Thomas Hosmer Shepherd

Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (English) 1793 – 1864
Views of Edinburgh from Modern Athens (1828), engravings

Views of Edinburgh, engravings.
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Estimate: $250. Offers invited.

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Views of Edinburgh, drawn by Thomas H. Shepherd, early 19th Century. These are believed to be proofs – two are printed on India paper. All are trimmed to the plate margins. Sizes vary, but all are about 5″ x 6.5″. Prints are glued at the corners to a backing. All show age fading but are in good condition. Purchased over fifty years ago in Edinburgh in a lot of several dozen prints.

Individual images clockwise from the upper left:

  • The Register Office, Prince’s Street, Edinburgh, engraved by A. McClatchie
  • The Signal Tower, Leith Harbour, engraved by J. Henshall
  • The Parliament House, Edinburgh, engraved by W. Watkins.
  • The New Town Hall, Leith, engraved by J. Henshall
  • Royal Exchange, High Street, Edinburgh, engraved by W. Watkins
  • St. Gile’s Church, County Hall and Lawn Market, High St., Edinburgh, engraved by W. Tombleson

From the Royal Academy Website:

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.

Also by this artist:

Carrier’s Wagon, Dorking, Surrey – Watercolor
The Mint, Tower Hill – Line engraving on steel by
James Tingle (fl. 1824 – 50) after Thomas H. Shepherd


Images often do not adequately represent quality or condition. Reflections off glass or varnished surfaces sometimes alter color and clarity. All listings are fully guaranteed to be as described, however, and may be returned for a full refund (for any reason) within 30 days of purchase.

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