Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ashpitel, Arthur

ASHPITEL, ARTHUR (1807–1869), architect, the son of William Hurst Ashpitel, was born in Hackney. In boyhood he had an accident which made him a cripple for life. He was trained by his father to the architect's profession, and in 1842 he began work on his own account. He built the church of St. John's at Blackheath, and that of St. Barnabas at Homerton, as well as many other buildings. In 1850 he entered into partnership with Mr. Whichcord, and was then for some years engaged in large practice. His health failed, and in 1804 he left England with David Roberts, R.A., for a travelling companion, and lived for some time at Rome. As a result of his studies in that city he exhibited a drawing at the Royal Academy, a 'Restoration of Ancient Rome,' and another called 'Rome as it is.' Latterly Mr. Ashpitel retired from active practice and occupied himself as a dilettante in literary work. He contributed papers on various cathedrals to the Archaeological Association, and some articles to the 'Encyclopædia Britannica.' He was a good scholar and linguist, and these qualifications made him (a tory of the old school) able to write some tolerably effective political pamphlets and squibs in verse, some translations and vers de société from his pen appeared in the 'Owl' and attracted some attention. Mr. Ashpitel died on 18 Jan. 1869, having left a valuable collection of vases and books to the Society of Antiquaries, and his two drawings of Rome to the nation. These latter form part of the collection at South Kensington.

[Builder, 30 Jan. 1869; Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists of the English School.]

E. R.