Perspective of the Natural History Museum, 1876
Ink and watercolour on mounted board
Artist and architect: Alfred Waterhouse
© Victoria and Albert Museum. Museum number D.1889-1908
This impressive watercolour of Alfred Waterhouse's eclectic Gothic Revival scheme for the Natural History Museum was made to promote the project and was eventually shown at the Royal Academy. The image was then made into a black and white engraving and published in architectural journals to inform the public and educate architects about the monumental civic work.
Renderings like this were important for garnering popular and financial support. Showing the long facade isolated from other buildings lends an air of importance and drama to the museum project. Many civic institutions, such as museums or universities, rely on architects to provide renderings that help to sell the project to donors and skeptics.