Oil paint on canvas portrait of Sir William Arrol by an unknown artist



Oil paint on canvas portrait of Sir William Arrol in an ornamental gilded wood gesso/composition frame (c.1900). The painting is unsigned and the artist is unknown. Donated to the Museum when the Forth Bridges Visitor Centre Trust was wound up in 2012. It is believed to be the only colour portrait of Sir William. It adorned the Board Room of Arrol’s Glasgow Works for many years. From September 2000 the portrait was in the possession of the Forth Bridges Visitor Centre Trust and subsequently donated to the ICE Scotland Museum when the Trust was wound up in 2012.

Sir William Arrol (1839-1913) was a bridge and crane builder. His most notable constructions include the Tay Bridge, Forth Bridge, Tower Bridge and Clydebank’s Titan crane.

A conservation report was prepared by Ines Santy ACR a Paintings Conservator in February 2012. The report recommended a number of treatments to the painting and frame (including glazing). This work was carried out. A copy of this report is held by the museum.

William Arrol & Co was the contractor for the steelworks in the construction of Tower Bridge, London. A high resolution image of this portrait is currently being used as a backdrop at the Tower Bridge Exhibition, together with images of the bridge designer Sir Horace Jones, his successor John Wolfe Barry, and lead mechanical engineer Sir William Armstrong.

Additional information

Acquisition Number


Item Type

Short Description

Portrait in oils

Manufactured by

Date of Manufacture

c. 1900



Supporting Items

Brass plaque. Spare brass plaque (Store Shelf A1)

Makers Number



Inscription on back of frame "No 399 x 1 slip"

Dimensions (mm)

Portrait: 860 x 666. Frame: 1095 x 894.


Date Donated

June 2012


Wood, glass, canvas and oil paints



Display Location