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Take a look at how both artists and scientists make scientific activity visual and shape how we see science. Our artworks range across painting, drawing, print and sculpture from the 1500s to today.
Coalbrookdale by Night
Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg
Painting, [Coalbrookdale by Night] / by Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, 1801. Oil on canvas; 68x106.7cm, in gilt frame 85.5x124x7cm. Signed and dated br. Exhibited as 'A View of Colebrook Dale by night' at Royal Academy London, 1801 (cat. 54). Featuring night work at the Bedlam furnaces in Madeley Dale (i.e. Coalbrookdale) along the river Severn, Shropshire. Open coke hearths give off vivid flames and smoke. Archetypal image of the Industrial Revolution. Information sheet available
Terence Tenison Cuneo
Painting. [Waterloo Station] / by Terence Cuneo, May 1967. Signed and dated bl. Painted on site in the Science Museum, with the assistance of Anthony Kerr. Perspective view of the concourse of Waterloo Station, London, as seen from the first floor British Rail Southern Region Board Room windows. Includes both steam and diesel locomotives, porters, cars, passengers, indicator board and clock; relatives, artist and politicians of the day amongst the travelling public. General activity any day in the early 1960s
'Over London-by Rail', engraving, London, England, 1872
Wood engraving from 'London: a pilgrimage', by Gustave Dore, 1872. Signed in the block blc: Over London - by Rail. Depicting [East End] tenements, washing in back gardens, chimney pots, railway in distance.
A cast iron sculpture, 'Iron Baby', Edition AP III/III, by Antony Gormley, England, 1999 (see note).
Distinguished Men of Science
Walker: - Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain 1807-8. [Proof, with fascimile signatures on paper not as separate strip] in maple frame. Designed by Gilbert and drawn by F. Skill and W. Walker. Engraved by W. Walker and G. Zobel. London, 1862.
A Manufacturing Town
Laurence Stephen Lowry
Painting, [A Manufacturing Town] by L. S. Lowry, 1922. Oil on panel; 43.2x53.3cm in wood and gilt frame, 64x74.5x7.5cm. Signed and dated, bottom left. Industrial cityscape, of no place in particular but in the spirit of a northern town such as the artist's native Salford: an early work with a dark background, painted before Lowry was encouraged to lighten the sky. The artist combines elements of factory buildings, mine heads, smoking chimneys, busy street life and civic pride.
perspective view of a ship model
Willem van de Velde
An anamorphosis painting of a perspective stern view of a ship model / Artist unknown, c.1744-1774. Oil on panel; 43.5 x 52.5 cm in gilded frame, 53.5 x 62 x 4.3 cm. Formerly attributed to 'Van de Velde'. Panel is made from three pieces of wood, the paint overlaid. Painted viewing circle encloses an image of a woman's head. Ship model is of French origin; mounted upon a marbled tabletop. With cylindrical mirror (see 1948-326/2) and anamorphic prints (see 1948-326/3-22).
