||CARTER, J. after S. DRUMMOND
[Sir Marc Isambard Brunel]
London: Published by Fred Gwynne, 23 Cockspur Street, Charing Cross, Oct. 7, 1846. Mezzotint. Printed on chine colle and attached as usual to a wove backing sheet. State ii/ii or state iii/iii. Facsimile signature in title space. A robust impression in excellent condition. Image size (including text): 16 3/8 x 12 15/16 inches. Plate mark: 21 3/8 x 15 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 22 1/16 x 17 3/16 inches.
A fascinating portrait of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, the father of British engineering and the designer of the Thames Tunnel.
Sir Marc Isambard Brunel was one of the most innovative engineers of his time, and is considered the father of British engineering. Brunel was born in France but fled to the United States as a royalist refugee during the bloody days of the French Revolution. He became chief engineer of New York City, and was responsible for such landmark projects as the old Bowery Theater, and the canal that linked the Hudson River with Lake Champlain. In 1799 Brunel immigrated to England, and made his fortune by establishing a block-making factory for the Royal Navy, which automated the production of rope blocks, traditionally made from laborious hand carving techniques. In 1825, Brunel began the construction of the Thames Tunnel, which is one of the most important civil engineering accomplishments ever achieved. In constructing the tunnel, Brunel patented the shield method of digging, which supplied workers with a protective shield allowing them to build the walls of the tunnel while they dug. Without this innovative construction method none of the underground systems in the world could have been built. In this compelling image, Brunel is pictured seated in front of the Thames Tunnel, his greatest engineering achievement.
O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 1; Lennox-Boyd & Stogdon only record the fully published state of this print, so there are either ii or iii states of this print including a proof state without a publication line.