Nelson in his own words: Highlights from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection

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THE LASKARIDIS NELSON COLLECTION

Few admirals have become as famous as Admiral Lord Nelson. Horatio Nelson’s naval career has inspired generations from his time till even today. During my post graduate studies at the Royal Navy College in Greenwich, the only civilian student among Royal Navy officers, I quickly became infatuated with Nelson. This is how, nearly half a century ago, I started collecting letters, articles, books and personal items, gradually building a Nelson collection of my own.

One might wonder what interest somebody from Greece would have in Nelson. The admiral never visited ports in what is Greece today. The answer to that is that Nelson’s victory at the battle of the Nile, turned the Mediterranean into an English lake. The breaking of the blockade of the coasts of the countries that were under the control or allies of France by the risky Greek sailors with their small and maneuverable ships, allowed them to get rich.

The acquisition of wealth from the profits of trade greatly accelerated the Greek Enlightenment and the investment in ever larger ships by shipowners led to the creation of the navy of the “Agon”, the Greek War for Independence.

But there is also one instance in which Nelson was directly involved with the future of the enslaved Greeks, and the evidence for this is in our collection. Indeed, after the destruction of the French fleet in the naval battle of the Nile, Russia and Turkey with the consent of England decided to set up a Russo-Turkish alliance against Napoleon’s expansionist views in the East. Taking advantage of the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands with the French, which was incited by the Aristocracy, the Russian-Turkish

fleet under Admiral Uchakov, started from Kythera, in September 1798, the occupation of the Ionian Islands. In October of that year, Nelson, from Naples, Italy, nominally an ally of the Ottomans and the Russians, sends a proclamation to the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands, urging them to raise the English flag to avoid finding themselves under much worse foreign masters. This proclamation by Nelson was probably made on his own initiative, with the reasoning that the Ionian Islands should certainly not be turned into bases for a permanent presence of the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean, while they would be useful as a British protectorate in the region. Finally, however, the Russian-Turkish fleet completed the occupation of the Ionian Islands on February 20, 1799.

Nelson was fortunate enough to meet his death at the height of his glory in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar. He thus secured his posthumous fame and became, for the following generations of British Officers and crews and of all the Navies of the world, the model of the admiral, leader, dear to his crews, who leads them to triumph. Nelson’s naval successes ensured British dominance of the seas not only during the Napoleonic wars but also for a considerable period after their conclusion.

His leadership skills and ability to inspire his fellow soldiers are recognized to this day with the expression “Nelson touch” applied to military leaders of his caliber. He is considered one of the most recognized national heroes in Britain.

The Laskaridis Nelson Collection aims at bringing to light Horatio Nelson not only as a dedicated officer and great leader of men at sea, in peace or war; but also as a man in love, with anxieties and personal feelings, that do not diminish by any measure his being one of the greatest naval heroes of all times.

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FORWORD

The National Museum of the Royal Navy has been delighted to join this year in a partnership with the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation. The first physical product of the partnership is the small exhibition ‘Nelson: in His Own Words’ which focuses on some 30 rare and unpublished documents from the Foundation’s Nelson collection, displayed alongside personal items from the Museum’s own collections. Such an exhibition – however good the digital access it offers - can only ever offer highlights and be selective, so it is a pleasure to have this full catalogue by Martyn Downer to give context and provide an intensive look at items which reveal Nelson’s remarkable life and times. It demonstrates afresh that in Nelson’s Navy, and most especially in Nelson himself, the personal and professional are inseparable, with the most intimate letters often written in the most pressing of circumstances – who else would write from mid-Atlantic, in pursuit of a French fleet to give instructions for his daughter’s welfare (Laskaridis Collection L38)? Overall, it is a reminder of the value of historical collections and historical expertise, showing how even individual items in one private collection are able to inform our wider understanding. We welcome this new addition to the record.

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PREFACE

For collectors of papers and objects relating to Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) the last twenty years have been wonderfully fruitful. From the dispersal of the Alexander Davison Collection at Sotheby’s in 2002, through the Spiro Family Collection at Christie’s in 2003; to the sales which greeted the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005, and beyond, this has been a golden era for collectors with a curator’s eye, such as Mr Panos Laskaridis for the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.

Often sourced from hitherto unrecorded family collections, many connected directly to Nelson’s family, these sales offered a vast resource of new and revealing material on the admiral’s professional and private life. Nevertheless, such a wealth of opportunity can bring its own challenges with resources having to be carefully balanced against an overall collecting objective. I first encountered Mr Laskaridis at Sotheby’s where I curated the Alexander Davison Collection and I can vouch that over the years he has steered a prudent, informed and scholarly path through these waves of material to assemble for the Foundation a quite unique view of Nelson’s life: from his early career, to apotheosis at Trafalgar. Now preserved on for Nelson who sailed these waters the familiar shores of the Aegean, the papers will forever fascinate and inform scholars of this extraordinary and complex man.

Mining the collection for this catalogue of highlights has unearthed many wonderful gems, such as a rare document signed by Nelson together with his estranged wife Frances; and a transcript in Nelson’s hand of a letter from his lover Emma Hamilton. Only two other letters from her to him survive, following the onset of their relationship, as Nelson was in the

unfortunate habit of burning them (and one of those reached the fleet after his death).

Among objects in the catalogue, the estimate from the Royal goldsmiths Rundell & Bridge for plate awarded to Nelson after the Battle of the Nile is re-united with a silver dish from the service; whilst a weary request from Nelson to Emma for her portrait in paste to give his demanding brother William is displayed alongside one of these rare surviving cameos.

Such is the comprehensive nature of the collection of which this selection represents a fraction only that it falls naturally into chronological order with an especial focus on Nelson’s sometimes fraught relationship with Emma Lady Hamilton, and on the critical years leading to Trafalgar. The descriptions build on the excellent work of the late Dr. Nick Slope, the naval historian, archaeologist and former chairman of The Nelson Society, who completed an inventory of the collection before his untimely death in 2016.

Above all, this catalogue, which accompanies an exhibition of highlights of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, aims to bring Nelson’s sometimes querulous, but always passionate and utterly unique voice to a new audience. For scholars, enthusiasts and amateurs alike, Nelson never fails to capture our imagination.

Curator of Nelson in His Own Words; historian and specialist in the papers and objects of Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson
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HORATIO NELSON (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed in his right hand (‘your most obedient and very humble servant Horatio Nelson’) to William Senhouse, Boreas, Nevis, 29 June 1786.

Five pages, 4to., with integral address leaf (‘On His Majesty’s Service’).

William Senhouse (1741-1800) was the Surveyor General of Customs in Barbados and the Windward and Leeward Islands. In this long letter Nelson appeals to Senhouse as ‘feeling for an Officer who has been cruelly persecuted for doing his duty’. During an unhappy posting to the Leeward Islands, latterly as the senior naval officer in the region, Nelson had frequently clashed with the customs service, planters and ship owners for his rigorous policing of the Navigation Acts which restricted trade with the former American colonies to British registered and crewed vessels. Exasperated by widespread and often blatant smuggling, Nelson in his ship Boreas had seized several foreign registered, false flagged ships, seeking to condemn as prizes.

In this latest episode, Nelson is seeking to exonerate his behaviour after criticism of his unorthodox and legally doubtful decision to take two recent American captures Jane and Elizabeth and Brilliant to Nevis to be condemned as prizes rather than to the Admiralty Court at Barbados which was the proper jurisdiction but where feelings against him ran especially high. ‘I hope they will appeal it is the Wish of My heart to

have my Conduct upon all Occasions

Sifted to the Bottom’. Nelson was also angered that David Parry, Governor of Barbados and his most vocal critic, demanded one third of the prize money. ‘If Mr Parry…had looked over any one act of parliament from the Navigation act downwards…he would have known that the same acts of parliament which give him a third of seizures made by Officers of Customs is always in every act followed by these words excepting all such seizures as shall be made by Commanders of His Majesty’s ships which shall be divide as follows one moiety to the King the other to the ship &c.’

Despite this vigorous defence of his actions, the American owners of Jane and Elizabeth would pursue him back to England, even to the parsonage at Burnham Thorpe where bailiffs arrived unannounced one morning seeking immediate payment of damages, forcing Nelson to consider escaping to France.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE Bonhams, London, 5 July 2005.

ALF Cat. No. L44

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JOHN IRWIN ( d .1812)

Autograph letter signed (‘John Irwin’) to William Locker Junior, Prince George, Lagos Bay 17 February 1797.

Three pages, 4to., with integral address leaf to William Locker Junior, Royal Hospital, Greenwich.

John Irwin was captain of Prince George which carried the flag of Admiral William Parker at the Battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797. In this letter composed just three days later, Irwin provides a friend with a list of the prizes (two of which were secured by Nelson) and a first vivid eye-witness account of the action. ‘I have the pleasure to acquaint you of our arrival here yesterday evening, with an addition to our Fleet of 4 sail of the Line, two of 112 guns, one of 80, & one of 74 guns, Captur´d on Tuesd: from the Spanish Fleet, tho´ very much superior to ours, they having 27 of the Line we only 15, we discover´d them early in the Morning about 7 O´Clock, and immediately gave Chase to them about 11 we cut through their Line, tack´d & return´d through again, by 4 in the afternoon the 4 struck, to our very superior fire at 5 or there about we left off, at that time the Spanish Admiral appeared to be sinking (the Trinidad a four Decker) a part of their Fleet coming up that had not been in Action sav´d her from being Captur´d, we are inform´d to Day she is gone down...Sir John – return´d publick thanks to Day to the Flag Officers, Captains, officers & Ships Companys, we suppose the Spanish Fleet are so maul´d that they will get into Cadiz as soon as possible, we are getting the Prizes ready to go to Lisbon with

them, they are terribly shatter´d, some totally dismast´d, others Topmasts Sails &c all cut to Pieces’.

During the battle Prince George had served in the van of Admiral Sir John Jervis’s fleet where she engaged the Spanish ship San José shortly before Nelson spectacularly boarded her from Captain. