Hand coloured aquatint from 'The Costume of Great Britain', a book containing 60 images of people at work and scenes of everyday life. The image shows a lifeboat carrying men away from the two ships wrecked in the background of the image. William H Pyne (1769-1843), the son of a London weaver who became an artist and writer, was commisioned to write and illustrate the book by the publisher, William Miller of Albermarle Street, London. The first edition was printed in 1804, but the edition from which this coloured plate was taken was published in 1808. The illustrations are particularly notable as they portray British life on the eve of the Industrial Revolution.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library