Allom, Thomas, 1804—1872
Thomas Allom, British architect and topographical illustrator, was born on 13 March 1805 at Lambeth, the son of Thomas Allom (1770-1840), a coachman, and Martha Allom, née Rampley (1771-1861). From 1819 to 1826, he was apprentice to the architect Francis Goodwin (1784-1835; ODNB), and in 1828 studied architecture at the Royal Academy. In 1834 he helped found the Institute of British Architects.
Though trained as an architect, Allom found his métier in topographical drawing and illustration for travel books and letterpress plate books. Initially he supported himself as a student in this way, but by the late 1820s drawing became his main source of income. He undertook sketching tours throughout Britain and on the continent and his major works include: * Devonshire & Cornwall Illustrated … with … Descriptions by J. Britton & E. W. Brayley* (1832), The Counties of Chester, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, and Rutland, Illustrated (1836), Character and Costume in Turkey and Italy … With Descriptive Letter-Press, by Emma Reeve (1839), and China, in a Series of Views … With Historical and Descriptive Notices by the Rev. G. N. Wright (1843). Turkey, however, was the extent of his eastern travels; his book on China drew on the works of other artists.
From 1840, Allom returned to architectural practise, designing a range of buildings in an eclectic mixture of styles. In 1834, he married Mary Ann Rawlins (1806-1854), with whom he had four children; two years after his first wife’s death, he married Eliza Fox (1813-1890). He died in Barnes, Surrey, of heart disease, on 21 October 1872, aged 68
Brooks, Diana. ‘Allom, Thomas (1804–1872)’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan. 2016.
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