'Dr Syntax and his wife making an experiment in pneumatics', print, London, England, 1820
Aquatint, col. 'Dr Syntax and his Wife Making an experiment in Pneumatics'. Plate  from 'Dr. Syntax in Paris' [W Combe, 1820]. platemark 15x23cm, image 11x19cm. Caricature, scene dancing in drawing room, Nooth? chemical apparatus on lower left. In frame 29.5x35.5x1.5cm
Entrance to Birmingham Station
John Cooke Bourne
print, lithograph (buff and black). 'Entrance to Birmingham Station' / by John Cooke Bourne, 1839, Plate XXXVII from "Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway" published London: JC Bourne,... Ackermann & Co,... C Tilt. on sheet 38x55cm
[James Watt and the Steam Engine
Print. Engraving with mezzotint, [James Watt and the Steam Engine]. Engraved by James Scott, 1860, after painting by James Eckford Lander [ie, Lauder]. Trimmed
First woman cosmonaut
Poster, translated as the Light of (or Long live) the (World's) first woman (female) Cosmonaut; issued by the Soviet State Publishing House of Decorative/Fine Arts Moscow, 1963. Slogan title in Czech 'At Zije prvni kosmonautka sveta'; imprint in Russian. Featuring design of Vostok-6 and (photograph) HS portrait of Valentina Tereshkova in space helmet. [orbited Earth June 1963]. Lithograph, col. offset, 57 x 85 cm. In frame 67x95x2cm
Portrait of Ada, Countess of Lovelace
Alfred Edward Chalon
Watercolour, Ada Lovelace, possibly by A E Chalon (1780-1860), [c1840]. 25 x 18.3 cm. Portrait, TQL to L. looking front, in evening dress with mantilla, holding fan
Audio visual art installation (he. 5.9m x wid. 3.7m x dep. 0.79m), titled ‘Listing Post’ by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin installed at the Science Museum, London, 2008. The artwork immerses the audience in computer-synthesised text, voice and other audio fragments sampled from the internet. Hardware includes screen modules, support beam, connective wiring, 8 audio speakers plus one subwoofer, control system (computers, audio equipment and networking accessories with spares) and a selection of software for installation and operation.m, London, 2005. The artwork immerses the audience in computer-synthesised text, voice and other audio fragments sampled from the internet. The hardware includes screen modules, support beam, connective wiring, 8 audio speakers plus one subwoofer, control system (computers, audio equipment and networking accessories with spares) and a selection of software for installation and operation.
Operative Society of Bricklayers
Engraving, some colour: [Membership Certificate] Operative Society of Bricklayers. Designed by A.J. Waudby. [c1866-1870?]. The figures Engraved by C.H. Jeens. Engraved by J.H. Le Keux. Printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. Farringdon Road, London EC. Issued Leighton Buzzard branch, March 1887. Platemark 58x45.7cm, sheet 69.5x51cm. Trade Union emblem with figures, inset scenes of gauge work, brick laying, brick making, assorted tools and props. In frame 74.5x56.5x2cm
Portrait oil painting of John Arnold and family 1783-1787
Painting. John Arnold and family / Robert Davy, [1783-1787]. Oil on canvas; 106x129cm in gilt frame, unglazed, 124x147x8cm. Group portrait depicting the watch and chronometer maker John Arnold (1736-1799) examining a chronometer, his son John Roger Arnold (1769-1843), active from 1783 as a watchmaker, and his wife Margaret Arnold (1743/4-1789). Robert Davy died in 1793 after being robbed. The portrait of John Arnold was engraved in mezzotint by Susan Esther Reid
'Royal Address of Cadwallader ap-Tudor ap-Edwards ap-Vaughan, Water-King of Southwark', print, London, England, 1832
Coloured etching by G[eorge] Cruikshank: Source of the Southwark Water Works, or [headed] Salus Populi Suprema Lex. Published by S. Knight, . 51x32.5cm. Printed on broadsheet with text poem beneath: Royal Address of Cadwallader... water-king of Southwark [John Edwards]. Concern at pollution and threat to public health. In frame 69x44x2cm
'The Thames Tunnel' peepshow, c 1851.
A peepshow, entitled, "The Thames Tunnel". in 5 lithographed sections and front, hand coloured, with 2 peepholes in cover, the cover scene of Tunnel staircase with vignettes including Crystal Palace and Parliament buildings; in original box. Published [London] c.1851 or later. Size 18x22cm. extending to 72cm. Showing souvenir stands, gas lamps, musical entertainers
Robert Stephenson, English mechanical and civil engineer, 1859.
"Parian Ware" bust, 15" high, of Robert Stephenson
George Stephenson, English railway engineer, 1859.
"Parian Ware" bust, 15" high, of George Stephenson
Entrance into Manchester across Water Street
Ackermann and Company
Print. Aquatint, coloured. 'Entrance into Manchester across Water Street'. T T Bury. delt; H. Pyall. sculpt. - 'Plate 6' of Views on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. - London, Published Feby 1831 by R Ackermann, 96 Strand. image 19.8x25cm on sheet 23.5x27.5cm. In frame 41x44x2cm
The Great Exhibition Polka 1851
Lithograph, colour: The Great Exhibition Polka 1851, for the pianoforte, composed and dedicated to HRH Prince Albert by Frank B Tussaud. Printed by Stannard & Dixon, issued by Duff & Hodgson, London . Sheet music cover with picture of Crystal Palace exterior and visitors. 34.5x24cm.
