One of the leading ‘society’ couturiers in London during the 1920s was Buckmaster who created stylish and elegant ensembles for leading members of London’s high society.
Buckmaster was based at 47 Sloane Street and had the royal ‘by appointment’ seal, but nothing can be located about who owned and ran the business.
I was alerted to Buckmaster by finding two illustrated pieces from Eve Magazine that I have shown here. Subsequent research revealed some listings in the press and, along with the Eve pieces, indicated that the establishment was in existence throughout the 1920s and was clearly of some significance.
There was a simple advert in the Tatler from 1stJune 1921 that featured ‘this season’s special jumper’ of superfine jumper silk and announced that the company also provided ‘gowns and millinery’.
The other references to Buckmaster appear in the descriptions of the various Royal Court events held at Buckingham Palace where debutantes were presented to the King and Queen as part of the London social season each summer. The court presentations provided a showcase for some of the major London and Paris couture houses like Reville, Paul Caret, Elspeth Phelps, Lucile, Handley-Seymour, Jay, Adele, Worth, Isobel and Paquin.
The second court of the season was held at Buckingham palace in June 1922 and amongst the 1,000 guests Lady Barran wore a charmingly draped Buckmaster gown of old gold satin Romain caught with shaded flowers to the waist. The train fell from both shoulders and was of rich mandarin yellow velvet lined with chiffon. Also, Lady Henniker-Hughan wore a Buckmaster gown of blue and gold broche, softly draped and held at the waist by a fine old paste buckle. The train was of valuable old lace lined with gold tissue.
At the third royal court of the season in June 1923, Lady Duke wore an artistically draped Buckmaster gown of black and silver galgala broche with long net sleeves. The cloth of silver train was bordered with black velvet and trimmed with black silk net and paste ornaments with a lining of almond green soie Chinoise
For the second Royal Court of the season at Buckingham Palace in May 1924, Lady Aston Webb was attired in a beautiful Buckmaster gown of gobelin blue and gold brocade. The train was arranged in the form of a cape of blue and gold shot tissue draped with old family lace.
Mrs Stanley Baldwin wore a Buckmaster gown of gleaming platinum, tastefully draped with lace of the same shade, glittering with diamante embroideries. The draperies were caught on the left hip with a spray of shaded orchids and the train of the same lace had a long trail of orchids falling from the right shoulder.
At the third royal court in June 1924, Lady Findlay wore a Buckmaster gown of white satin, embroidered in silver over white georgette and caught on the hips with paste and pearl ornaments and a train of silver tissue lined with pale pink chiffon.
In November 1924 at the Guildhall Banquet, Mrs Stanley Baldwin wore a Buckmaster gown draped in the derniere mold in long flowing lines. It was of black crepe javonais with a long bretelle of sparkling black diamente mounted with cabochons falling down in the front and back.
At the first royal court of the season in May 1925, Lady Gilmour wore a Buckmaster gown of gleaming silver and orange tissue, richly embroidered in silver and topaz with a train of silver and orange lace from the shoulders. Mrs George Tyron wore a Buckmaster gown of hyacinth blue thiagene embroidered in silver and diamente and arranged over an underdress of silver tissue and lace. The train matched the dress.
During the second Royal court of the season in May 1925, Rosita Forbes (Mrs Arthur McGrath) wore a Buckmaster gown of pale pink georgette with an over dress of gold lace strikingly embroidered with topaz and rhinestones and a train of gold lace.
At another Royal Court function in June 1925, Lady Stewart Lockhart wore a black georgette Buckmaster gown designed on classical lines and richly embroidered with diamante, Her handsome train of oxidized tissue was draped with fine black lace and tulle.
During one of the Royal Court functions in June 1926, Mrs Stanley Baldwin wore a Buckmaster gown of much distinction of gold cloth embroidered with pearls and diamente. Lady Gilmour had a Buckmaster gown of palest amber radium panne, effectively embroidered in dull shades of gold. Her train was of dull gold Richlieu embroidery
These listings in newspapers, illustrating London’s most prestigious social event, clearly demonstrates the high regard in which the excellence of Buckmaster’s skill was held.
However, nothing else can be gleaned about the company. Naturally if anyone does know anything about Buckmaster, please let me know.
All images and text © copyright Gary Chapman / Jazz Age Club and must not be re-used without prior consent
Eve Magazine 16/3/27
Eve Magazine 6/4/27
(The British Newspaper Library)
The Tatler 1/6/21
The Graphic 15/11/24
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intellligencer 22/6/22
Leeds Mercury 14/6/23
Sheffield Daily Telegraph 21/5/24
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intellligencer 22/5/24
Aberdeen Press and Journal 27/6/24
The Graphic 15/11/24
Western Daily Press 22/5/25
Birmingham Daily Gazette 23/5/25
Western Daily Press 26/6/25
Aberdeen Press and Journal 10/6/26