St. George's Chapel, formerly known as the Hanover Chapel, was designed by Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) and built between 1823 and 1825. Its classical design includes twin towers, an Ionic portico and a dome constructed in iron and glass. The building was one of the most striking features of the newly built Regent Street, which was planned and largely designed by architect John Nash (1752-1835). Cockerell’s chapel was demolished in 1896 and replaced by Regent House (built 1893-98), which survives to this day and is now in use as a shop.
In J. Britton and A. C. Pugin's ‘Illustrations of the Public Buildings of London’ (published 1825-28), the Hanover Chapel is described as follows:
'The limited circumstances of the site not admitting the usual ecclesiastical distinction of the tower, the architect has ventured to employ the practice (novel indeed in this country, but so frequent in the continental churches) of the double belfry, at the extremities of the front... In the centre, a bold and capacious portico extends across the pathway; and the dome rising above this considerably, gives to the whole elevation much grandeur and variety from different points of view.’
Thomas Hosmer Shepherd was born in London; the son of a watchcase maker. His elder brother was watercolourist George Sidney Shepherd, with whom he collaborated in 1813 on street views for Ackermann’s ‘Repository of the Arts’. He went on to build his reputation on depictions of fashionable cities. He made numerous sketching tours and, in 1818, visited France. He worked for Jones & Co. (1826-31), producing some 450 plates for the firm in total. He also worked as a drawing master. After 1842 he received regular commissions from the ‘Illustrated London News’ but still struggled financially. Collector Frederick Crace commissioned numerous watercolours of London sites from the artist (now in the British Museum). He died in Islington, aged c. 71.
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