Sheffield Town Hall

This extraordinary photograph was taken by Paul Stinson of Hovaloft Drone Aerographics. It shows the bronze statue of Vulcan on top of Sheffield Town Hall, created in 1896 by artist Mario Raggi.

This muscular male nude has protected the city for 123 years, seeing us through two World Wars, but almost forgotten by people below.

Darcy White and Elizabeth Norman in Public Sculpture of Sheffield and South Yorkshire provide the life story of this undoubtedly cold naked character.

Vulcan, the symbol of Sheffield, has a hammer in his right hand (not seen here), his right foot rests on an anvil and in his left hand, held aloft, he carries three arrows.

The Roman God of the furnace is the patron of all smiths and other craftsmen who depend on fire. He was adopted as a symbol of the city in 1843 and the idea of including a figure as part of the Town Hall design came from the architect, Edward William Mountford.

The figure was modelled from a Life-guardsman and for a long time the original plaster was on show at the Mappin Gallery until it became too badly damaged, due to frequent moving to avoid air raids during World War Two and was broken up and discarded.

Mario Raggi (1821-1907) was born at Carrara, Italy where he learnt to sculpt, although much of his reputation was made in England, where he first exhibited busts at the Royal Academy in 1878 and continued to do so until 1895. Settling in England in 1880, he set up a workshop at Cumberland Market in north London. He was given some major commissions; memorials to Benjamin Disraeli at Parliament Square and Gladstone at Albert Square, Manchester.