[SCOTT, Samuel (c. 1813-1841)]
Samuel Scott, the unfortunate American Diver
[London?]: . Lithographed portrait.
Rare portrait of an American daredevil printed shortly after his deadly fall from Waterloo Bridge.
Born in Philadelphia, Scott served in the U.S. Navy where he became well known for jumping off the masts of ships. This led to a career as a stuntman and daredevil, travelling the U.S. and Canada performing his death defying leaps, including a purported 593-foot jump from Niagara Falls. On January 11, 1841, Scott planned to run from the White Lion Pub in Drury Lane to Waterloo Bridge, jump from a scaffold on the bridge into the river, and return to the pub during the hour between 1:00 and 2:00 P.M. As per previous bridge jumps, a rope attached to the scaffold allowed Scott to swing away from the bridge before diving. But on this jump, the rope wrapped around Scott's neck. The spectators erroneously thought that this was part of Scott's act, no immediate action was taken and Scott inadvertently hung himself. The present rare portrait shows a young looking Scott with Waterloo bridge and scaffolding in the background. OCLC cites but one extant example in North Americana collections. A recorded example at the Wellcome Library includes a Day & Son stamp on verso of a mount.