John Thomas Smith (1766-1833) was a painter, engraver and antiquarian, born in London, and the son of a sculptor. His father worked under sculptor Daniel Nollekens, where Smith first received his artistic training, but left to study drawing with John Keyse Sherwin and at the Royal Academy.
Smith published books of engravings and worked as a drawing master in Edmonton. In 1807 he published Antiquities of Westminster which has been described as his major work. Between 1810 and 1815, Smith created drawings and engravings of notable beggars in London and published The Streets of London: Anecdotes of Their More Celebrated Residents. Smith was offered the position of Keeper of the Prints department of the British Museum in September 1816 which, still allowed Smith to sketch and draw until his death.