BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material
Lot 78
BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD)
Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material including the album (signed by both Brunels, the Chairman of the Thames Tunnel Company and others) in which the drawings were originally kept
Sold for £200,000 (US$ 267,548) inc. premium

Lot Details
BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD) Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material
BRUNEL (MARC ISAMBARD)
Archive of designs for and watercolours of the Thames Tunnel by Marc Isambard Brunel, Chief Engineer and instigator of the project, by his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Resident Engineer, Joseph Pinchback, chief mechanical draftsman, Richard Beamish, Assistant Engineer, and others; plus related material including the album (signed by both Brunels, the Chairman of the Thames Tunnel Company and others) in which the drawings were originally kept, drawings on wove paper unless otherwise stated, most with glue stains on verso from having been mounted in the album, plus usual dust-staining, small marginal tears, and other minor wear; many trimmed with resultant slight irregularity (all stated measurements therefore being approximate); many set in modern archival mounts [references to Beamish are to the official biography by Richard Beamish, Memoir of the Life of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, 1862; references to Brindle are to Steven Brindle, Brunel: The Man who Built the World, 2005, to whose identifying captions we are greatly indebted]; the collection as follows:

(i) Isambard Kingdom Brunel's autograph drawing showing his descent in a diving bell to inspect damage to the shield of the Thames Tunnel after the flood of May 1827, signed and dated ("I.K. Brunel/ 1827"), showing the bell suspended from a boat crewed by some twenty men, with two figures within the bell, one seated within, the other half out of the bell in order to inspect the damage, secured by rope to his companion, pen-and-ink on wove paper, 190 x 217mm., [London], [c. May] 1827 [a woodcut based on a variant drawing is reproduced by Beamish, Memoir, between pp.250 and 251: 'After many applications from Brunel to the Directors, the hire of a diving-bell was conceded; and with the utmost alacrity and kindness, Captain Parish despatched the one used by him at the West India Docks... By a further examination the shield was found to be in place, and by dropping almost out of the bell we were enabled to place one foot upon the back of the top staves, and the other on the brickwork of the arch (see cut). To fill the hole, and secure the work, Mr. Brunel directed that a number of saltpetre bags should be provided. These were filled with clay, and hazel rods run through them — the bags to prevent the clay being washed away, and the rods, by interlacing, to allow of their forming an arch. These were thrown into the river in such quantity, and with such effect, that on the fifth day the pumps were put to work' (pp.241 and 250); another variant, without the boat, is illustrated by Henry Law, A Memoir of the Several Operations and the Construction of the Thames Tunnel, 1857, plate 15; our drawing is reproduced by Brindle, p.61: 'A drawing signed by Isambard showing how he used a diving bell to inspect the river bed above the "Great Shield" following a breach. The hole in the river bed suggests that that this dates from the first flood in May 1827'; it is also reproduced in The Brunels' Tunnel, Brunel Museum, edited by Eric Kentley, 2006, p.39: 'Sketch by Isambard showing how he used the diving bell after the first inundation']

(ii) Cross-section of the whole tunnel (attributable to Brunel's chief mechanical draftsman, Joseph Pinchback), showing it extending half way across the river, including the Rotherhithe shaft plus sump and nearby buildings, watercolour, paper watermarked 1831, on two sheets folded in three, 540 x 1550mm. [Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99]

(iii) "Isometrical projection of one of the Twelve Iron Frames forming the Shield/ shewing the manner in which the ground in front was altogether supported", headed "One Frame", signed "R. Beamish", watercolour, 520 x 420mm.; together with a small engraving after the watercolour [woodcut after our drawing reproduced by Beamish, between pp.220 and 221: 'During the operations above described, the great shield had been nearly completed by Maudslay, and on the 15th of October, two of the twelve frames of which it was composed, were lowered into the shaft and placed in position. The accompanying isometrical sketch of one of the frames will convey some idea of its constituent parts. On the right is the representation of a portion of the ground in front. Against the ground the poling boards supported in place by the poling screws, resting or abutting against the cast-iron frames. On the top the top staves, at the bottom the shoes attached to legs. The large propelling screws are omitted, but may be seen in the small section at page 223, which includes the stage from which the building materials employed in the upper portion of the work were supplied. The frame will be seen to have been divided into three compartments or cells, each division being 3 feet broad and 21 feet 4 inches high; the 12 frames forming therefore together 36 cells, in which the miners worked independently of one another. Each frame stood upon two iron legs fitted with ball-joints to iron shoes, and which, as will be subsequently shown, very much resembled in their action the human leg and foot. The floors of each division formed so many stages for the bricklayers, who, by working with their backs to the miners, allowed the double operation of mining and bricklaying to be carried on simultaneously...' The support afforded to the ground above, and at the sides, formed a peculiarly interesting and important portion of this machine, and was that which presented the greatest difficulty, and caused Brunel the greatest anxiety in its projection...' (pp.220-1); our original reproduced by Brindle, p.59: 'A watercolour by Marc Brunel [sic] showing one of the twelve sections of the "Great Shield"'; the print similarly attributed in The Brunels' Tunnel, p.29]