Shaving by Steam
Print. Shaving By Steam / Shilster [?]. . Pub by E King Chancery Lane, nd. - [London, 1800-1830]. Etching, handcol.; image 20x32cm, platemark 24.6x35cm, sheet 29.5x41.8cm. Satire on steam power here applied to a 'Patent Shavograph' a group mass shaving device whose customers suffer... parts keyed A-K
Print: Chemical Lectures / Designed & Published by Thomas Rowlandson, James St. Adelphi [London], nd.[c.1810]. Etching, col.; image 23x33cm on sheet trimmed to 25x34.5cm. Satire featuring the young Humphry Davy lecturing to a mixed audience at the Surry [ie, Surrey] Institution in London, chemical apparatus on the lecturing bench; in the audience is [?] Friedrich Accum (1769-1838), appointed chemistry lecturer at the SI in 1803), with Accum's book 'Chemical lectures' in his pocket. In frame 28x37x2cm. [BM11605]. NB: In the Annals of Science April 2000, an article suggests that the lecturer in the scene is in fact Accum himself, and that Davy did not lecture at the Surrey (name not in official lists); however the lecturer is depicted as a young man, whereas Accum by 1810 is forty years of age.
The Munition Girls
Stanhope Alexander Forbes
Painting, [The Munition Girls] / by Stanhope Alexander Forbes, 1918. Oil on canvas; 40x 50" or 103x127cm, in decorative gilt frame 132x152x8.5cm. Signed and dated bottom left. Female operatives making 4.5-inch shells at the Kilnhurst Steel Works of John Baker and Co. Ltd., Rotherham; steel billets are re-heated in a separate furnace and, still glowing, moved by hand to a steam hydraulic press for forging. Mr. George Baker commissioned this scene "to produce a memento for our women workers, and each of them received a framed copy of it".
Caricature of a chemical lecture, London, England, 1802
Print. Scientific Researches! - New Discoveries in Pneumaticks! - or, an Experimental Lecture on the Powers of Air. / Gillray inv. et fect. - Pubd May 23d 1802 by H. Humphrey St James's Street [London]. Etching, col.; 24.5x34.5cm. in frame 37.5x46.5x1.5cm. Satire on scientific lectures at the Royal Institution, London. The scene is a discourse demonstrating the power of laughing gas; chemical apparatus is on the bench, and a globe and electrical machine are in the room (Repository of models) beyond; Sir JC Hippisley is being experimented upon to produce wind. Rumford (founder of the RI) is standing in the doorway. The lecturer is possibly Thomas Garnett, who lectured at the RI 1799-1801; more probably his successor from July 1801, Thomas Young, who gave thirty lectures between January and May 1802. His assistant, operating the bellows, is Humphry Davy, assistant lecturer from July 1801. Audience includes Dr Garrick, Lord Stanhope, and women [BM9923]
Caricature showing a publican's dilemma during a cholera epidemic, Europe, c. 1854
Print. lithograph, some col, caricaturing precautions in a cholera epidemic [c1840-1865]. 1. 'Fearing the spread of the cholera' (gin drinkers beware, publican's dilemma), image 10x7cm edged to 12x9cm. Framed with /2 and /3, 52x21x2cm
'Detraining in England', print, England, 1914-1918
Claude Allin Shepperson
Detraining in England, by Claude Shepperson, 1914-1918, from series 'Tending the wounded'. Crayon lithograph, 38.5x51cm, in gilt and black frame 58x68x3cm. Stretcher bearers beside the train loading the wounded into a four-berth ambulance. No. of set subtitled 'Detraining in England', numbered '19' blc, depicting stretcher bearers beside the train loading the wounded into a four-berth ambulance; image 35x46cm, sheet 38.5x51cm
Engraving, trade card of Dudley Adams, 60 Fleet Street London. [c1800]. 39x24.5cm to platemark. Advertising a wide range of optical, philosophical and mathematical instruments, astronomical instruments etc including demonstration pieces; terrestrial globe, air-pump, surveyor's level, forestaff, universal ring dial, protractor, waywiser, astronomical quadranton stand, azimuth compass, drawing instruments in case, Gunter's quadrant, military surveyor's gniometer, nocturnal, horizontal dial, level, backstaff, alidade and plane table, orrery, armillary sphere. Cartouche of patronage by King George III, below; portrait of Tycho Brahe, top (family firm began at TB's Head, 1735; Dudley continued it, 1795-1821). In frame 55x40x1.5cm. (16"x 10 1/2") (Calv. 5).
