The Duke of York’s Column is a monument to Prince Frederick, Duke of York, second eldest son of King George III and uncle of Queen Victoria. It is located in Waterloo Place, near The Mall, and was designed by architect Benjamin Dean Wyatt. The statue of the Duke of York at the summit was designed by sculptor Sir Richard Westmacott and raised on 10 April 1834.
The column has a viewing gallery near the top (no longer open to the public) and, for a small admission fee, the public were able to climb a spiral staircase of 168 steps within the column, in a space which was just two feet four inches wide, to reach the gallery. Sadly, in 1850 Henry Joseph Stephan, a horn player, aged 38, paid his six pence admission fee and, on reaching the gallery, climbed over the railing to throw himself from the top. After the tragedy, a cage was fitted above the railing to prevent suicides.
This engraving was first published in 1837as one of the 36 plates that made up Trotter’s ‘Select Illustrated Topography of Thirty Miles Round London’, for which the artist of the work, Charles Marshall, drew 25 of the 34 illustrations. It was republished in 1851 as one of the 50 prints that comprised Thomas Holmes’s ‘Great Metropolis’.
Little is known of landscape engraver John Charles Varrall. He was born in Plymouth, Devon, in 1794. He became an engraver of small bookplates, including landscape and architectural views, after works by contemporary artists. Varrall was employed to engrave the works of Thomas Allom, William Henry Bartlett, Henry Gastineau, John Preston Neale and others. He was living with his wife and daughter on Pratt Street, St Pancras, at the time of both the 1841 and 1851 censuses. In 1845 he appeared the Court of Bankruptcy, in Basinghall Street, London.
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