Guernsey Stamps announces that the work of one of Guernsey’s best-known architects will be depicted across its latest stamp issue (release date 13 February 2019). Born 6 June 1781, John Wilson was a Clerk of Works for the Board of Ordnance who became one of the most celebrated architects in the island of Guernsey for the buildings he designed there between 1813 and 1831.
Bonamy House (94p) was designed for John Collings in 1817. The flight of semi-circular steps leading up to and the four Ionic half pillars flanking the front door and windows are attractive features.
With a basic plan in place for St James’ Church (46p), Wilson took over with the architectural features, the design of the tower and the internal fittings before it opened in 1818.
The Regency villa, Roseneath (85p), was built in c1820 at a cost of £2,400 for an English settler. The porch beneath the wrought iron balcony was a later addition.
The Meat Market (£1.54) depicts the date 1822 along with the inscription J. Wilson -Architecte, French being the official language at the time. Les Arcades (62p) adjoins the Meat Market to the right and Fountain Street beyond.
Castle Carey (£2.31) was constructed to a Wilson design in 1822 for John Carey and Matilda Priaulx in the Gothic-revival style. The top of the building is surrounded by a battlement to create the appearance of it being fortified.
Wilson drew up plans for St George (76p) for the Guille family, which was completed in 1823. He was keen on using render on his buildings but in this instance the dressed stone is apparent, complete with attractive semi-circular steps at the entrance.
Elizabeth College, depicted on the presentation pack cover, was opened in 1829 and dominates the St Peter Port skyline with St James and Castle Carey. The College’s gatehouse (63p) is battlemented above a double-centred pointed arch.
Wilson left Guernsey in 1831 and retired from UK government service in 1845. He moved to Southampton, where he lived in Cardew Villa in Shirley, Southampton. He died in 1866, the same year as his wife, Ann.
Bridget Yabsley, head of philatelic at Guernsey Post, said: – “Despite the recognition of Wilson’s work in Guernsey, he appears to have done little work outside the island and not a great deal is known about his life.
“We are especially grateful to Simon Coombe and Blue Ormer Publishing, whose book about Wilson inspired us to feature his work across our stamps.”