One can say that, unlike his counterparts, the nineteenth century English architect and topographic illustrator Thomas Allom left a graphic account of his journeys. His extensive travels through Europe and Asia Minor resulted in hundreds of illustrations compiled in a collection titled “Constantinople and the Scenery of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor Illustrated”. In a series of drawings from nature by Thomas Allom. With an historical account of Constantinople, and descriptions of the plates (1838-40). The text accompanying the illustrations was provided by Robert Walsh. Later on, Allom also visited China, where he continued to produce drawings depicting Chinese architecture, landscapes and scenes from the social life. These drawings were then printed in England on steel engraved plates and today they represent a collection titled “China, in a Series of Views displaying the Scenery, Architecture and Social habits of that Ancient Empire. Drawn, from Original and Authentic Sketches, by Thomas Allom, Esq. With Historical and Descriptive Notices by the Rev. G. N. Wright, M.A.” (1843-1847). There is evidence, however, that many of these illustrations were based on the works of other artists and not on the firsthand views, and some critics have gone so far as to claim that Allom has never actually visited China (a claim that is corroborated by the fact that he developed a heart condition in his later years, which prevented him from traveling). Whether this is true or not, it should be mentioned that Allom’s work has indisputable artistic value and that he always added a personal touch to the drawings he made.
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