The Road Versus Rail
Coloured aquatintpublished 12 June 1845
About the work
A carriage races along a country lane. While the driver watches the road, the passengers look back, into the distance. They are watching a rail disaster: part of a train has derailed and, as the carriages slide down a bank, people are thrown or have jumped from the train. Two horses in a field are startled by the accident.
This is Plate IV of a series of prints known as ‘Fores's Coaching Incidents’ (some depicting grisly horse accidents), published in 1845. Samuel William Fores established a print selling firm in London in 1783 at premises on Piccadilly. The firm specialised in singly-issued satirical prints and caricatures. After the death of Samuel William Fores in 1838, the business continued as Messrs Fores (which published this print) under his sons George Thomas (1806-1858) and Arthur Blücher (1814-1883), and began to specialise in sporting subjects.
Between 1842 and 1848 Messrs Fores published three series of prints titled ‘Fores's Coaching Recollections’, ‘Fores's Coaching Incidents’ and ‘Fores's Sporting Traps’. All were made after paintings by the artist Charles Cooper Henderson and the majority engraved by John Harris III.
About the artist
John Harris III was an aquatint engraver of sporting and military subjects after works by contemporary artists. He was born in London and may have been the son of the watercolourist, illustrator and lithographer known as John Harris II. However, it has also been suggested that he was the son of a cabinet maker. Harris remained in London for the duration of his life and worked mainly for the publisher Ackermann and Fores.