Harper, John (1809-1842) (DNB00)

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HARPER, JOHN (1809–1842), architect, was born at Dunkenhalgh Hall, near Blackburn, Lancashire, on 11 Nov. 1809. He studied his profession under Benjamin and Philip Wyatt, and when with them prepared the designs for Apsley House, York House, and the Duke of York's Column. He commenced practice as an architect at York, and was employed by the Duke of Devonshire at Bolton Abbey, by Lord Londesborough, and others. His best-known works are the proprietary school at Clifton, York, the Roman catholic church at Bury, Lancashire, and the Freetown and Elton churches in the same town. When travelling in Italy for the purpose of studying art, he caught a malarial fever in Rome. While still in a weak state he ventured on a voyage to Naples, where he died on 18 Oct. 1842. He enjoyed the intimate friendship of William Etty, R. A., who writes of him: 'His sketches of scenery, antiquity, and architecture are in taste, facile elegant execution, and correct detail of the first rank.' David Roberts and Clarkson Stanfield were among his friends, and the latter painted a fine picture from one of Harper's sketches. During his short career he made many clever sketches, nearly all of which belong to his brother, Mr. Edward Harper of Brighton. His portrait by Etty is in the same collection.

[Gilchrist's Life of William Etty, R.A.; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists of the English School; private information.]

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