(iv) "State in which the Polling boards were found after the eruption of the river & the water had been pumped out", with dates indicated at the head showing progress between December 14 and December 16, initialled [?] "Wm H." [possibly William, brother of Benjamin Hawes and friend of Isambard Kingdom Brunel], pen-and-ink with pencil subscription, modern backing, 325 x 415mm. (illustrated at page 61)

(v) Three miners at work in the tunnel, watercolour, ink border at top and right hand side (i.e. cut from a larger sheet), 260 x 435mm. [Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99: 'shows how the miners would dig forward, and the whole shield would be driven forward by hydraulics, in exactly the way that was eventually used, on a larger scale, in the "Great Shield"']

(vi) Section of one of the iron frames comprising the shield, signed and dated "A.H.C./ June 1836", watercolour, 430 x 510mm.

(vii ) "Mode of Sinking the Shaft" (attributable to Joseph Pinchback), showing the Rotherhithe shaft surmounted by a steam engine powering buckets-and-pulley soil extraction, with miners digging at the face, watercolour, 290 x 505mm. [Reproduced in woodcut by Beamish, Memoir, between pp.212-213, captioned 'Section of Shaft in Process of Being Sunk': 'In three weeks the shaft or tower, weighing 910 tons, was completed, each bricklayer laying one thousand bricks a day. Much delay now occurred in consequence of the rapidity with which the preliminary operations had been conducted under the superintendence of Mr. Armstrong, the resident engineer, aided most effectually by young Isambard Brunel (then only in his nineteenth year), who already exhibited a physical energy and intellectual vigour which gave no ordinary promise of future greatness. The steam-engine which was to work the pumps, as well as the buckets (by which the excavated soil was removed, and which, in consequence of a considerable influx of water, became of economic importance), were not forthcoming. In effect, upwards of one hundred men formed but an imperfect substitute for a 14-horse power steam-engine. At length the operations had to be suspended until the steam-engine could be applied. Some days were thus lost, during which time the water rose fifteen feet in the shaft. By the 16th May [1825] a steam-engine was fixed on the top of the shaft, and the work proceeded with renewed vigour' (pp.212 and 214); Beamish's woodcut also reproduced in The Brunels' Tunnel, p.31; our drawing reproduced by Brindle, pull-out plate, pp.98-99, as showing 'the Rotherhithe shaft being sunk']

(viii) Section of the tunnel, shield and movable stage (attributable to Joseph Pinchback), watercolour, 300 x 515mm. [showing one the arches not yet cut out from the encasing brickwork; a version of this, the original drawing, with somewhat crudely-drawn figures added, was widely distributed as a souvenir print as illustrated in The Brunels' Tunnel, p.33 (see also the print listed below); a woodcut copy is printed by Beamish, Memoir, p.223, with the caption 'Section Showing Movable Storage and Propelling Screws': 'A movable stage immediately behind the shield, to receive the building materials for the upper portion of the work, constituted the whole of the mechanical arrangements']

(ix) Section with overlay (attributable to Joseph Pinchback), the under section showing the shield with its twelve iron frames as seen from the front, the overlay placing the brick-work double tunnel entrance over it, watercolour, 290 x 495mm.

