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Sir Marc Isambard Brunel

6 of 58 portraits by Samuel Drummond

Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, by Samuel Drummond, circa 1835 -NPG 89 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Sir Marc Isambard Brunel

by Samuel Drummond
circa 1835
50 in. x 40 in. (1270 mm x 1016 mm)
NPG 89

This portraitback to top

The portrait was offered to the NPG accompanied by a certificate from the artist's son: 'I certify that Sir Marc Isambard Brunel sat to my father the late Mr Saml Drummond A.R.A. for his Portrait exhibited at the Royal Academy 1836, which I disposed of to Mr Jas. Roffway of Huggin Lane Cheapside [signed] Julian Drummond Feby 11th 1846'. The portrait was accepted but not without a protest from Brunel's daughter, Lady Hawes, who described it as 'not only a bad likeness but a most unpleasant picture'; she suggested that a copy of Northcote's picture could be made for less money, and indeed presented the Gallery with an impression of Turner's mezzotint of the Northcote which the family had always considered a good likeness (letters and Julian Drummond's certificate in NPG archive).

Physical descriptionback to top

Three-quarter-length to right aged about 65 wearing gold spectacles, seated in a red-upholstered armchair; black suit, white shirt and cravat, brown eyes, fresh rosy complexion; on a table beside him a safety-lamp, cotton-winding machine, model of a lighthouse, and a clip containing books, manuscripts and plans; in right background is the picture of the Thames Tunnel painted by Thomas Bury (aquatint by John Harris published 1835); crimson curtain left.

Provenanceback to top

The artist's son Julian Drummond who in 1846 disposed of it to James Roffway and bought from him 1859.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1836 (236); Guildhall library 1900-11; Home Office 1914; 'Art and the Industrial Revolution' Manchester 1968 (18); 'Brunel Bicentenary' Science Museum 1969.


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.

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