A steam hammer at work
James Hall Nasmyth
Painting. [A steam hammer at work] / by James Nasmyth (1808-1890), 1871. Oil on board; 40 x 50 cm, in gilt frame 52x62x6cm. Initialled and dated bl, J.N. 1871. This is an apotheosis of the artist-engineer's invention of 1839 as a triumph of civil engineering. Inside a foundry works, the large steam hammer is shaping a massive iron bar before it can be rolled onto a plate. Possibly the sketch exhibited at a Conversazione of the Institution of Civil Engineers on 1871 June 6, item 46, and painted at their request. Steel-making
South-East View of Sheffield
Chromolithograph. South East View of Sheffield. Lithographed by T. Picken after W. Ibbitt, printed by Day & Son, [London]. Published April 7th 1855 by W. Ibbitt, 152 Broad Lane, Sheffield. Image 38x68.5cm on sheet 50x77cm. signed in stone brc W Ibbitt/55. Industrial cityscape with smoking chimneys, canal staithes and barges, workmen on break, women washday, mine heads, civic pride. In frame 66x90x2cm
Handbill, Theatre Royal, Covent Garden
One handbill. Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, Saturday, April 10th (year not stated).  Programme includes an "Aeronautic Excursion from London to Paris", in burlesque. Printed by W Reynolds, 9 Denmark Court, Strand, London, 13 1/2" x 7 1/4", 34.3 x 18.5 cm.
Near Wellington, Shropshire
Lithograph: Near Wellington, Shropshire. Printed by C Hullmandel [after Francis Nicholson], 1821. Initialled in the stone blc: F.N.1821. Image 22x31cm, vignette on sheet 27.5x38cm. Scene is of colliery site: pit heads, winding gear and engine houses at night, horse drawn wagon. Transformation of the English landscape by buildings and the pollution of the atmosphere. In frame 33x42x2cm
The Dutton Viaduct on the Grand Junction Railway, over the Valley of the Weaver
Wrightson and Webb
Engraving, coloured. The Dutton Viaduct on the Grand Junction Railway, over the Valley of the Weaver... Painted by T[homas] Creswick; Engraved by W. Radclyffe. Published by Wrightson and Webb, New Street, Birmingham. [c1837-1840]. 32x40.5cm to platemark. Image 21x32.5cm, laid to platemark 31.8x40.6cm on sheet 35.5x44cm. From designs by G Stephenson Esqre and erected under the direction of J Locke esqr. [Viaduct was completed 9 December 1836; GJR opened July 1837]. Scene includes fishing boat, basket; two small trains on viaduct. In frame 43x49x2cm
Portrait of James Watt, F.R.S. (1736-1819) Engineer. Engraved by John Le Conte after John McDonald. Pubd. by W.H. Vaima,. Edinburgh, May 1860. Overall size 18 1/2"x23 7/8" high
Mr Lunardi's New Balloon
Drawing, pencil, pen and line with sepia wash. Mr. Lunardi's New Balloon ascending with Mr. Biggin and Mrs. Sage from the Royal George Rotunda in St. George's Fields, near London. By I. Cordy, a spectator. . Image 36x24cm. With technical detail of gantry, supplies, large crowd of spectators. In frame 51x37x1.5cm. 29 June 1785
'Vaporisateur du Docteur Montazeau', print, Paris, France, 1822-1840
Print. Lithograph, 'Vaporisateur du Docteur Montazeau', by Langlumé (fl.1810-1824). issued [Paris? c1810-24?]. Image 15.1x19.6cm on sheet 22x27cm. Interior scene with young woman seated beside table using a machine powered by foot treadle to bellows and cylinder with its long spout attached to a nose mask to assist her breathing. Inscription below image reads 'Demoiselle agee de 16 ans, atteinte de phthisie pulmonaise, soumise au nouveau traitement du Vaporisateur du Docteur Montazeau'. In frame 29x31x1.5cm
Caricature showing 'The State Doctor' during a cholera epidemic, Europe, c. 1854
Print. lithograph, some col, caricaturing precautions in a cholera epidemic [c1840-1865]. 2. 'The State Doctor' (wearing expensive frock coat amid drugs and large pestles), image 9.5x6cm edged to 11.5x8cm. Framed together with /1, /3, 52x21x2cm
Sketch of a rural landscape with cows in the foreground, 1849.
[Cloud modifications] / E Kenyon [Kennion] with Luke Howard. - n.d. [March 1849]. - one of 4 drawings: pen, watercolour, with white; 28x19cm or smaller; [Plate 5] Nimbus, or rain cloud. - Original studies of clouds "from nature" by Luke Howard, with landscapes by "Mr Kenyon". These were lithographed by EM Williams and printed by M&N Hanhart as illustrations for the 3rd edition of Howard's Essay on the Modifications of Clouds, 1865. The explanations of plates prefacing this edition are by "LH, March 1849" who gave "a number of sketches" to Kenyon. Clouds and landscapes of drawings 1 and 3 are closely related to engravings in Rees' Cyclopedia, dated (Science Museum copy) 1810 and 1820, after work by "E. Kennion" or E. Kennyon" ie, Edward Kennion (1744-1809). It is not known whether these watercolours were executed by 1809, by Edward Kennion using cloud sketches made by Luke Howard (1772-1864) during his most active time of cloud sketching and observation; or, whether Howard refers to Kennion's son Charles John (1789-1853), also an accomplished landscape artist, who may have worked with these sketches in 1849 or 180-. The watercolours are not dated, and more than one finished study may have been made by Howard from his sketchbooks, at any time 180- to 1849. nos. 1 and 4 together in frame 51x37.5x2.5cm.
Caricature of an undertaker hoping for cholera, Europe, c. 1854
Print. lithograph, some col, caricaturing precautions in a cholera epidemic [c1840-1865]. 3. 'Hoping for the spread of the cholera' (a gleeful undertaker, in hat, news reports of deaths), image 10x7cm edged to 12x9cm. Framed together with /1, /2, 52x21x2cm
Poster advertising lectures on phrenology, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England, 1851
Lectures on phrenology, physiology, etc. April 3-10 1851. On yellow paper, 58x23cm. In frame, 64x28.5x2cm.
Sketch of a rural landscape with cows in the foreground, 1849.
[Cloud modifications] / E Kenyon [Kennion] with Luke Howard. - n.d. [March 1849]. - one of 4 drawings: pen, watercolour, with white; 28x19cm or smaller; [Plate 1] Cumulostratus forming; fine weather cirri above. - Original studies of clouds "from nature" by Luke Howard, with landscapes by "Mr Kenyon". These were lithographed by EM Williams and printed by M&N Hanhart as illustrations for the 3rd edition of Howard's Essay on the Modifications of Clouds, 1865. The explanations of plates prefacing this edition are by "LH, March 1849" who gave "a number of sketches" to Kenyon. Clouds and landscapes of drawings 1 and 3 are closely related to engravings in Rees' Cyclopedia, dated (Science Museum copy) 1810 and 1820, after work by "E. Kennion" or E. Kennyon" ie, Edward Kennion (1744-1809). It is not known whether these watercolours were executed by 1809, by Edward Kennion using cloud sketches made by Luke Howard (1772-1864) during his most active time of cloud sketching and observation; or, whether Howard refers to Kennion's son Charles John (1789-1853), also an accomplished landscape artist, who may have worked with these sketches in 1849 or 180-. The watercolours are not dated, and more than one finished study may have been made by Howard from his sketchbooks, at any time 180- to 1849. nos. 1 and 4 together in frame 51x37.5x2.5cm.
