Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thomas Allom was an most talented English artist, topographical illustrator and architect, and was a founder member of the Royal Institute of British Architects ( RIBA ). He was part of the art movement of historian and had achieved a great mastership in drawing at the same time.

Thomas Allom was born in Lambeth, south London in 13 March 1804. In 1819, he was apprenticed to architect Francis Goodwin for whom he worked until 1826. He then studied at the Royal Academy School. He also worked with Sir. Charles Barry on numerous projects, including the House of Parliament.

Allom is chiefly known for his numerous topographical works, he was most prolific and successful as a topographical artist during the 1830s and 1840s.
From the 1820s onwards, he traveled extensively through the UK and mainland Europe. In 1834 he traveled as far as to East Asia Istanbul, Turkey, and produced hundreds of drawings of European architecture and cities.

In 1834 to 1843 China in the late Qing period, when the coastal ports of China opened to western traders, Allom illustrated from original and authentic sketches of artistes returned from China such as William Alexander or by remembered for numerous illustrations of China on steel engraved plated, published in London between 1843 and 1847 of the highest quality. The beauty of the steel engraving after his drawings is impressive. Allom’s love for details raises these works to historic documents of great value. His print works express a sense for picturesque effects, and the play with light and shadow make them look like theatrical scenarios.

Thomas Allom drawings on China Illustrations in 1845 was the only means of visual documentation of scenery and scenes of everyday life in China, such pictures are an invaluable source of information for the study of history of China as well as tangible evidence of the artistic achievements of the artist.

A heart disease made traveling impossible for Thomas Allom. During the 1860s his artistic and architectural creations became more and more rare. And finally in 1870 he retired. He died at the age of 68 in 21 August 1872 and was buried in the famous Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

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