Archives Catalog Entry
Men of Science Living in 1807-08 (engraving after)
Stipple engraving by William Walker (1791-1867) of a group portrait of an imaginary gathering in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, with facsimile signatures of the sitters below. By Walker and George Zobel (1810-1881) after preliminary sketches by Sir John Gilbert (1817-1897), the figures drawn by John F. Skill and finished by William and Elizabeth Walker. The scene is the upper library of the Royal Institution, representing the 51 leading scientists and engineers alive in 1807 and 1808. Seated in the center, presumably drawing a diagram, is James Watt.
Published by W. Walker & Son, Cavendish Square, June 4, 1862.
Typed description found on back of print:
Eminent Men of Science of Great Britain Living in the Years 1807-1808. A group of 51 figures, assembled in the Library of the Royal Institution (compare with aquatint by Rolandson and Pugin).
This mezzotint engraving was made from a pencil and wash drawing which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London; the figures were drawn by Frederick Skill, the grouping designed by Sir John Gilbert, and the whole finished by William Walker and his wife Elizabeth.
The greatest care was taken to make each figure in this group an actual portrait. Four years of careful study were spent upon it. In some cases, it affords us the only likeness of the man we have.
The figure with his back turned is of interest. The signature beneath it tells us that it is Joseph Bramah, the inventor of the hydraulic press, the modern water-closet, and of many of our machine tools of today, a man who gave an impulse to mechanical engineering the effects of which are still felt in every branch of industry. Bramah had an invincible dislike for sitting for his portrait and consequently none exists. It is a singular tribute to Bramah's influence among his generation of scientists, however, that this picture would have been considered incomplete without him. As no portrait of him existed he was included, but with his face turned away. The figure was drawn in accordance with a description furnished by his grandson.
FHMMC [appears at bottom right]
Old inventory number on frame indicates provenance in Earnest Watson art collection.
Jun. 4, 1862
MEDIUM: Paper; FORMAT: Print; framed; LENGTH: 45.5 x 26 inches, framed; QUANTITY: 1
Topics: Art, History of Science
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