Early Railway Prints: A Social History of Railways from 1825 to 1850
With 98 illustrations, including 31 colour plates The social and economic impact of the railway in the first years of its development — from 1825 to 1850 — was enormous. Viewed as a major civilizing force, the railway carved its way across the landscape, linking towns and the surrounding countryside and contributing to the growth of a sense of national identity. Millions of pounds were spent on its construction and millions of people owed their livelihood directly or indirectly to it. Not surprisingly, its progress and achievements were celebrated in aquatints, engravings and lithographs, which provide a visual record not only of the technology of the early railway but also of the social changes it brought about. These prints were immensely popular with the Victorian public and reflect contemporary belief in progress, and pride in the great engineering feats of the day. Great tunnels, embankments, cuttings and viaducts are depicted as heroic accomplishments rather than as raw scars on the face of Britain. Stations are generally sunny and bright, crowds orderly and enthusiastic. Encouraged by the railway companies, the artists adopted an air of confidence and optimism inviting the viewer to wonder and to admire, and to forget the spoliation of the landscape and the homes demolished — as many as 4,000 for St Pancras Station and its approach lines alone. The prints reproduced here have been chosen from several collections, notably the Elton Collection, which contains many prints of exceptional quality and has only recently become available at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Salop. Early Railway Prints will prove an invaluable source of information, both for the amateur and professional historian, and will appeal to all who are captivated by the romance of the railway era.
Hardback with dust jacket, 128 pages, black & white and colour illustrations
Condition: Good/Very Good
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