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Trafalgar Square (WC2)

Nelson's Column

Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, KB
Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk 1758 - o/b Victory near Trafalgar 1805
English Vice Admiral
Various sculptors
1839-42 and 1867

London /  Nelson's Column   London /  Nelson's Column


Corinthian column from Dartmoor granite with a Craigleith sandstone statue of Nelson by E. H. Baily.
Nelson is portrayed without an eyepatch, but is unidealised by the standards of the time. The figure is given stability by the coil of rope behind. Portland stone was chosen over bronze as the statue then "would not be resorted to as plunder in revolutions".

The Four Reliefs

The pedestal is decorated with four bronze relief panels, each 18 feet (5.5 m) square, cast from captured French guns. They depict:

  1. The Battle of Cape St. Vincent
    Nelson is on board a Spanish ship, the San Nicolas. A Spanish officer kneels in front of Nelson, surrendering the swords of his fellow officers.
    st. vincent 1797 Signed: m.l. watson sculp.
  2. The Battle of the Nile
    Nelson has been taken below deck after being wounded in the head during the attack on the French fleet in Abu Qir Bay. Captain Edward Berry stands by his side.
    nile 1798
    Signed: w.f. woodington sculpt
    moore, fressange, | & moore founders

London - Nelson's Column
London - Nelson's Column

  1. The Bombardment of Copenhagen
    Nelson, on board his flagship HMS Elephant, applies his seal to an ultimatum directed at the Crown Prince of Denmark. The city of Copenhagen is visible in the background.
    copenhagen 1801
    Signed: j. ternouth sculpt.
    moore, fressange, | & moore founders
  2. The Battle of Trafalgar or The Death of Nelson.
    Nelson is depicted immediately after receiving his mortal wound; Captain Hardy turns back towards him whilst sailors to the left take aim at the marksman who dealt the blow.
    england expects every man will do his duty
    Signed: i.e. carew Sculp.
    christy adams & hill | Foundrs

London - Nelson's Column
London - Nelson's Column

The sculptors of the reliefs were Musgrave Watson, William F. Woodington, John Ternouth and John Edward Carew respectively.

The Four Lions

The four identical bronze lions at the column's base were not added until 1867. At one stage, they were intended to be of granite, and the sculptor John Graham Lough was chosen to carve them. However, in 1846, after consultations with Railton, he turned down the commission, unwilling to work under the restrictions imposed by the architect.[18][19] The sculptures eventually installed, commissioned in 1858, were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer in collaboration with Baron Marochetti. Their design may have been influenced by Marschalko János's lions at each abutment to the Széchenyi Lánchíd (Chain Bridge) in Budapest, installed six years before the Trafalgar Square lions were commissioned.

London - Nelson's Column London - Nelson's Column


The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000.


Sources & Information


  • Baily, Edward H.
  • Carew, John Edward
  • Commemorative Needle Column or Obelisk
  • Landseer, Edwin Henry
  • Lion
  • Naval Officer
  • Nelson, Horatio
  • Statue
  • Ternouth, John
  • Watson, Musgrave
  • Woodington, W.F.
  • Location (N 51°30'27" - W 0°7'40")

    Via the links below you can find the position:

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    WikiMapia map

    Item Code: gblo023; Photograph: 3 August 2014
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
    If you want to use photos, please contact us via the contact form (in Dutch, English or German).
    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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