Thomas Sutherland, British shipping magnate, 1887.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Chromolithograph by Vincent Brooks Day and Son Ltd of a caricature by Carlo Pellegrini, better known as Ape, from 'Vanity Fair' magazine. Sir Thomas Sutherland (b 1849?) was one of the most powerful shipping magnates of the 19th century. He joined the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation company (P&O) when he was 18, and by the age of 26, had been appointed superintendent of P&O's Japan and China agencies. In 1872 he became managing director, revolutionising the company and establishing a dominant position on many of the world's prime mail routes. Sutherland also played a significant role in public life, serving as Liberal MP for Greenock in 1884. He was knighted in 1891.