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Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the launching chains of the Great Eastern

Robert Howlett1857 (made) - 1857

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum
London, United Kingdom

Albumen print. Howlett, Robert. Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Launching Chains of the 'Great Eastern' 1857; 1857; Howlett, Robert. Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Launching Chains of the 'Great Eastern' 1857

Details

  • Title: Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the launching chains of the Great Eastern
  • Date Created: 1857 (made) - 1857
  • Location Created: Great Britain, Britain
  • Type: Photograph
  • External Link: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O82798
  • photographer: Robert Howlett
  • Subjects Depicted: Brunel, Isambard Kingdom; chain
  • Place Part Of: Britain
  • More Information: This famous portrait was taken as part of a series of photographs by Robert Howlett that documents the construction of the massive steamship The Great Eastern on the banks of the Thames. It is a powerful image in which the British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), who was the ship’s creator, projects all the confidence and ambition of the Victorian era. Howlett portrays Brunel in his ‘stove-pipe’ hat and stacked-heel boots to give him height and presence. His formal clothes are dishevelled and muddied from the site. The backdrop is dominated by the chains of the stern checking drum. This controlled the slow slide of the ship down to the water’s edge, where it was launched by being lifted on the tide.
  • Materials and Techniques: Albumen print from wet collodion on glass negative
  • Dimensions: Height: 28.7 cm, Width: 23.2 cm

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