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Harper, John (1809-1842), was born at Dunkenhalgh Hall, near Blackburn, Lancashire, on 11th November 1809.

He became a pupil of Benjamin and Philip Wyatt, whom he assisted in preparing the designs for Apsley House, York House and the Duke of York's Column.

He began to practice on his own in York, and was employed by the Duke of Devonshire at Bolton Abbey, by Lord Londesborough, and others.

He competed for the Houses of Parliament in 1835, paying particular attention to the acoustics and ventilation of the two chambers. Most of his recorded works are in the Gothic style, and one or two of his churches (e.g. All Saints, Elton, and St. Marie's, Bury) show an ability to get away from the standard formulae of early nineteenth century church design.

Harper died of malaria while on a visit to Italy in 1842. He was a friend of David Roberts, Clarkson Stanfield and William Etty, and his own sketches of scenery, antiquity and architecture were highly commended by the last-named artist. Many of them were, in 1890, in the possession of his brother, Edward Harper of Brighton, who also had a portrait of him by Etty. (S. Redgrave, Dictionary of Artists of the English School, 1878, 198; D.N.B.; Chetham Soc. vol. 85, 1926, 73.)

He served part of his time as the land agent for the Petre family of the Dunkenhalgh, although it may have been his father of the same name, for in 1812 we find a letter from John Harper to the Leeds and Liverpool canal company, wrote on Lord Petres behalf, demanding a settlement for damages caused to the Dunkenhalgh estates whilst building the canal in 1809. At this time John would only have been 3 years old, hence the conjunction that it was his father who was the land agent by the same name.

List of Works.

A list of plans by John Harper available on the internet is available here

YORK, Gothic piazza to Theatre Royal, 1834-5; dismantled 1879 and re-erected at No. 73 Fulford Road (R.C.H.M. York iv. 53)

SHIBDEN HALL, nr. HALIFAX, YORKS. (W. R.) addition of tower and offices for Miss Anne Lister, c. 1835 (Castles and Country Houses in Yorkshire, Bradford 1885). He altered Shibden Hall for Anne Lister around 1835, and also converted Northgate House, Halifax into an hotel. The present appearance of Shibden Hall is the result of Harper's work http://members.aol.com/calderdale/h.html

EVERINGHAM PARK, YORKS. (E.R.), CATHOLIC CHAPEL for William Constable-Maxwell, 1836-9, based on designs supplied by Agostino Giorgioli of Rome (Arthur Oswald in C. Life, 22 Feb. 1968).

YORK, ST. PETER'S SCHOOL, CLIFTON, 1838, Gothic (D.N.B.) (R.C.H.M. York iv. 53).

CLAYTON-LE-MOORS CHURCH, LANCS., 1838-40, Gothic; chancel rebuilt 1882 (R. Trappes-Lomax, A History of Clayton-le-Moors, Chetham Soc. vol. 85, 1926, 146)

CRAKEHALL CHURCH, YORKS. N. R. , 1840, Gothic (I.C.B.S.)

BLACKTOFT CHURCH, YORKS. (E.R.) , 1841, Gothic (I.C.B.S.).

BURY, LANCS., ST. MARIE'S CHURCH (R.C.), 1841, Gothic (Companion to the Almanac, 1841, 234-6).

ELTON, nr. BURY, LANCS., ALL SAINTS CHURCH, 1841-3, Romanesque (B. T. Barton, History of Bury, 1874, 201).


H. M. Colvin, A Biographical dictionary of British architects 1600-1840 (1995).

and others mentioned above.