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There seem to be several versions of Thomas Talbot Bury's color plate (edit: likely an aquatint per the comments below) "Excavation of Olive Mount" (part of a collection entitled "Coloured Views on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway"; the 1831 release of this collection is available on Google Books).

as sold at an auction gBooks version 1831, https://www.google.com/books/edition/Coloured_Views_on_the_Liverpool_and_Manc/wFXBhjUGJTkC 'version3' described below WP, version1 Alamy, version2 (click to enlarge)

Some examples:

  • Version 1 (can be seen here): the spokes on the drive wheels of the locomotive in the foreground are well-defined, many of the people are wearing brightly-colored shirts, and there are no trees on the bridge in the background.

  • Version 2 (can be seen here): very similar to version 1, but the palette is muted (although this may be attributable to the digitization process or a deliberate choice made when the illustration was colored). There are other subtle differences as well, including:

    • The shape of the clouds near the top-middle of the image is different
    • The locomotive's smokestack is missing a ring roughly halfway up its height
    • The spokes of the locomotive's drive wheels are much less distinct than in version 1
    • The landscape visible beyond the bridge on the right side of the tracks is substantially darker than the landscape immediately before the bridge
  • Version 3 (can be seen here): very different from the versions described above; the differences include:

    • All the passenger carriages are enclosed
    • There are trees on the bridge; it's also much taller and its arch is pointed
    • There's no second locomotive in the background just before the bridge
    • A second bridge is visible beyond the first
    • The pattern of the rocks is very different
    • The tracks are not a straight line, but bending near the horizon

The site hosting the image of version 3 also has two other versions here and here (all three can be seen here) which are similar (but not identical) to versions 1 and 2.

Given that aquatint allows copies of an illustration to be produced from a master copy, why are there multiple versions of "Excavation of Olive Mount"? This site says there were six releases of the collection that contained it (between 1831 and 1834); were new versions of the work created for some of these releases?

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    Version 1 looks like it was colored with pastels, version 2 with watercolor.
    – Spencer
    Oct 10 at 21:33
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    Hoping this will inspire an A: these were not lithographs but aquatints, hand-coloured (among the last in that era). Some versions apparently used w/o any colour, just to get the shades. My guess: first run was finest, colour always 'a bit' variable, later on the plates degraded and were finally 'improved' for appeal? The aquatint thing might be a correction to this Q-text, or @Reign: hopefully a base for your self-answer? Oct 11 at 8:37
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    Given the age of the pics: why not include the (major) versions in this Q? Talking about pics is so much better if one can see them. Oct 11 at 8:38
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    Thanks for adding the images and for the correction re: aquatints; I've edited the question to incorporate the latter. Oct 12 at 22:45

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