First Telegraph House at Heart's Content, Newfoundland, 1866

Robert Charles Dudley British

Not on view

One of the 19th century's great technological achievements was to lay a telegraphic cable beneath the Atlantic, allowing messages to speed back and forth between North America and Europe in minutes, rather than ten or twelve days by steamer. An initially successful attempt in 1858, led by Cyrus W. Field and financed by the Atlantic Telegraph Company, failed after three weeks. Two working cables were finally laid in July and September 1866, the result of repeated efforts by the indefatigable Field, a cadre of engineers, technicians, and sailors, two groups of financial backers, and significant help from the British and United States navies. Dudley documented the process in a series of watercolors and oils, this example showing the Telegraph House in Newfoundland at the western end of the cable. In 1892 Field donated art works by Dudley, commemorative medals, memorabilia, and specimens of cable to the Museum.

First Telegraph House at Heart's Content, Newfoundland, 1866, Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1909), Watercolor over graphite with touches of gouache (bodycolor)

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