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Regency Portraits Catalogue

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

Many of the George Stephenson relics are housed in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, of which he was founder, and in the Institution of Civil Engineers (here abbreviated to IME and ICE); a Brief Guide to the Centenary Celebrations held 9-13 June 1947 was published by the IME Council in 1947.

1809
Oil by an unknown artist in IME, profile to left reputed to be George Stephenson, reproduced W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973, p 27.

1827
Oil by J. P. Knight in private collection, three-quarter-length seated to left with gold watch-chain and 'Rocket' to left, painted for William Allcard in 1827.

c.1829
Drawing by Moses Haughton known from a lithograph by Engelmann Graf & Co (impression in IME), half-length seated holding a drawing of the 'Rocket', reproduced W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973, p 93.

1830
Medal by T. Halliday with profile to left was struck to commemorate the opening of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway on 15 September 1830 (example in IME).

1831-2
Marble busts by Christopher Moore in Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle, exhibited Liverpool Academy 1832 and SBA 1832 (849); a plaster model dated 1831 was destroyed in the Crystal Palace fire 1936; a mezzotint by William Lucas was published in 1857.

1836
Miniature by Mary Hamilton in the Science Museum exhibited RA 1836 (735), three-quarter-length seated holding drawings of the Sankey Viaduct, reproduced Jack Gould, Thomas Brassey, 1975, Lifelines 36, p 7.

1838
Oil by H. P. Briggs in IME, mezzotint by Charles Turner published 7 June 1838.

c.1840
Watercolour drawing by an unknown artist in IME, small head and shoulders aged c.60, white hair, grey eyes.

1844-6
Marble busts by Joseph Pitts (see NPG 261).

1845
Oils by Pickersgill (see NPG 410).

1846
Oil by William Daniels in V&A Museum (364/72), exhibited Third Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1868 (490) lent by Sir Joshua Walmsley, three-quarter-length holding viaduct design in right hand, possibly a copy of Mrs Hamilton's miniature of 1836; Daniels exhibited a portrait of Walmsley RA 1846.

1847
Oil by John Lucas in IME, painted in 1847, exhibited at Graves Gallery, Pall Mall in 1848 (The Athenaeum, 3 June 1848), engraved by T. L. Atkinson 1849 and exhibited RA 1851 (721), whole-length standing in black with the railway over Chat Moss in background. Head and shoulders replica and a whole-length variant with a viaduct in background signed and dated: John Lucas fecit/1849 also in IME, reproduced in W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973 as frontispiece. Lucas's son mentions five replicas painted by Lucas for Sir Morton Peto and others between 1848 and 1853 (Arthur Lucas, John Lucas Portrait Painter, 1910, p 113); a whole-length replica of the Chat Moss variety is in ICE great hall, and a copy by C. Hayes is in Newcastle University. Lucas's group of Stephenson and his son Robert in ICE was painted for Peto in 1851 and another imaginary group, known as 'The Birth of the Locomotive', is in the Science Museum. Lucas's head of George Stephenson was used for the IME library book-plate designed by J. R. G. Exley.

c.1848
Statue by John Gibson in Liverpool, commissioned by the Liverpool & Manchester & Grand Junction Companies, was 'on its way to England' when Stephenson died (Samuel Smiles, George and Robert Stephenson, 1868, p 503); it was exhibited RA 1851 (1267) and set up in St George's Hall, Liverpool in 1851.

1854
Statue by E. H. Baily in Euston Station was set up in 1854 (The Times, 11 April 1854, 10a); a copy is in the National Railway Museum, York, and a stipple engraving by J. H. Baker was published in the Art Journal, 1858, p 372; Baily used as a model the Lucas whole-length of Stephenson on Chat Moss.

Bust by Matthew Noble exhibited RA 1854 (1489).

1857
Oil by Lucas in the Science Museum, London, was commissioned in 1857 and shows the whole Stephenson family with miner's lamp, 'Rocket', Chat Moss, Wylan Cottage, etc, reproduced W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973, p 157 and Donald Smith, Robert Stephenson, 1973, Lifelines 8, p 4.

Marble bust by E. W. Wyon in Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle was executed in 1857 for his nephew G. R. Stephenson, reproduced in Illustrated London News, 11 December 1858, p 555 and exhibited RA 1859 (130); a copy has been presented by the IME to Wylam, Stephenson's birthplace near Newcastle; a marble copy by C. H. Mabey 1899 is in the ICE; a small Wedgwood Carrara copy published 12 March 1858 is in the IME and another was at Sotheby's (Belgravia) 5 October 1978 (42). Wyon's bust was used for the profile of Stephenson in the 1881 centenary medal by T. P. Chapman of which a gold example was in the Sicilian Gallery, London, in 1981; a red wax impression is in the ICE library. The profile was also used for the George Stephenson Research Medal awarded by the IME (W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973, p 255), and for a medal by A. F. commemorating the Jubilee Meeting of the Birmingham Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1897.

1861
Oil by Alfred Rankley in the IME, 'George Stephenson giving lessons in embroidery to Edward Pease's daughters at Darlington in 1823', was exhibited RA 1861 (309), reproduced W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973, p 86.

Statue by J. G. Lough in Neville Street, Newcastle, whole-length supported at the base by figures of a pitman, mechanic, engine-driver and plate-layer, 'the finest and most appropriate statue' to his memory, the head 'in this noble work is massive, characteristic and faithful' (Samuel Smiles, George and Robert Stephenson, 1868, p 504 and reproduced W. O. Skeat, George Stephenson, 1973, 235).

Undated
Cast iron bust in the IME, painted white, was presented by a member in 1848; a reduced version 7 ½ in high, also without inscription, is in the Museum of Science and Industry, Birmingham.

Wax bust by Richard Cockle Lucas was lent to the IME Centenary Exhibition 1947 (54) by the Director of the Great Western Railway.



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.