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Ancient Topography of London by J. T. Smith

The paperback facsimile of this book is no longer available. I am working on an eBook version.
All 32 plates are still available to download as high resolution scans in a .zip file.
Please see below or visit the print shop.

Go to the Print Shop John Thomas Smith was born in 1766 and devoted his life to making detailed drawings of London and Westminster. A year after this book was published he was appointed Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, a post he held until his death in 1833.

The frontis states "Not only views of buildings, which in many instances no longer exist, and for the most part were never before published, but some account of places and customs either unknown, or overlooked by the London Historians."

The book is equally divided between Sacred, Public and Domestic architecture. The detail on the drawings is stunning, and his prints are also alive with real people, recorded as they go about their daily business. He is particularly fond of depicting men working up ladders and disabled passers-by (presumably ex-servicemen from the Napoleonic wars).

There are descriptions of how things were built, who built them and where to get the best available materials. His xenophobia and other facets of his character inadvertently become apparent and the whole is entertaining and informative on many levels. A perfect companion to Lockie's Topography of London from 1810.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger versions of four of the illustrations.

Sacred Architecture
Leadenhall Chapel, May 1812
Public Architecture
South-west view of Bethlem Hospital and London Wall, August 1814
Domestic Architecture
North-east view of an old house lately standing in Sweedon's Passage, Grub Street, July 1791
Domestic Architecture
Winchester Street, London Wall, May 1804

Now available to buy for instant download.

High resolution scans of all 32 plates for £ 2.99    or visit the print shop.


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