Column designs

The columns around the first floor balcony, above the central staircase, show patterns similar to those found on fossil trees.

A large terracotta roundel showing a rhea, the large ostrich-like bird from South America, can also be seen at the end of this balcony, near the top of the wall. This is similar to a drawing that was made to illustrate Charles Darwin’s account of his famous expedition in HMS Beagle.

  • Fossil trees
    Fossil trees - 01/01/2005 (video)

    This video clip shows more about the fossils that inspired Alfred Waterhouse for the patterns on his columns.

  • Rhea darwinii
    The rhea

    Get an understanding of how Waterhouse stylised his terracotta figures and his sources of information.