James Watt and the Steam Engine - Mezzotint engraving by James Scott after the painting by J E Lauder

James Watt and the Steam Engine

Mezzotint engraving by James Scott after the painting by J E Lauder, 1860

In this view Watt is shown as a passionate 'philosopher' rather than an engineer, solving the engine riddle through brain power! His intense concentration and the glancing light recall earlier studies of Enlightenment philosophers [scientists?] by Joseph Wright of Derby, such as An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump and The Orrery.

This romantic re-imagining of Watt's early work on the steam engine shows how Watt's achievements were taken to heart and celebrated by a Victorian industrial society whose prosperity was in large part based on steam power. It remains an invigorating image today.

 

 
Currently on display in:
James Watt and our World
Inventory number :
1943-183