Featured Brunel Print
Brunels tunnelling shield
The tunnelling shield, or excavating machine designed by Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769- 1849) & used in the construction of the lining of the Thames tunnel. The shield (right) consists of twelve frames, which could be edged forward independently, supporting the side of the tunnel while allowing bricklayers to work from it. A moveable stage enabled building materials to be brought up to the level of the advancing face of the lining. The tunnel, running under the Thames between Rotherhithe & Wapping, was begun by Sir Marc Brunel in 1825 & completed in 1873 after his death. It was designed for foot passengers & later taken over by London Underground
© SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Featured Brunel Print
First Christmas Card by Sir Henry Cole and John Horsley
Reputedly the first Christmas card, this was designed by Horsley in 1843, and a coloured version sent out by Sir Henry Cole in 1846.
Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London on 1 May 1843. The central picture shows three generations of a family raising a toast to the card's recipient: on either side are charity scenes including food and clothing being given to the poor. Allegedly the image of the family drinking wine together proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier. Two batches totaling 2, 050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each, and of those just a dozen are known to have survived.
We are offering reproduction prints of the original design. In 2001 an original version sold for a record 22, 500 pounds sterling at auction in Devizes, Wiltshire, England. After attracting bids from collectors in Britain and America, it eventually sold for the record-breaking price.
The auctioned card was especially sought after because it was sent by Sir Henry to his grandmother and aunt, and signed by the great Victorian.
John Callcott Horsley was an English painter, illustrator, and designer. Born in London on 29 January 1817, he was the grand-nephew of the English landscape painter Sir Augustus Callcott. His sister, Mary Elizabeth Horsley, was the wife of the famous British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Horsley studied painting at the Royal Academy where he met the painter Thomas Webster. His paintings were largely of historical subjects set in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, influenced by the Dutch masters Pieter de Hooch and Vermeer. From 1875 to 1897, Horsley was a rector and treasurer of the Royal Academy. Because he was strictly against nude models he earned the nickname "Clothes-Horsley".
Cole is credited with devising the concept of sending greeting cards at Christmas time
© Mary Evans Picture Library 2015 - https://copyrighthub.org/s0/hub1/creation/maryevans/MaryEvansPictureID/10021527
Featured Brunel Print
James Tangye (1825-1912) in his workshop at Aviary Court, Illogan, Cornwall. Around 1900
Mr James Tangye pictured in his workshop at his home, Aviary Court. He is seated, wearing a hat and holding a cane, amid various pieces of machinery. James was one of the five sons of Joseph Tangye senior, an Illogan miner, who commenced their engineering and manufacturing business together in Birmingham in 1856. James (1825-1912), the eldest, was very skilled with the lathe; Joseph (1826-1902) was the creative engineer; Richard (1833-1906) dealt with public relations and sales; George (1835-1920) was the businessman; while Edward (1832-1909), a Quaker, soon left to found his own business. Velocipedes, also known as Boneshakers, due to their iron tyres, were one of the many things that were manufactured at Tangye's Cornwall Works. The business also provided the hydraulic rams required to launch the Great Eastern, Brunel's ill-fated steel ship in 1857-1858, and to raise Cleopatra's Needle to its present position on the London Embankment in 1878. The first direct-acting steam pumps in Europe were made at the Cornwall Works in 1867 and the firm produced James Tangye's horizontal steam engines from 1869. By 1876 the firm employed 1300 workers. The Tangyes were also philanthropists and from 1880 were founders and major benefactors of the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum and the Birmingham School of Art. Upon his retirement in 1872, "James returned to Illogan, where he purchased Aviary Cottage - a smallish house in a gentle green valley sheltered from the sea and the mines. There he established his own workshop in which he could follow the craft which he truly enjoyed. He spent much of his time giving a free training to young men of the neighbourhood who wished to prepare for engineering careers, but who, in the prevailing depression of the Cornish tin industry, had not the means to pay for apprenticeship. James also fitted up his own observatory with telescope and sidereal clock so that he could seriously pursue his hobby of astronomy. He made many journeys back to Smethwick to give help and advice whenever it was needed, but he never again felt tempted to leave for long his native village, where he died in 1912". (Rachel E. Waterhouse, 1957, A Hundred Years of Engineering Craftsmanship, Tangyes Limited 1857-1957). Photographer: Unknown
© From the collection of the RIC