The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

First Previous 11 OF 13 NextLast

Conference of Engineers at the Menai Straits Preparatory to Floating one of the Tubes of the Britannia Bridge

11 of 13 portraits of Isambard Kingdom Brunel

© National Portrait Gallery, London

1 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Conference of Engineers at the Menai Straits Preparatory to Floating one of the Tubes of the Britannia Bridge

by James Scott, published by Henry Graves & Co, after John Lucas
mezzotint, published 25 January 1858
Purchased, 2017
Reference Collection
NPG D10713

Artistsback to top

  • Henry Graves & Co (active 1844-1899), Publishers. Artist associated with 230 portraits.
  • John Lucas (1807-1874), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 32 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • James Scott (circa 1809-circa 1889), Engraver. Artist associated with 133 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

Sittersback to top

  • George Parker Bidder (1806-1878), Engineer. Sitter in 5 portraits.
  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), Civil engineer. Sitter in 13 portraits.
  • Edwin Clark (1814-1894), Engineer. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Latimer Clark (1822-1898), Engineer. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Captain Claxton (active mid 19th century), Nautical engineering specialist. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Frank Forster (1800-1852), Civil engineer. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • John Hemingway (1795-1872), Stonemason; railway bridge and viaduct contractor. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Joseph Locke (1805-1860), Civil engineer. Sitter in 2 portraits.
  • Constantine Richard Moorsom (1792-1861), Vice-Admiral; Chairman of the London and North-Western Railway. Sitter in 5 portraits.
  • Alexander Ross (active mid 19th century), Civil engineer; resident engineer, Conway district. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Robert Stephenson (1803-1859), Civil engineer; son of George Stephenson. Sitter in 12 portraits.
  • Charles Heard Wild (1819-1857), Civil engineer. Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

An engraving after John Lucas' group portrait commissioned by the Institute of Civil Engineers, circa 1851-1853, to commemorate the building of the Britannia Bridge across the Menai Straits. The bridge, which formed a link from Chester to Holyhead and thus the Irish crossing, was one of the greatest achievements of Robert Stephenson, shown seated in the centre of the composition. In order to cover the span of the Straits, Stephenson devised a construction of massive wrought iron tubes, supported on mansonry piers.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG P4: Robert Stephenson (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 103 Read entry

    Engineering was a high-risk profession in the mid-nineteenth century, but both its status and public interest increased with the creation of vast new buildings and structures. This mezzotint captures a series of better-known figures (including Latimer Clark (1822-98), Edwin Clark (1814-94), Frank Forster (1800-52), George Parker Bidder (1806-78), Robert Stephenson, Joseph Locke (1805-60) and Isambard Kingdom Brunel) preparing to float one of the tubes of the Britannia Bridge. Such prints were popular in demonstrating the work of engineers to a broad audience. This one celebrates the co-operative spirit that persisted, despite commercial rivalry.

Placesback to top

Events of 1858back to top

Current affairs

After Palmerstone's government collapses, the Earl of Derby becomes Prime Minister for second time, again heading a minority government.
The Property qualification for MPs is abolished; one of the demands made by the Chartists, this allowed men who did not own property to stand as parliamentary candidates. Lionel Nathan Rothschild becomes the first Jew to sit in Britain's House of Commons, taking his oath on the Old Testament.

Art and science

The pianist Charles Hallé founds a symphony orchestra in Manchester, the Halle; now Britain's oldest professional orchestra. The Hallé symphony rose to prominence in the mid-20th century, under the tenure of conductor John Barbirolli, during which time they made many recordings, including Ralph Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 8.

International

The British Crown assumes control of India from the East India Company.
The Treaty of Tientsin, ending the Second Opium War, gives European powers new rights to intervene in Chinese affairs
The Fenian Brotherhood is founded by John O'Mahony, an Irish emigrant to the United States, to support Irish republican ambitions.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.