Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1793 - 1864)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

The topographical draughtsman Thomas Hosmer Shepherd was born in 1793. He often collaborated with his older brother George Sidney Shepherd (1784–1862), for example in a series of street views for Ackermann’s Repository of the Arts (1809). Shepherd was best known for his depictions of modern, fashionable cities, although he was equally at home with natural landscapes as evidenced by his illustrations to Thomas Rose’s Westmorland (1832) and William Gray Fearnside’s Views of the Rhine (1832).

Shepherd’s real break came in 1826 when Jones & Co. commissioned a series of views of London’s newest buildings, streets, and squares for engraving in Metropolitan Improvements (1827), with a text by the architect James Elmes. The success of the book spawned successors: Modern Athens (1828), a similar volume on Edinburgh, and another called Bath and Bristol … Displayed (1829). Between 1826 and 1831 Shepherd is supposed to have produced designs for some 450 plates. Many of these designs were reworked for similar projects later in Shepherd’s career, such as Charles Frederick Partington’s Natural History and Views of London (1835) and Charles Knight’s London (1841–4).

Alongside his prolific artistic practice, Shepherd worked as a drawing master for he was perennially poor. For this reason Shepherd’s relationship with the collector Frederick Crace was crucial for his career. Between 1809 and 1859 Crace consistently commissioned Shepherd to make watercolours of specific London sites, and the renown of Crace’s collection of London views (now in the British Museum) in turn led to further commissions for Shepherd (often for further versions of the same view). Fittingly, Shepherd’s last dated drawing comes from five weeks before Crace’s death in 1859 – Shepherd’s death followed five years later in 1864.


Born: 1793

Died: 1864

Works after Thomas Hosmer Shepherd in the RA Collection

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Works associated with Thomas Hosmer Shepherd in the RA Collection

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