The Road Versus Rail

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    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
    Equestrian painter Charles Cooper Henderson was born at the Abbey House, Chertsey, in Surrey; the younger son of amateur artist John Henderson and his wife, Georgian, daughter of author and painter George Keate. Educated at Winchester College, Charles qualified for the bar but did not practise. He also took art lessons from Samuel Prout and became a prolific artist, specialising in hunting and coaching subjects, many of which were published by Messrs Fores of Piccadilly and Rudolph Ackermann. Some were etched by Henderson himself. He sent coaching scenes to the Royal Academy exhibitions in 1840 and 1848. After his mother's death in 1850, he became financially independent. He died at his home at Lower Halliford-on-Thames, Middlesex, aged 74.
    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.
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    aquatint, coloured aquatint
  • Details
    The Road Versus Rail
    published 12 June 1845
    Coloured aquatint
    Purchased from Vicars Bros., November 1955
    GAC number