[Nelson's Column under Construction in Trafalgar Square, London]

Object Details

Title:

[Nelson's Column under Construction in Trafalgar Square, London]

Artist/Maker(s):

William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800 - 1877)

Culture:

British

Place(s):

London, England (Place created)

Date:

April 1844

Medium:

Salted paper print from a paper negative

Dimensions:

17.1 x 21.1 cm (6 3/4 x 8 5/16 in.)

See more

See less

The Nelson Column was still being erected when Talbot photographed it. Placed in Trafalgar Square, London, it honored Sir Horatio Nelson, the victorious naval captain who died in 1805 during battle at sea off Cape Trafalgar, Spain. At 185 feet in height, the Column interfered with the view from the nearby National Gallery and sparked a bitter controversy regarding the physical transformation of the Square. Talbot's image was made from an angle that caused the base of the column to dwarf the buildings in the distance, including the prominent church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Talbot's decision to focus on the base, letting the column itself extend into infinity beyond the image frame, suggests that he thought that the monument was an oversized intrusion.

Exhibitions
Experimental Photography: Discovery and Invention (January 17 to April 2, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 17 to April 2, 1989
Voyages and Visions: Early Photographs from the Wilson Family Collection (October 24, 2000 to February 18, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 24, 2000 to February 18, 2001
A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography (February 4 to June 8, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 4 to June 8, 2014
Bibliography

Corcoran Gallery of Art. A Book of Photographs from the Collection of Sam Wagstaff, exh. cat. (New York: Gray Press, 1978) p. 30.