The colossal column of Devon granite on which Nelson stands was designed by William Railton. It is believed to have been copied from one of the Corinthian pillars of the Temple of Mars Ultor at Rome, which measures 145 feet in height.

Sir Robert Smirke and others recommended that the height of the column be reduced by 30ft from Railton�s initial proposal of 200 feet. Railton died in 1839 prior to the completion of his greatest work, which at 170 feet is the largest Corinthian column in the world.

Crowds gather to see the Column under construction, 1843 © Illustrated London News, courtesy of Westminster City Archive
Contemporary photograph by Jeremy Young





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