(x) Design for his tunnelling shield, comprising four composite views, marked as figures 1-4, showing views of the hydraulic pumps propelling the shield, two with miners at work on the face, annotated in pencil with calculations of tons extracted per feet, grisaille washes, 515 x 505mm. [Reproduced by Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99, described as a variation of his patent design with squared-off sides]

(xi) Section of the tunnel, showing on the left a stagecoach riding through the tunnel, to the centre and right men at work in the shield, with partial ink border (cut from a larger sheet), watercolour, 355 x 270mm. [Reproduced by Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99]

(xii) Section of a tripartite shield, with twelve miners at work in the shield, with partial ink border (seemingly a companion to the previous drawing and originally part of the same sheet), watercolour, 270 x 270mm. [Reproduced by Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99]

(xiii) "Coupe d'une Tonnelle/ pour le service des gens de pied, prise dans toute/ son étendue", captioned seemingly in Marc Isambard's hand and signed by his chief mechanical draftsman, Joseph Pinchback ("Drawn by J. Pinchback 1824") [employed by Brunel from March 1824], with scale of feet below, watercolour, one sheet folded into four, torn and stained, 300 x 1240mm. [Reproduced by Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99]

(xiv) Autograph sketch-plan by Brunel showing two sections of the proposed cylindrical tunnel, one empty, the other with a coach passing through with wounded veteran and prosperous gentleman across the divide, dated "10 April 1818", and captioned "Two Tunnels of 17 f[eet]. D[iameter] each would be preferable to one of 24 feet", pen-and-ink, 205 x 300mm. [Reproduced by Brindle, fold-out plate, pp.98-99: '[executed] when Marc was envisaging his tunnel as being cylindrical in form'; and in The Brunels' Tunnel, p.27: 'An early sketch by Marc when he was still considering a circular shield for tunnelling: note the disabled war veteran']

(xv) "Timbering for the Removal of the Old Shield/ Side Timbering", signed "Rich. Beamish", headed, watercolour, cut from a larger sheet, 520 x 280mm.

(xvi) "Cross Section of the Tunnel showing the extent of displaced ground" at Trinity High Water and Low Water, signed by Joseph Pinchback ("J. Pinchback del"), watercolour, 290 x 510mm. [reproduced from a woodcut by Beamish, Memoir, between pp.248 and 249, where captioned 'Cross Section of the Tunnel and Longitudinal Section of the River, Showing the Extent of Cavity Formed by the Irruption'; also reproduced by Brindle, p.62, as 'showing the effects the first flood had on the tunnel' (although not by Brunel, as suggested by him)]

(xvii) Longitudinal section (attributable to Joseph Pinchback), showing the inundation of the river into the workings and the mass of bagged clay dropped on a raft into the river bed to fill the gap, with the Brunels' engineering assistant Richard Beamish examining the state of the shield with the aid of a bull's-eye lantern, his companion in a boat; feint caption in pencil "No. 8", watercolour, 610 x 240mm. [reproduced in reverse by Beamish, from a woodcut, Memoir, between pp.252 and 253, captioned 'First Visit to the Shield after the First Irruption of the River': 'On the 27th a passage was obtained for a boat, and taking with me two of the miners, Woodward and Pamphilon, in whom I could confide, we succeeded in approaching within about 120 feet of the frames. Here we encountered the ground brought in by the irruption. Leaving the men in the boat, and supplied with a bull's-eye lantern, I scrambled my way into the frames (see cut). It would be difficult, after a lapse of thirty-five years, to re-awaken that enthusiasm which once filled the public mind; and to transcribe the expressions of admiration for the mechanical genius of Brunel which are recorded in my journal, would now appear exaggeration and rhapsody. I therefore content myself with a simple statement of the condition in which I found the shield after it had resisted the whole force of a mighty river. The frames were firmly in place, with the top staves level. The boxes or cells were about one-fourth filled with silt and clay, and the bags which formed the artificial bed protruded in the front and back of the frames, as though ready to discharge their contents upon my head. The whole of the cells opposite the western arch were quite filled with silt and clay. Water flowed in a strong stream in the east corner. The appearance was most satisfactory, and I hastened to communicate the result to Mr. Brunel' (pp.252-3); a slightly reworked variant, also in reverse, is reproduced by Henry Law, A Memoir of the Several Operations and the Construction of the Thames, 1857, plate 16; our drawing is reproduced by Brindle, p. 62: 'Coloured view... showing... the mass of bagged clay dropped onto the river bed to fill the gap, and a figure exploring the flooded tunnel by raft' (although not by Brunel, as suggested); a detail is reproduced in The Brunels' Tunnel, Brunel Museum, p.38, where it is also attributed to Brunel and the figure identified as his son]

(xviii) Engineering drawings for a tunnel in cast iron, dated "10 April 1818", and extensively annotated in French and English by Brunel, with notes on brickwork laid in cement and of the cast iron shell indicating thickness at the crown and sides; subscribed "The Cast Iron for a Tunnel of this nature will not exceed 200 Tons for every 100 feet run including the drain", pen-and-ink, 325 x 205mm. [reproduced by Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99, as a sketch of c.1818 'when Marc was envisaging his tunnel as being cylindrical in form']

(xix) Cylindrical tunnelling shield, two views, one with a miner at work, cut from a larger sheet with ink-ruled border at left-hand and lower edge (conjoint with xx), watercolour, 500 x 270mm. [Reproduced by Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-99, as being Brunel's 'patent design of 1818 for a cylindrical tunnelling shield'] (illustrated at page 61)

(xx) Cylindrical tunnelling shield with crank (apparently for propelling cast-iron segments into place), cut from a larger sheet (conjoint with xix), with scale of feet, dated "September 1818", watercolour, 255 x 435mm.

(xxi) "Transverse section of the Thames tunnel and strata...", extensively annotated, and signed with monogram [?] "R.P.", inscribed to Brunel's son-in-law Benjamin Hawes MP, dated "3 March 1837", watercolour, 190 x 310mm.

(xxii) "Longitudinal section of part of Thames tunnel showing the state of the strata and covering after the Run of Sand", signed with monogram [?] "R.P.", inscribed to Brunel's son-in-law Benjamin Hawes MP, dated "3 March 1837", watercolour, 190 x 310mm.

(xxiii) Longitudinal section showing the Rotherhithe shaft with the first section of tunnel constructed, with two miners in profile working at the upper and lower sections of the shield, two gentlemen inspecting the works [? Brunel and a visitor], and a miner wheeling away soil in a barrow, cut from a larger sheet, watercolour, 280 x 590mm. [Brindle, fold-out plate pp.98-9: 'the completed [Rotherhithe] shaft with the first section of the tunnel to be constructed, c. January 1826']

(xxiv) Two small drawings, one a wash view of [?] the shield, the other a pen-and-ink study, presumably by Beamish, of the timbering for the removal of the old shield, 128 x 90mm. and 123 x 104mm.

(xxv) Lithographic overview and cross section of the 'Great Descents', after Joseph Pinchback, captioned in ink: "Thames Tunnel/ Plan and Section showing the proposed Pumping Well at Wapping and drain from thence to the Shield forming the 1st article in Mr Brunel's Estimate for the completion of the Tunnel – the section shews the dip of the Strata towards the Middlesex Shore", lithograph, section cut from sheet, 310 x 520 and 575mm. [Brindle p.55: 'A cross-section and plan showing the "Great Descents", spiral ramps through which horses and wheeled traffic were to use the tunnel: they were never built. Rotherhithe Church is marked just to the left of the tunnel'] (illustrated overleaf)

(xxvi) Lithographic overview of the 'Great Descents' (similar to the previous but in a smaller format and omitting the tunnel cross-section), lithographed by Warrington after Pinchback; marked up by Brunel, with in the margin pencilled calculations as to the length of tunnel required for completion, and in the map itself in ink with the same calculations (marked as 727ft 9in at the position of the shield, plus notes of the position of the old shield, compass points, etc.), 128 x 280mm. [this annotated impression reproduced and enlarged in The Brunels' Tunnel, pp.48-9]

(xxvii) Group of prints including a small coloured lithograph of the shield, a framed lithograph of the Rotherhithe entrance, a framed steel engraving of the Wapping entrance, inscribed by a member of the family, and a lithograph section of the whole tunnel with three vignettes of the movable stage and other views below [as illustrated by Chrimes, May and Elton in The Triumphant Bore: A Celebration of Marc Brunel's Thames Tunnel, p.58]

(xxviii) Institution of Civil Engineers: certificate awarding Marc Isambard Brunel the Thomas Telford Silver Medal "...in testimony of the high sense entertained by this Institution of the Benefits conferred by him on the Profession of the Civil Engineer by the design and construction of the Shield at The Thames Tunnel and in acknowledgement of the valuable Drawings of the Shield presented by him to this Institution", calligraphic manuscript executed in imitation of engraving, signed by President and Secretary, London, 15 January 1839, on one sheet of vellum, folio

(xxix) Printed ephemera, including a commemorative silk kerchief printed with a view of fashionable visitors within the tunnel and panoramas at the borders, stapled and mounted, in fragile condition with losses, c.800mm. square; and a cardboard cut-out printed model of the shield and tunnel arches, with Brunel showing a visitor the works (it has been suggested that this is more probably a demonstration model rather than souvenir), remains of case and two sheets of passe-partout mounted glass, c.120 x 180 x 95mm.

(xxx) The original oblong folio album into which most of the above drawings were pasted, one page signed by the Chairman of the Thames Tunnel Company, G.H. Wollaston, and dated 1834, and by Marc Isambard Brunel, Engineer, his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Assistant Engineer, and by Richard Beamish, William Gravatt, Thomas Eagle (Acting Engineer, 8 August 1837) and the solicitors Sweet & Carr, half Russia, covers loose, worn, oblong folio

Footnotes

  • 'THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORLD' – THE BRUNEL ARCHIVE OF DESIGNS FOR THE THAMES TUNNEL, FROM THE FAMILY ALBUM SIGNED BY MARC ISAMBARD BRUNEL AND HIS SON ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL, the Chairman of the Thames Tunnel Company, and others: 'The story of the construction of the Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel ever to be driven beneath a major body of water, is one of the epics of engineering history. It played a pivotal role in the lives of the Brunels, father and son, effectively concluding Marc's career in an immensely drawn-out act, and starting Isambard's' (Brindle, p.52). Rio Lydon has described it as 'the world's first subaqueous tunnel' and one which 'spurred an innovation revolution': 'It was not the first attempt at constructing an underwater tunnel in London -- Ralph Dodd, Robert Vaszie and the notable engineer Richard Trevithick had all previously tried and failed – and Brunel's success in doing so was hailed an engineering triumph. Yet this triumph did not come without serious delay; floods and financial issues caused construction of the tunnel, which Brunel estimated would take between two and three years to complete, to take eighteen years in total. The Thames Tunnel was labelled the "Eighth Wonder of the World" by contemporaries and has been hailed as the first great innovation in modern day tunnelling. The tunnel's most important innovation was Brunel's shield. The shield -- 38 feet wide by 22.5 feet high, containing 36 cells in twelve frames over three levels -- became the prototype for all future shield construction. Adaptations by Peter Barlow and James Greathead have been credited with the birth of London Underground, the world's first underground railway... More recently, elements of Brunel's shield were present on the digging shields used during the construction of the Channel Tunnel. It is evident that the Thames Tunnel had a significant impact in terms of innovation' (The Eighth Wonder of the World: How might access for vehicles have prevented the economic failure of the Thames Tunnel 1843-1865?, Working Paper 171/12, Department of Economic History, London School of Economics, 2012).

    As far as we are aware, the only other comparable archive is the 'elaborate and beautiful set of drawings of the shield of the Thames Tunnel' which Brunel presented to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1837, and for which he received their Silver Medal (the certificate that went with it still being in the archive that is now presented for sale). Remarkably, in awarding Brunel their Silver Medal, the Institution felt that his draftsman deserved a like award: 'Feeling, also, that the beauty of the drawings justly merited some mark of approbation, they determined on presenting the draftsman, Mr Pinchback, with a bronze medal in testimony thereof' (Institution of the Civil Engineers Report for 1838, extracted in Mechanic's Magazine, Museum, Register, Journal & Gazette, vol. xxx, 1839, p.333).

    Closer study than hitherto possible of the drawings in our collection makes it clear that many of these, too, were executed by Pinchback: not only are several examples signed by him, but several unsigned drawings are so well executed and so close in style that his authorship seems highly likely (especially in the striking manner in which his watercolours mimic the aquatint process when depicting geological strata). His meticulous technique – allied to its overall effect – is remarkable: take, for example his depiction of shadows cast by figures within the tunnel or, in the large fold-out section (item ii above), the way in which he carefully delineates everyday objects such as a table and Windsor Chair, not to mention each individual brick in adjacent buildings.

    Outstanding though the drawings presented to the Institution of Civil Engineers are, the present archive encompasses a greater range both as to date and to style; for example alongside the highly-finished work of Pinchback are to be found Marc Isambard's own rough sketches for his first, or very early, concept of the tunnelling shield, when it was envisaged as being round rather than rectangular as constructed (the form in fact that later tunnelling shields were to adopt, thanks to advances in technology).

    The pre-eminent status of this collection is further indicated by the fact that, in writing the official biography, Richard Beamish, drew on this, the family collection, for his illustrations, namely the 'cuts' at pages 212-3, 220-1, 223, 248-9, 250-1 (a variant on our drawing), and 252-3; only the originals of the illustrations at pages 208-9 and 267 not being found here, the latter reproducing a commercially-produced souvenir print.
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