In the footsteps of Nelson

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Captain Horatio Nelson, painted by John Francis Rigaud in 1781, with Fort San Juan in the background.

For our Boxing Day walk, John researched places in London associated with Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805).

First we saw some houses of the period, and then went to the various places that Nelson lived or visited in London. My mission was to draw very quick pictures. We had a lot of places to visit, and I didn’t want to hold up the expedition. Here are my sketches, in the order of our visits.


We saw and named architectural details.  On 11 Cavendish Square we noted the “blocked vermiculated columns”
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“Vermiculated” means wormlike. It’s a really useful adjective. “I found it impossible to follow his vermiculated arguments.” ” After navigating the vermiculated back alleys, we emerged at last onto the main square.”

We saw ionic columns on Stratford House. These are the ones with scrolls at the top. Above the columns is the “metope” or frieze. On this there were “bucrania” which are bulls skulls.
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An “aedicule” is a house shape with columns each side. At 37 Dover Street we saw a window in an aedicule.

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A window in 37 Dover Street, opposite Nelson’s House

Here is our route:

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It took us 5 hours and was 14km.

After the Georgian London visits in the West End, we walked to Trafalgar Square to see Nelson’s Column, and then along the Strand, where we saw the site of a silversmith he visited. Nelson went along the Strand in his carriage to receive his “Freedom of the City of London”. At Temple, the cheering crowds unhitched his horses and hauled his carriage themselves.

We arrived at St Paul’s Cathedral, where Nelson is interred.

I used Organics Studio arsenic gray ink, and a Lamy Safari pen with fine nib, from The Writing Desk. The book is a sketchbook from Seawhite of Brighton.

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