Engraving: Watt's first experiment of steam
Engraving: Watt's first experiment of steam. By James Scott after R.W. Buss, published by Lloyd Brothers, 1849. overall: 49.5x55cm.
Design for a mirror back in ivoride
Drawing, design for a mirror back / unsigned, n.d. [187-]. Pen and ink, 22.5x7cm. [Daniel Spill Ivoride Works]. Pattern of vine and grapes, centre quatrefoil framework tracery surrounding heraldic shield and chevrons. Verso has pencil outline and start of design. [product size 1?]. In frame with others, 56.5x54x2cm
Praeclarissimus Isaacus Newton Eques
Print. Engraving, Praeclarissimus Isaacus Newton Eques, by G. Bickham, published by Robert Sayer, 8 May 1787. Depicting Isaac Newton in portrait bas-relief medallion format, bust profile to R, inset in geometric rays, centre of starry firmament with allegorical figures, putti, and assorted scientific instruments - scales, telescopes, dividers etc. Trimmed to 35 x 24 cm, image 34 x 23 cm. In frame 51x37.5x2.5cm.
View of the Britannia Tubular Bridge
Lithograph, coloured. View of the Britannia Tubular Bridge (opened 1850) over the Menai Strait, with the road Suspension Bridge of 1826 in background. [c1850]. Overall: trimmed to 27x46cm. Shipping below bridge includes paddlesteamer. In frame 42x60.5x2cm
The British Nave
Print. Chromolithograph, 'The British Nave', Plate 3 (Proof) of a set of four large prints commemorating the Opening of the Great Exhibition of 1851, [after paintings by Joseph Nash]. Printed and published by Dickinson Brothers, New Bond Street. . Image 54.5x75cm on card 71x88cm. Signed Joseph Nash in ink on lower left edge of image. View of the Western or British Nave looking East, with long panorama of structure and layout of main avenue. In centre above horse's head is dioptric revolving lighthouse reflector mechanism by Chance Brothers & Co; then Seeley fountain; large Ross telescope; Coalbrookdale Dome. Large case on foreground left with model of Liverpool docks, beside cotton and beneath Philosophical and electric displays. Banners hang from balconies with arms of cities of Britain: York is nearest on right. Queen Victoria with Prince Albert and family are being escorted through on tour; guests and visitors stand watching and waiting. In frame, 84x100x2cm
Portrait, photogravure, John Tyndall / Photographi
Portrait, photogravure, John Tyndall / Photographische Gesellschaft Berlin
Portrait mezzotint print from engraving of Phelps Thomas and Bartlett John, 1778
Portrait mezzotint print of Phelps Thomas, made by Watson James, Printed & Published March 14th 1778 by Bretherton James No.134 New Bond Street, London, ; 45x31cm., image platemark 35.3x27.8cm., text platemark 7x27.7cm, frame 57.5x42.5x2cm. Image plate cut at bottom, figures placed on globe and regulator, inscription added beneath on separate plate. Pull trimmed to platemarks. Watermark: IHS (similar to Heawood 2997). Phelps stands in observatory at Shirburn Castle, seat of Parker George 2nd Earl Macclesfield, looking through transit telescope. Bartlett, his assistant, perched on observer's chair frame, prepares to record. Foreground, celestial globe; background L, telescope with altazimuth mounting on braced tripod stand; R, astronomical regulator. Phelps Thomas(1694-) began as a stableman for Parker George, President of the Royal Society (1952-1764) and from 1742 became Observer in the Earl's Observatory. He was the first person in England to detect the great comet of 1743. Barlett John (1724-) was originally a shepherd and became the Assistant Observer in the Earl's Observatory