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Richmond Terrace, Whitehall.

Artist: Thomas Hosmer Shepherd

Engraver M. S Barenger

Inscribed: To R. Wilmot Horton Esq M.P etc. This plate is respectfully inscribed

Date: 1 Dec 1827 Publisher: Jones & Co. 3, Acton Place, Kingsland Road, London


‘The design of this terrace is common-place, and exhibits neither taste nor fancy...The order is Ionic, of no peculiar beauty;


In 1826, the publisher Jones and Co. Commissioned the artist Thomas Hosmer Shepherd to produce a large number of drawings to illustrate the changing landscape of central London. The result was Metropolitan Improvements or London in the Nineteenth Century being a Series of Views of the New and Most Interesting Objects in the British Metropolis and its Vicinity . The publication celebrates this new urban landscape, the replacement of ‘dirty alleys, dingy courts and squalid dens..’ with  ‘stately streets... and elegant private dwellings.’  Recorded in detail in these engravings is work of the architect John Nash, responsible for the development of the area of Regent’s Park and Regent Street. ,Designed in 1811 this project was named after his patron, George, prince of Wales, at that time regent for his father, King George III. The Regent’s Park development comprised the Regent’s Canal, a lake, a large wooded area, a botanical garden and on the periphery shopping arcades and picturesque groupings of residences. Nash’s East and West Park Villages (completed after his death by his chief assistant, James Pennethorne) served as models for “garden suburbs” of separate houses informally arranged. Regent Street, with its colonnades (demolished 1848) and its Quadrant leading into Piccadilly Circus, was finished about 1825. 


In reality,  the beneficiaries of these improvements were not those living in the ‘squalid dens’ but the property developers, commercial enterprises and affluent citizens who could afford to buy the new grand villas and mansions that sprung up. The poor had to relocate and the slums, which rather than disappearing, rapidly multiplied and re-emerged  in other parts of London such as Holborn, Whitechapel and Clerkenwell. 


The charming and lively engraved images bring to life the character of this changing metropolis. The steel engravings were made from original watercolours by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd and the accompanying descriptions of the streets and buildings by the architectural critic James Elmes explain some of the decorative details. Elmes does not hold back on passing judgement of the success or otherwise of the architecture as he saw it.  



James Elmes (1782–1862), writer on architecture and architect was a pupil of George Gibson, RA.  His most celebrated work was his Metropolitan Improvements (1827–9), illustrated by T. H. Shepherd but he launched the Annals of Fine Arts, in 1816 which he edited until 1820 and in which  several of Keats's poems first appeared including his 'Ode to a Nightingale', 'Ode on a Grecian Urn', and 'On Seeing the Elgin Marbles'.  Elmes was the author of Memoirs of the Life and Works of Sir Christopher Wren (1823), the first life of Wren to be written.  

He built up an architectural practice in London and Sussex, and was vice-president of the Royal Architectural Society and surveyor to the Port of London from 1809 to 1848. His buildings include: Oakwood House, Chichester (1809–12); the new gaol, Bedford (1819–20); and the house of correction, Waterford, Ireland (1820). He also rebuilt the upper part of the spire of Chichester Cathedral (1812–13). 


Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1793–1864)  


By 1826 Thomas Hosmer Shepherd was already a successful topographical draughtsman having worked with his brother George on a series of street views for the influential publisher, Rudolph Ackermann. The lively, detailed scenes was characteristic of his work. But it was the commission by Jones & Co, in 1826 for Metropolitan Improvements that was his big break. He would sketch on the spot in the street and then work up finished wash drawings at home in his studio in Chapman Street, Islington. These watercolours could then be engraved on steel by a number of professional engravers including H.W. Bond, Major Samuel Barrenger, William Wallis and James Tingle.  The huge success of the Metropolitan Improvements resulted in other publications along similar lines, Modern Athens (1828), a volume on Edinburgh, and Bath and Bristol ...(1829). As Philips points out between 1826 and 1831 Jones & Co. 'appear to have monopolised Thomas Hosmer's pencil' ( Shepherd's London, p. 11) and between 1826 and 1831 Shepherd produced over 450 watercolours for them.  

After his period for Jones & Co he worked with other publishers. Other work includes drawings in Partington's Natural History and Views of London (1835), Charles Knight’s London (1841–4) and Ernest Gambart’s London in Miniature (1854) and Mighty London (1855). Although he found regular work providing topical and topographical images for the  Illustrated London News, after 1842, Shepherd often struggled financially. The collector Frederick Crace helped him by commissioning watercolours of London buildings and locations over a period lasting several decades. The Crace Collection which has some of Shepherd’s finest watercolours is housed at the British Museum.  



Richmond Terrace, Whitehall, Thomas Hosmer Shepherd - Framed Antique Print

SKU: 1061
  • Item Number: 1061
    Title: Richmond Terrace, Whitehall
    Artist: Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1793-1864)
    Engraver: M. S. Barenger
    Publisher: Jones & Co
    Medium: Steel Engraving
    Date: 1828
    Framed size(h x w): 292 x 340mm
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