

Akela the Lone Wolf, frontispiece of the Two Jungle Books, 1895
Akela the Lone Wolf, frontispiece of the Two Jungle Books, 1895

The Kiplings moved in fairly exalted social and artistic circles. Through her four sisters Alice was aunt to future Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and sister-in-law to artists Edward Poynter and Edward Burne-Jones. She and her husband died within a couple of months of each other and are buried side by side in the churchyard of St John the Baptist, Tisbury. The proximity of their graves to her home is what first piqued the interest of Tina Richard and led to this fine book.

Kipling Graves in the churchyard of St John the Baptist Tisbury
Kipling Graves in the churchyard of St John the Baptist Tisbury

Tisbury sits squarely in the Cranborne Chase AONB which is currently offering a part-time opportunity for an Oral History Coordinator. Details below