About this artwork

During the construction of the Forth Bridge, the young engineer Evelyn George Carey was given privileged access to the site in order to make a comprehensive photographic record of the bridge’s development. It was hoped that this visual documentation would restore public confidence in British engineering following the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879. In this photograph Carey uses volunteers, possibly the architects of the bridge Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker, to demonstrate the cantilever principle. If you look closely you can see that the boy’s weight is sufficiently supported for his feet to rise off the ground – just as the cantilevers support the central girder of the bridge.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    The Forth Bridge. Two Seated Men Raising a Boy up to Demonstrate the Cantilever Principle
  • date created:
    September 17th 1885 (print by Michael and Barbara Gray 2007)
  • materials:
    Inkjet print
  • measurements:
    46.40 x 58.00 cm (framed: 94.50 x 74.30 x 2.80 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Commissioned 2007
  • accession number:
    PGP 383.19
  • gallery:
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Evelyn George Carey

Evelyn George Carey