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A painter, engineer and visionary, Martin was one of the most interesting figures of his era. Born in Haydon Bridge, Northumberland, the 13th child of an odd-job man, he developed a flair for painting while at school. He went to London to seek work, painting imaginative historical scenes in his spare time, exhibiting at the Royal Academy for the first time in 1812. Aside from painting, Martin submitted numerous engineering schemes: for an underground railway system circling London, for a raised embankment along the Thames between the Tower and the Houses of Parliament, for piping fresh water into the capital from reservoirs in the suburbs and for a vast network of sewers under the city.
oil on canvas
H 89.5 x W 120 cm
bequeathed by Mr G. H. Earle, 1936