Sir John Fowler, 1st Bt

1 portrait

Sir John Fowler, 1st Bt, by John Jabez Edwin Mayall, circa 1865 - NPG P326 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir John Fowler, 1st Bt

by John Jabez Edwin Mayall
oil over albumen print, circa 1865
13 7/8 in. x 10 1/2 in. (352 mm x 267 mm)
Purchased, 1987
Primary Collection
NPG P326


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As a civil engineer Fowler devoted his life to the railways, and he is particularly known for his Pimlico bridge, the first railway bridge across the Thames in London, the development of the Metropolitan Railway system and (with Sir Benjamin Baker) the Forth railway bridge, probably the most remarkable piece of engineering to be carried out in the nineteenth century, and one which earned Fowler his baronetcy. For this large photograph, which was probably taken after the opening of the Metropolitan Railway in January 1863, Baker sat to Mayall, the leading London portrait photographer. The portrait combines a somewhat incongruous studio backdrop of a village scene with the parapet of a bridge and a length of railway track, emblems of Fowler's profession. The portrait is hand-coloured, an 'extra' offered by many of the commercial firms, and housed in an elaborate gilt frame in emulation of the large-format miniature paintings favoured by the Victorians.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 81
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 226

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