Trafalgar Square, with the National Gallery, and St. Martin’s Church
Colour lithographpublished 1 May 1852
About the work
Place: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 1-19 Victoria Street
King George IV engaged architect John Nash to make designs for the Charing Cross Improvement Scheme in the 1820s. As part of this scheme, Nash made plans for a new square but died before these were executed. Instead, architect Charles Barry laid out the square, which was named Trafalgar Square in about 1835 but was not completed for a further ten years. The National Gallery building was designed by William Wilkins and constructed between 1833 and 1838.
Designed by the architect William Railton, the construction of Nelson’s Column began in 1840 and the statue was raised in November 1843. The four sculptured lions beneath the column were not added until 1867. However, it is possible to see a faint outline, indicating the future position of the lions, in this print.
This work is one of a series of twelve views of famous London buildings, lithographed by Thomas Picken and William Simpson after drawings by Edmund Walker. The series was published by Messrs Lloyd Brothers & Co. and titled ‘Views of the Principal Buildings in London’.
About the artist
Landscape lithographer and painter Thomas Picken was the younger brother of draughtsman and lithographer Andrew (1815-1845). The brothers were two of four sons of novelist Andrew Picken (1788-1833) and his wife Janet Coxon (1792-1871). Thomas made lithographs for David Roberts's ‘The Holy Land’ (1842-49), William Payne's ‘The Lake Scenery of England’ (1859), John Parker Lawson's ‘Scotland Delineated’ (1847-54) and other works. He exhibited one painting at the Royal Academy in 1857 and ten at the Society of Artists, Suffolk Street (1846-75). Although generally thought to have emigrated to Australia in 1870, a 2004 entry in the ‘Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’ reports that he was an inmate of the Charterhouse, London, from 1879.
Edmund Walker began as a miniature painter on ivory, abandoning the practice as photography grew in popularity. He then turned to architectural draughtsmanship, making sketches of country seats and selling them to the owners. His views of the Thames Embankment (completed 1870) were exhibited at the Royal Academy, as were many of his architectural drawings. Sometime before 1851 he began working for the publishers Day & Son. He made watercolour views and lithographs of the interiors of the Great Exhibition and lithographed William Simpson’s sketches of the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny for the firm. He reportedly ‘never fully recovered’ from the effect of the failing fortunes of Day & Son, late in his career. Walker died in 1882, aged 68.