Thomas Allom (1804 - 1872)

Artist, illustrator and prominent architect, Allom designed many buildings in London, including the Church of St Peters.

Allom is best known for his paintings and engravings of various exotic countries. Beginning in the 1820’s he traveled extensively throughout Britain, Europe, Middle East and China. He published his travel in the following accounts, all of which were superbly illustrated with fine and detailed engravings;Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor1838,Character and Costume in Turkey and Italy, 1840.

His most notable work wasChina Illustratedpublished in 1845- not long after the First Opium War or The Treaty of Nanking (1842), which allowed the British greater access to Chinese ports and ceded Hong Kong to British rule, meaning that the British were able to gain further insight into the previously unknown mysteries of China. This engraving from this very popular series played a crucial role in the growing interest and intrigue that the West developed towards the Chinese aesthetic. Prior to this series, many topographical views of China were incomplete.

Allom’s China Illustrated helped create a clearer image for the Europeans as to what Imperial China was like by including not just landscapes but also social customs, history, law and politics.

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