Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

about 1838-1839
James Pollard, British, 1792-1867
Oil paint on canvas
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust

James Pollard, Trafalgar Square, About 1838–39. Oil paint on canvas; 21 1/4 × 30 1/2 in. (54 × 77.5 cm). Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, 2018.18

image height: 21 1/4 in, 53.9750 cm; image width: 30 1/2 in, 77.4700 cm; frame height: 25 1/4 in, 64.135 cm; frame width: 34 3/4 in, 88.265 cm; frame depth: 2 1/2 in, 6.35 cm
European and American Art Before 1900
European Painting and Sculpture before 1900

James Pollard became famous for his images of coaching scenes. These lively pictures represent the hustle and bustle of Victorian England. Here, in London’s landmark square, Pollard depicts a scene of organized chaos. It is not clear who has the right of way or on which side of the road one was meant to drive. The painting likely was made between 1837, when the National Gallery – pictured in the center background – was completed, and 1843, when Nelson’s Column was erected in the center of the square. Coaching reached its peak in 1835 and by the 1840s had mostly disappeared in favor of the newly introduced long-distance railways. Pollard’s picture serves as a historic record of a short-lived era quickly coming to a close. 

Known Provenance
Mrs. Hugh J. (Sara C.) Chisholm; her loan to the Baltimore Museum of Art, August 1960; gifted to the Baltimore Museum of Art 1965; deaccessioned, 1966; Baltimore Museum of Art sale, Christie’s, London, June 17, 1966, lot 80; collection of Jack R. Dick, Connecticut; with Arthur Ackerman & Son Ltd., London, by 1972; sale, Sotheby’s, London, October 31, 1973, lot 28; private collection, Canada; Christie’s, New York, December 6, 1996, lot 56; from which acquired by William M. B. and Bernadette Johnson Berger, Denver; Berger Collection Educational Trust; gifted to the Denver Art Museum, 2018. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum and we will post information as it becomes available. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • “Treasures from the Berger Collection: British Paintings 1400-2000” — Denver Art Museum, 10/2/2014 – 9/9/2018

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