Navigation by John Hancock. 1864-75. Portland stone, 1.35m high x 1.83 wide. National Westminster Bank, “The Gibson Hall” (built as The National Provincial Bank of England). 15 Bishopsgate, corner of Threadneedle Street, London. Like the frieze representing Manufacture, this one completely avoids precisely the modern technologies that such a Victorian institution would have financed — in this case iron-hulled ships whose paddle wheels or screw propellers powered” by steam. Given the pride that Victorians took in their new technologies that conquered time and space, this representation of navigation (which, incidentally, should bear a title like Shipping) appears strikingly anachronistic and unimaginative. Odd, too, that in a work supposedly about navigation, no one holds either a sextant or a chronometer.

[The order of Hancock's relief panels moving from south to north: The Arts, Commerce, Science, Manufactures, Agriculture, and Navigation]

Photographs and caption by Robert Freidus. Formatting, perspective correction and commentary by George P. Landow. You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Ward-Jackson, Philip. Public Sculpture of the City of London. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2003.

Last modified 29 June 2011