View of the Interior of One of the Tanks on Board the Great Eastern

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 to twelve days by steamer. An initially successful 1858 attempt, 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 interior of one of the three great tanks containing coiled cable in the hold of the Great Eastern. In 1892 Field donated to the Museum art works he had collected by Dudley, together with commemorative medals, memorabilia, and cable specimens.

View of the Interior of One of the Tanks on Board the Great Eastern, Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1909), Watercolor over graphite with touches of gouache (bodycolor)

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.