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Robert Stephenson

12 of 12 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Scientific discovery tour'

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Robert Stephenson

by John Lucas
oil on canvas
30 in. x 23 5/8 in. (763 mm x 601 mm)
Bequeathed by Dorothy Brown, 1985
Primary Collection
NPG 5792

Sitterback to top

  • Robert Stephenson (1803-1859), Civil engineer; son of George Stephenson. Sitter in 12 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • John Lucas (1807-1874), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 32 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Robert Stephenson, a civil engineer, designed and built the famous locomotive 'Rocket' for his father George Stephenson's Liverpool and Manchester railway. In this portrait by John Lucas his hand rests upon a drawing of one of his most advanced locomotives, many of which were in use throughout Europe and the United States. By the time the portrait was painted, in addition to his achievements as a mechanical engineer, Stephenson had also won fame and fortune as a railway builder. His first great project was the London to Birmingham railway which opened in 1838 after five years' work. He also built the bridge over the Menai Strait, a massive construction, in which the trains were to pass through vast wrought iron tubes suspended between brick towers.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Audio Guide
  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 102 Read entry

    Robert Stephenson, the son of George, supervised the building of the Rocket locomotive before becoming engineer for the London to Birmingham line. He and Brunel were rivals and they argued over the railway gauge, with Brunel believing - probably rightly - that a broader gauge would give stability and allow trains to travel faster. The battle was eventually fought in parliament, where Brunel lost his argument, because by then there were 1,900 miles of narrow-gauge and only 274 miles of broad-gauge track.

  • Hart-Davis, Adam, Chain Reactions, 2000, p. 155
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 587

Tell us more back to top

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Martin Hopkinson

11 July 2018, 21:00

Stephenson lent a portrait by Lucas of himself as no 23 in 1880 at the Arts Association, Newcastle upon Tyne Spring loan and sale exhibition

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