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Regency Portraits Catalogue

George Stephenson (1781-1848), Inventor of the railway-engine

Engineer to the first public railway between Stockton and Darlington 1825; his 'Rocket' steam-engine ran at 30 mph in 1829, and the Liverpool-Manchester railway, opened in 1830, led to immense development and speculation in the national railway system.

'He was rather a stern-featured man with a dark and deeply marked countenance' (Fanny Kemble).

'His fair, clear countenance was ruddy and seemingly glowed with health … The mouth was firmly marked and shrewdness and humour lurked there as well as in the keen grey eye' (Samuel Smiles).

Referencesback to top

Rolt 1962
L. T. C. Rolt, George and Robert Stephenson, 1962.

Skeat 1973
W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973.

Smiles 1868
Samuel Smiles, George and Robert Stephenson, 1868.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.