Manual Ref* NFnrNOR016 Show 8 images 14


County Norfolk   District Council Norwich City Council 
Civil Parish or equivalent Norwich City Council  Town/Village* Norwich - Cathedral Close 
Road Cathedral Close 
Precise Location Upper Close 
OS Grid Ref TG234088  Postcode NR1 
Previous location(s) A few yards to the east of the Guildhall, opposite to the entrance to Dove Street 
Setting Cathedral Close  Access Public 
Artist/Maker Role Qualifier
Thomas Milnes  Sculptor(s)   

Commissioned by

Public subscription, opened in 1847 

Design & Constrn period


Date of installing

In the Close, 16 April 1856 

Exact date of unveiling

19 March 1852 arrives Norwich 


Abstract Animal Architectural
Commercial Commemorative Composite
Free Functional Funerary
Heraldic Military Natural
Non-Commemorative Performance Portable
Religious Roadside, Wayside Sculptural
Temporary, Mobile Other  

Object Type

Building Clock Tower Architectural
Coat of Arms Cross Fountain
Landscape Marker Medallion
Mural Panel Readymade
Relief Shaft Sculpture
Statue Street Furniture War Memorial
Other Object Sub Type: Statue of Admiral Lord Nelson

Subject Type

Allegorical Mythological Pictorial
Figurative Non-figurative Portrait
Still-life Symbolic Other

Subject Sub Type

Bust Equestrian Full-length
Group Head Reclining
Seated Standing Torso
Part Material Dimension
Parts 1: Nelson  Portland Stone  Two metres H. 
Octagonal plinth  Portland Stone  150 cms W (at bottom), two metres H. 
Octagonal base  Portland Stone  165 cms W. 65 cms. H. 

Work is

Extant Not Sited Lost


Norwich City Council 

Listing status

Grade I Grade II* Grade II Don't Know Not Listed

Surface Condition

Corrosion, Deterioration Accretions
Bird Guano Abrasions, cracks, splits
Biological growth Spalling, crumbling
Metallic staining Previous treatments
Detail: Restored by NPS in 2013-2014, for further details see below under Description (physical)

Structural Condition

Armature exposed Broken or missing parts
Replaced parts Loose elements
Cracks, splits, breaks, holes Spalling, crumbling
Water collection Other
Detail: Nose


Graffiti Structural damage Surface Damage
Detail: Cloak at rear split, now made good

Overall condition

Good Fair Poor


No Known Risk At Risk Immediate
Inscriptions On plinth: NELSON 

Description (physical)

Mowlem- Rattee & Kett cleaned and restored the stonework on the statues of Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington in 2005. Subsequently Nelson, which stands opposite the entry to the new Hostry, was not protected during the lengthy building, completed 2010, so that the already badly worn statue, which has lost much detail, needed to be steam cleaned by NPS in 2013-14. They also made good the split at the rear of Nelson's cloak, which is greatly improved. His face, with its bright replacement nose, remained a problem but the application of a light wash has continued to tone it down, as planned by Stephen Brown, the Senior Building Surveyor at NPS.  

Description (iconographical)

Nelson is shown in the full-dress uniform of a vice-admiral, with epaulettes and three stars on the cuff. He stands with his left leg forward, his empty right sleeve (he lost most of the right arm in 1797) is pinned to his uniform to support the cloak which falls from his left shoulder. He rests a telescope on a cannon, with a rope hawser. Portraits of Nelson invariably showed all his insignia; in this instance the stars of the Bath, St Ferdinand, the Crescent and St Joachim, while two medals hang around his neck. Milnes adapted the lower part of Nelson’s pose from his 1848 Duke of Wellington, now at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, but Nelson turns and looks to his left. This gives the statue more movement than Baily’s statue on the Nelson monument at Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately Milne’s choice of Portland stone, both here and in his statue of Wellington, has not worn well and the statue has now lost what must have been the original definition of detail. The statue was first shown in St Andrews Hall on 19 February 1852, having been sent from Milne's studio in London after many delays. The statue cost £700 but by 1852 the subscriptions only amounted to £400, barely enough to repay the sculptor for the purchase of the block and his out-of-pocket expenses. On 16 April 1856 it was removed from its original site on the Market Place, opposite the entrance to Dove Street (presumably in front of the East End of the Guildhall), to the Cathedral Close, opposite the Grammar School at the suggestion of Sir Richard Westmacott, transmitted to the Town Council in a letter from the hon. secretary of the Nelson Statue Committee dated 24 March 1856. Thus it now faces the school where Nelson (born 1749) had been a pupil briefly around 1770, after leaving the Paston School, North Walsham and before beginning his naval career in 1771, and is orientated towards the spectator entering through the Erpingham. Gate. Rephotographed, April 2014 Rephotographed and entry revised April, 2014 


Date taken:  6/5/2006
Date logged: 

Photographed by:
Sarah Cocke

On Site Inspection

Date:  2/4/2006

Inspected by:
Richard Cocke

Sources and References

Mackie,C., Norfolk Annals, Compiled from the files of the Norfolk Chronicle, Norwich, 1901, II, p. 10 and 48, 2005 BOE I, 227; Walker, R., The Nelson Portraits, an iconography of Horatio, Viscount Nelson, K.B., Vice Admiral of the White, Royal Naval Museum, 1998, 120-121, 266; information from Stephen Brown, the Senior Building Surveyor at NPS 


Date entered:  17/4/2006

Data inputter:
Richard Cocke