Banquet in the Thames Tunnel

Image credit: Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

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In November 1827 a flamboyant Isambard Kingdom Brunel organised a public relations event under the River Thames. The Tunnel was draped in crimson and long tables were covered in white damask and set with silver and crystal. Fifty guests feasted, lit by decorative candelabra from the Portable Gas Company, and the band of the Coldstream Guards played the National Anthem, 'Rule Britannia', and – for the Duke of Wellington, seated right – 'See the Conquering Hero Comes'. The gleam of their instruments can be seen above the red dais. It was deafening, but guests toasted 'The King, The Duke and Admiral Codrington'. Isambard organised the whole party. Aged 19 years, the Tunnel was his first project with his father Marc and the two men are pictured in the foreground.

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Art UK Founder Partner

More information

Banquet in the Thames Tunnel




oil on board


H 37.5 x W 32.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

donation in lieu of inheritance tax – allocated to The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Work type



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