Isambard Kingdom Brunel - a rare and comprehensive set of architect's drawing curves, circa 1850,
Lot 370A
Isambard Kingdom Brunel - a rare and comprehensive set of architect's drawing curves, circa 1850,
Sold for £27,500 (US$ 45,105) inc. premium

Lot Details
Isambard Kingdom Brunel - a rare and comprehensive set of architect's drawing curves, circa 1850,
Isambard Kingdom Brunel - a rare and comprehensive set of architect's drawing curves,
circa 1850,
approximately 114 drawing arcs, each of finely sawn best mahogany, hand-written ink curve ratio measurement in script, most bearing the I.K.B 18 DUKE STREET - WESTMINSTER stamp also in black ink to centre-top, edges showing signs of repeated use, some with period strenghening cards pasted to the ends, within period associated light mahogany case with interior fittings removed - the longest curve 22in. (56cm) long, the shortest 4.1/2in. (11.5cm), the case width 25in. (64cm)

Footnotes

  • Engineer, a mastermind of technical accomplishment and ahead of his time, I. K. Brunel is still one of the most respected civil engineers despite passing away over 150 years ago.

    Setting up home in Duke Street following his marriage to Elizabeth Horsley in 1836, it quickly became both home and office. Such was the overcrowding, he purchased the house next door (number 17), knocked it into one and continued to work and live there until he suffered a stroke in 1859. Following his death in the same year, the office closed and his enlarged house sold.
    A great number of items and effects from this address were split up and either given to the workforce, sold on or disposed of in the year of 1860 and although many instruments were made and bore the IKB stamp, not many surviving in the present day have the Duke St. address in full.

    Correspondence accompanying this set includes a bill of sale from the 1950s from a Mrs. E. Wilson of Bosham, Chichester, selling "Drawing Board, "T" Square and sundry Drawing Office Equipment', to a W. W. Humphreys of Emsworth, Hampshire for the sum of £15.0s.0d. The other instruments are not currently located.

    Drawing curves such as these were commonplace before the 'flexicurve' was invented in the 1960s. A full set consisting of nearly 300 curves were available to the workers drawing out ship plans, railway line routes and bridge work. The curves in this set are of the generic sizes going up in stages of 1/16-inch and do not point towards either the broad gauge which Brunel used (7'0") or what was to become the standard new gauge, which still stands today at 4'8-1/2".

    The current vendor has family connections to the name shown on the bill of sale from the 50s, and confirms that W. Humphreys was connected to the field of architecture and drawing.

    This is likely to be the most comprehensive drawing curve set to be offered to the market bearing the I.K.B. stamp.
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