C. Herbert Hurst

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This collection comes from an album of diverse landscape views, made between the 1880s and the 1920s. The album is inscribed in pencil C. Herbert Hurst. Though he does not appear to have been a professional artist, Hurst was clearly a prodigious traveller – the inscriptions in our collection place him in Yorkshire, in Ireland, in Scotland, in Wales, on the Isle of Man and on the island of Jersey.

More than anything else, these watercolour views bear testimony to the expansion in travel that was seen during the Victorian era. By the late Victorian period in which C. Herbert Hurst was working, there were over 8,000 miles of rail track in England and Scotland, and every significant town was linked by rail. Goods and people could be transported at unprecedented rates – until the coming of the railway, the fastest speed that was attainable had been that of a galloping horse. But by the 1880s, express trains could reach speeds of 80 miles per hour. Connecting with the railways, steamships were on hand at many of Britain’s ports, to take travellers on the next leg of their journey – to France, to Ireland or farther afield. By 1880 it was possible to travel seamlessly from London via Brunel’s Great Western Railway to Bristol, and then across the Atlantic to New York.