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  • Pair of Steel Engravings
A. Canongate Church, Edinburgh
  • Drawn by Thomas Shepherd
  • Engraved by W. Radcliffe
  • Titled and signed: "Canongate Church, Edinburgh"
  • Circa 1829

B. The Interior Quadrangle of the Castle, Edinburgh

  • Drawn by Thomas Shepherd
  • Engraved by J. Hinchliff
  • Titled and signed: "The Interior Quadrangle of the Castle, Edinburgh. Shewing the door leading to the apartment were Q. Mary was confined, also the room where the regalia was discovered"
  • Circa 1829

  • Paper: 5 1/2 x 8 inches
  • Mat: 10 1/4 x 12 inches
  • Unframed, but matted 
  • Condition: very good, minor foxing 
  • Provenance: The Carson Clark Gallery, Edinburgh

The Artist: THOMAS HOSMER SHEPHERD (1793-1864)

 Thomas Hosmer Shepherd was probably the most talented member of a family of London topographers, his once famous images outstanding in their vivacious detail. 

Throughout his career, from 1809 to 1859, Shepherd was patronised by the celebrated interior designer, Frederick Crace, who became equally famous as a collector of views and maps of London. Crace commissioned him to produce watercolours of specific London buildings and locations, and also bought others from him. The fame of the Crace Collection then acted as a springboard for Shepherd’s career, as he began to receive commissions from others, including Rudolph Ackermann. From around the time of its foundation in 1809, until its demise in 1828, Shepherd produced a series of street views for Ackermann’s magazine, The Repository of Arts, sometimes in collaboration with his elder brother, George Sidney Shepherd.

Though he became virtually synonymous with the modern city, Shepherd was equally skilful in representing the countryside. To this end, he made a number of sketching tours, the first in 1810.

From this time, Shepherd established himself as a book illustrator, with contributions to the part work, Londina Illustrata (1819-25), again in collaboration with his brother, George, among others. Security and success soon arrived, with his first commission from the publisher, Jones & Co, based at the Temple of the Muses, Finsbury Square. The first part of Metropolitan Improvements appeared in 1827, and comprised numerous steel engravings after drawings by Shepherd, with a commentary by the architect, James Elmes. Its popularity not only ensured further commissions for Shepherd from Jones but ‘induced many publishers to embark on similar works’ (an unsigned review in the Gentleman’s Magazine for March 1829, cited by J F C Phillips, Shepherd’s London, London: Cassell 1976, page 11).

The sequel to Metropolitan Improvements, entitled London and its Environs, would begin to appear in 1828.

During 1827, Shepherd made sketching tours of the West Country and Scotland in order to prepare his drawings for Modern Athens! (1829) and Bath and Bristol (1829-31), published by Jones with commentaries by the well-known antiquarian, John Britton. Yet, while Jones and Shepherd planned other volumes about parts of Great Britain (and Shepherd responded by travelling to Ireland in 1828), no further such publication materialised.

A decade later, Shepherd moved to 2 Bird’s Buildings (now part of Colebrooke Row), north of Camden Passage, Islington – probably to better accommodate his growing family. From that time, he provided some images for The Illustrated London News, but became very poor, and was sustained only by the continuing patronage of Crace, who died in 1859.

The Crace Collection in the British Museum contains nearly 500 images by Shepherd, including 38 views of Edinburgh for Modern Athens!

His work is also represented in numerous other public collections, including Kensington & Chelsea Library and the V&A.


The Story: One of a series of Edinburgh still engraved views, drawn by Thomas H. Shepherd. A fine first edition published by Jones & Co, London, between 1829-1831. From a collection of more than 100 of the earliest comprehensive 19th century Edinburgh views sketched by Shepherd, a compliment to his already popular series of London views. (Carson Clark Gallery)

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Item No. CA201703136