For the past two weekends I’ve been helping a friend deal with his aunt’s estate. While cleaning out some items, he gave me what appears to be an original 1857 print titled “The Return (First Class)”. I’m not an antique specialist by any means, but I have a decent interest in this sort of thing, and have definitely seen my share of Antiques Roadshow.
I know a lot of these are reproductions, but I took a closer look when I got it home (out of the frame) and the image is actually pressed onto the paper. There are no “print dots” or signs of mass-production. In fact, you can clearly see the impression marks around the border from what I assume was the engraving plate.
I’ve done a little research, and learned the image was originally part of a set. The other (I don’t have) was titled “The Departure”, and my friend thinks he saw that in the estate as well. He’s looking for it for me.
The paper is great condition, and only has minor discoloration. I can’t believe how good condition actually, considering the “assumed” age. On the back of the frame, there are some papers glued to the wood. One is a letter to the directors of the “Branbury and Chatham Railroad”, dated 1875, requesting some sort of railway extension or something. It’s pretty cool.
I have no reason to think it’s a fake, it came out of an incredible collection of items from 1700 – 1900. I’m wondering if anyone has any information on this sweet Victorian-era antique? I’d love to learn more.
This thing is huge. I looked at the paper under a magnifying glass and it definitely looks “pressed” and not “printed”:
There is an embossed tag under the artist name:
London published 4th april 1857 by E. Gambart and Co.:
Engraved by W. H. Simmons
If there is anyone that is reading this has any information, I’d love to hear it!
There is a lot of interest in this item, so I wanted to add that there is also some interesting paperwork attached to the back of the print. Apparently regarding some financial issues with the Cheltenham Railroad, 1875. Here are some images of the back: