Interior View of the Laboratory in the Royal Institution

The Royal Institution was established in 1799 to advance scientific knowledge and promote the application of science to useful purpose. It was here that Humphrey Davy, young, brilliant and charismatic, began as an assistant in 1801. In 1803, following a series of popular lectures and important experiments, he was named professor of chemistry.
William Thomas Brande succeeded to the post in 1813 and later commissioned three images of the Royal Institution laboratory for his Manual of Chemistry (London, 1819). These were drawn by William Tite (1798-1873), a young English architect, and engraved by James Basire (1769-1822), a London artist. Plate I showed a floor plan of lecture hall and laboratory. Plate III showed the major pieces of apparatus. And Plate II showed an interior view of the laboratory. Our example, taken from the third (1830) edition of Brande’s book, is marked “Wm. Tite, del.” and " Is Basire, sc.” and “Published by John Murray, Albermarle Street, London, March 1830” and “PL II.”
The Royal Institution laboratory was, for a time, the best in Great Britain, if not the world. Brande explained that it comprised “all that can be required in the pursuit of experimental chemistry” and “may be well adapted to any public or private establishment. Most of the apparatus was furnished by “Mr. J. Newman, Philosophical Instrument-Maker to the Royal Institution, of Lisle-street, Leicester-square.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 8 1/4 in x 10 1/2 in; 20.955 cm x 26.67 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Prints from the Physical Sciences Collection
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Prints from the Physical Sciences Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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