James Buckingham Philp

Frederick Proeschel, Pocket map of the roads to all the mines in Victoria 1853. Lithographed by James Buckingham Philp. © National Library of Australia.

PHILP, James Buckingham (1830-1897) — Melbourne, New York & Washington

Lithographer, photo-lithographer, and artist. Produced Frederick Proeschel, Pocket map of the roads to all the mines in Victoria 1853; Map of the roads to all gold mines in Victoria 1853 – a pirated copy of the previous map; Map of Melbourne 1853, for Bonwick & Walsh; Village of Frankston at Kananook Creek 1854, and numerous other maps for the Surveyor General’s Office, e.g. Electoral district of Warrnambool 1855; Henry Morres, Suburban and country lots parish of Faraday 1855; Joseph W. Witty, Plan of the Agricultural Reserve Tarrawingee 1855; R. W. Larritt, Building allotments at Kangaroo Flat 1855; A. M. Ross, Township of Lyons on the Spring Creek 1855; Thomas Couchman, Country lots on the Limestone Creek, parish of Yandoit 1856; Electoral district of Belfast 1856; The township of Sandridge 1856; similar maps for the Public Lands Office, e.g. The township of Barnawartha 1857; C. C. Horrel, East Melbourne 1858; further maps for the Office of Lands and Survey, e.g. G. A. Woods, Australia east coast 1862; Landsborough’s route from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Worrego River 1862; C. G. Foljambe, Plan of the road from Te Awamutu to Mangahuka Creek 1864; Township of Grant, etc. Drew Nicaragua Ship Canal, Brito Harbor : showing the proposed breakwater and entrance to the canal 1873; The principal trunk railroads in the United States 1876 1877, for the U. S. Department of the Treasury; drew and co-published with John P. Anderson, The Potomac River from Great Falls to Point Lookout 1878 — the map lithographed by Curtis Burr Graham; The principal transportation lines west of Chicago, St. Louis & New Orleans, 1878 1879, for the U. S. Department of the Treasury. Also known for topographical views, music-covers, etc., including one executed in London in 1852 for “The Festive Quadrilles” composed by Mrs Franklin Philp, his sister-in-law.

Born in England at Falmouth, Cornwall, 25 Oct 1830, the son of James Philp (1800-1887), a commercial traveller in the stationery trade, and his wife Jane Gluyas (1796-1879), who had married at Falmouth in 1824. He was named for his uncle, James Silk Buckingham (1786-1855), the well-known author, journalist and traveller, and cousin to the painter James George Philp (1816-1885). Philp trained as a lithographer in London from 1846 and was recorded there as a lithographic artist, resident with his mother, an elder brother Franklin Philp (1826?-1887) who was a stationer, etc., in 1851. He was briefly in partnership with his brother, co-publishing Thomas Dalby Iago, “Rope-making made easy, for the abatement of shipwrecks” in 1852. He then emigrated to Australia, arriving on the Arrogant, and was firmly established in Melbourne by April 1853, attending a meeting to propose a new Fine Arts Society in April (The Argus, 26 Apr 1853) and having opened a stationery business by October of that year (The Argus, 29 Oct 1853). His piracy of Frederick Prosechel’s gold mines map was much resented by Proeschel, who complained vigorously, but the lack of Australian copyright legislation at that time precluded legal action (see www.copyrightcartography.org). In November 1853, Philp inserted a statement in the Argus, picked up on by the English press, notifying “his friends in London and elsewhere that he is alive and kicking and doing well”. By August 1854, he was evidently employed at the Surveyor General’s Office. He married (1) Anna Maria Rashleigh (1833-1867), also from Falmouth, at St. Peter’s Melbourne 4 Dec 1854. Newspaper reports of 1856-1865 testify to his enjoyment of and success at amateur theatricals. He was serving as Hon. Sec. of the Association of Lithographers and Engravers by 1858, and of the Melbourne Garrick Club 1858-1864. He is mentioned as a lithographer or photo-lithographer on a number of occasions in Victoria Parliamentary Papers 1858-1865 and was evidently engaged in official work until the end of that period. He testified at a forgery trial, along with Thomas Ham, in August 1858, referred to at that time as an “engraver in the Crown Lands Department” (The Age, 16 Aug 1858). In 1862 he was the leading figure in the establishment of the Civil Service Cricket Club and soon its Secretary. It caused something of a furore in the press when Philp fled the country under an assumed name in August 1865, fearing the imminent discovery of various frauds on the St. Kilda Penny Savings Bank, of which he was also Secretary. Further frauds on the other institutions in which he was involved soon came to light, although there was general sympathy for the wife and five young children he left behind. His effects, including “500 volumes of valuable books” (The Argus, 18 Aug 1865), were immediately auctioned off.  He was thought to have returned to England, but is next heard of in New York, where his wife and family were eventually able to join him. His wife died in Brooklyn 30 Dec 1867 and he subsequently married (2) Sarah Butler (1843-1913), with whom he had further children, on 8 Mar 1869. He was working as a lithographer in Brooklyn in 1870 – at that time resident with his new American wife and four of the children born in Australia. By 1880 the family had moved to Washington, D.C., where Philp was now employed as a draughtsman. He died in Washington 16 Feb 1897 and was buried there 19 Feb 1897 – his age precisely stated as “66y 3m 22d”.

27 Canonbury Villas, Islington, London — 1851
2 Copthall Buildings, Throgmorton Street, London — 1852
2 Ebden Cottages, Great Collins Street, Melbourne — 1853
8 Right-of-Way, 135 Little Bourke Street West, Melbourne — 1853
123 Little Collins Street East, two doors above Russell Street, Melbourne — 1853
Camden Cottage, Collingwood — 1857
2 Elmbank Terrace, Victoria Parade, Melbourne — 1859
Hoddle Street, East Melbourne — 1862

BNA. Census 1851, 1870, 1880. COPAC. DAAO. NLA. Tooley. Trove.