R&D Lab ca. 1885 (Metropolitan Museum Favorites, 3)

When I think of 19th-century industry, I think of Vanderbilt’s railroads …

New York Central Railroad map (Wikipedia); Vanderbilt at Grand Central (Dianne L. Durante)

New York Central Railroad map (Wikipedia); Vanderbilt at Grand Central (Dianne L. Durante)

And Holley’s steel mills …

Bessemer steel converter (Wikipedia); Alexander Lyman Holley (Dianne L. Durante).

Bessemer steel converter (Wikipedia); Alexander Lyman Holley (Dianne L. Durante).

And Thomas Price’s lab.

Henry Alexander, In the Lab, ca. 1885-87. Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1939. Photo: MetMuseum.org

Henry Alexander, In the Lab, ca. 1885-87. Size: 36 x 30 inches. Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1939. Photo: MetMuseum.org

According to the MMA’s site, the subject of this portait / still life is Thomas Price (1837-1912), a chemist and assayist who was highly respected for his practical and theoretical knowledge of mining and metals. In his San Francisco lab, he worked as a consultant to mining companies.

More

  • I must see this in person again: the photo (as so often) doesn’t do it justice.
  • More Henry Alexander paintings are online here. (Spoiler: this one’s my favorite).
  • The Vanderbilt videos for Guides Who Know: Monuments of Manhattan are available here (About the Sculpture) and here (About the Subject); the supplementary “More” page is here. See also the Vanderbilt essay in Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan and ForgottenDelights.com. And if you want even more: T.J. Stiles, First Tycoon (exceptionally well researched and well written).
  • On Alexander Lyman Holley and the steel industry, see Forgotten Delights and the Monuments of Manhattan app. His sculpture stands in Washington Square Park.

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