Important acquisitions

[40 photographs of the Forth Rail Bridge ]

Author Phillips, Philip
Title [40 photographs of the Forth Rail Bridge ]
Imprint
Date of Publication [1887]
Language English
Notes The Forth Railway Bridge, begun in 1883 and completed in 1890, was the world's first major steel bridge. It is still in use today, and has become an icon of Scotland and of Victorian engineering. Photographs of the bridge are ubiquitous, found on postcards, in books and magazines. The photographs here, however, capture the development of the bridge at weekly or fortnightly intervals in 1886-1887, and appear to be extremely rare. These 40 silver gelatin prints, each measuring approximately 17 x 23 inches, are by the photographer Philip Phillips, son of Joseph Phillips, who was one of the contractors. Several prints bear his monogram 'PP'. They are of a very high quality, showing an extraordinary degree of detail down to individual rivets. The bridge is captured from a variety of angles; there are close-ups of particular sections as well as landscape shots. The first photograph has been doctored to show an accurate impression of the bridge when finished. Number 8, taken on 12 December 1886, has the amusing addition of a pencil sketch of a steam train on the track. It seems extraordinary that these photographs have not been recorded or used elsewhere. Only one, no. 21, seems to have been used in another book by Phillips, 'The Forth Bridge in its various stages of construction', [1889], where it appears as no. XVII. In his book 'The Forth Railway Bridge', Edinburgh: 1890, Phillips describes in an appendix a series of 'special' plates published separately. He goes on to give a detailed description of the 40 plates, which provides vital information about this set. Intriguingly, Phillips notes that there are 'about sixty more' such photographs: perhaps these may yet turn up on the market.
Shelfmark RB.l.229
Reference Sources http://www.forthbridges.org.uk/railbridgemain.htm
Acquired on 04/05/05
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