Thomas Allom (1804 – 1872)
English orientalist painter Thomas Allom was born in London in 1804. Allom trained as an architect and was a founder member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was responsible for the development of the area around Ladbroke Grove in Kensington, as well as other London projects. He also worked with Sir Charles Barry on numerous projects, most notably the Houses of Parliament, and is also known for his numerous topographical works.
There was a demand in Victorian England for albums of topographical views, and engravings were made of artists’ sketches and watercolours done on the spot. This laborious work, often carried out in uncomfortable conditions, could now be done by a camera in a few moments ! Allom was amongst the new class of professional topographical artists who catered for this market and who often had a background of architectural draughtmanship.
Thomas Allom travelled extensively in England, Scotland and France to gather material for illustrations, sometimes adding historical events to views of sites and landscapes to give added interest. He visited Constantinople and Asia Minor in 1836, and his watercolours appeared in lithograph form in his Characters and Costume in Turkey and Italy. Others were engraved for the Reverend R. Walsh’s Constantinople’and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, published by Fisher in 1838. Allom, who also illustrated a book on China, exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1827 and 1871 and at the Society of British Artists.