Frederic George Kitton

Photo:The Clock Tower by FG Kitton, 1900

The Clock Tower by FG Kitton, 1900

St Albans Museums (ref PH8640)

19th century illustrator and artist

By John Cox

Born and trained in Norwich, he became an illustrator on the staff the The Graphic (1874-1889). He moved to St. Albans in 1878 and began compiling books about Charles Dickens and the places the latter had used in his books, for which Kitton provided the illustrations. From St. Albans he travelled extensively and produced illustrations of many places in  Hertfordshire and neigbouring counties. He married in 1899 and when he died in 1904, there were, alas, no children.

Earlier in his life he undertook a journey with H.W.Winter, a cousin &  fellow-artist, from Norwich to London and on to Derby. They travelled as itinerant musicians and, where they played successfully in public houses and inns en-route, slept in beds but otherwise slept under the stars.

A local newspaper journalist informed the author of this item that Kitton contributed a weekly feature to the Hertfordshire Advertiser and St. Albans Times, but, while he did contribute a number of pictures of local hostelries and street scenes, they certainly were not as regular as the journalist was led to believe.

He was elected to the membership of the St. Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society and the St. Albans Art Society, at whose annual exhibitions he judged the paintings, prints and drawings. It is known that in 1889 he contributed to an exhibition in York but so far no details of the subject have emerged.

This page was added by John Cox on 09/04/2009.
Comments about this page

The commentary on this image in the Museum's collection says 'Kitton was a fine draughtsman, and showed this work in the Exhibition of Modern Illustration held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1900. He was also a leading local historian, and the drawing illustrated his article - the first on the history of the Clock Tower.'

By Janet Ouston
On 31/10/2009

Further information about this talented artist is going to be added and details the illustrations on subjects drawn in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, London, Surrey and Kent will added.

By John G.E. Cox
On 04/11/2009

You can see all the works by Kitton held by St Albans Museums on our website here: http://bit.ly/d3wOAs

By Amy Warner
On 23/06/2010

The illustration by F G Kitton shows a market stall in front of the Clock Tower. A story in the Herts Advertiser (6th February 2011) indicates a link between the pub and the market stall, although it is some 30 years after the date of Kitton’s illustration. The story related to the 80th birthday celebrations of Jean Sharpe who was born in the Fleur de Lys pub in 1931. At the time, her grandmother, Elizabeth Darbin, was the licensee and the story states that the Darbin family also “ran a vegetable stall outside the pub”. The deadpubs.co.uk website lists the Fleur de Lys licensees from 1798, although the website states that its origins date back as far as 1217. It looks as if Elizabeth Darbin, named Mrs Sarah Elizabeth Darbin on “deadpubs”, was the licensee from 1926 to 1933. Unfortunately, I missed the presentation on St Albans’ inns on 28th January, which no doubt made reference to this historic inn. This is the link to the Herts Ad story about Jean Sharpe’s return to her birthplace: http://www.hertsad.co.uk/news/birthday_back_home_at_st_albans_pub_1_793429

By Sue Mann
On 14/02/2011

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