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Following in the footsteps of his father, Thomas Hosmer Shepherd (1793-1864) and his uncle, George Sidney Shepherd (1784-1862), Frederick Napoleon Shepherd worked as a topographical artist, specialising in London subjects. Indeed, for much of his career he worked closely with his father, drawing the same subjects, sometimes working up his sketches into watercolours or making copies of his or his uncle’s work.
He also received a few commissions of his own, including a series of small watercolours of Islington, commissioned by George Daniel of Canonbury for an extra-illustrated copy of Nelson’s History of the Parish of St Mary Islington in the late 1830s. Between 1871 and 1874 he produced a set of thirty-eight drawings of the streets and buildings between Northumberland House and Covent Garden, probably for the collector J.E. Gardener, who worked at 454 Strand. Apart from these details, little is known of his life and career. His style was highly derivative of his father’s, and while he lacked much of the latter’s precision, his figures nevertheless have a similar charm.