Sir Daniel Gooch, 1st Bt
8 of 20 portraits on display in Room 27 at the National Portrait Gallery
Sir Daniel Gooch, 1st Bt
by Sir Francis Grant
oil on canvas, 1872
56 in. x 44 in. (1422 mm x 1118 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Sir Daniel Gooch, 1st Bt (1816-1889), Railway pioneer and inventor. Sitter in 5 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Francis Grant (1803-1878), Portrait painter and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 101 portraits, Sitter associated with 22 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Sir Daniel Gooch was appointed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as locomotive superintendent of the Great Western Railway at the age of twenty-one. He designed the finest locomotives of the period and in 1865 became Chairman of the G.W.R. and rescued it from bankruptcy. In 1866 he supervised the laying of the transatlantic cable between Britain and North America. A country gentleman and an MP at the time this portrait was painted, Gooch nonetheless holds a pair of dividers as a symbol of his work as a railway engineer. The view in the distance is suggestive of his native Northumberland moors and the panting dog is a black retriever. Retrievers, a relatively new group, were originally developed in Britain specifically as gun dogs from crossings principally between Newfoundlands and labradors.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 107
- Gibson, Robin, The Face in the Corner: Animal Portraits from the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, 1998, p. 61
- Robin Gibson, Pets in Portraits, 2015, p. 94
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 252
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1872back to top
Current affairsThe (Secret) Ballot Act is passed. By ending open voting in local and general elections, the act reduced the scope for intimidation at hustings, an important step towards democracy. Previously, voters had to mount a platform and announce their choice of candidate to a recording officer, so although most working men had already been enfranchised, employers were able to punish workers who did not vote for their preferred candidate.
Art and scienceGeorge Eliot's novel Middlemarch is published. Exploring the impact of the 1832 Reform Act on provincial England, and charting the changes in class, politics, art and science in the nineteenth-century, Eliot's novel is widely perceived to be one of the best examples of the English realist novel.
InternationalThe Metaphysical Club is formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by William James (brother of author Henry James), Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr, and Charles Sanders Peirce. The group begins to develop the American philosophy of pragmatism, which held that ideas were simply mental constructs that people formed to help them cope with the world, but which did not exist in an ideal realm.
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On display in Room 27 at the National Portrait Gallery
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