The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery

One half of a stereoview showing a view of the western side of Trafalgar Square, with the National Gallery in the background. Two statues can be clearly seen in the photograph. The one on the right of General Sir Charles Napier still occupies the plinth at the SW corner of the square. On the left by the line of waiting hansom cabs there's a smaller (seated) statue of the pioneering physician Edward Jenner, developer of the smallpox vaccine, the world's first vaccine. Sculpted by William Calder Marshall, the statue was unveiled in Trafalgar Square by Prince Albert on 17 May 1858.

Military men immediately raised a hue and cry, 'scandalised,' according to one contemporary newspaper, 'at the idea of a mere civilian, a doctor, having a place in such distinguished company, and moreover daring to be seated while his betters were standing.' There were calls in The Times and even in Parliament for the statue's removal but, with royal support, it stayed where it was until after the death of the Prince Consort in December 1861. Two months later it was moved to its current location in Kensington Gardens. The British Medical Journal, commenting on the fuss, compared the statues of the military men to Jenner's, noting that they remained in Trafalgar Square 'because they killed their fellow creatures whereas he only saved them.'

Photographer unidentified.


Code: 126281
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© Paul Frecker 2018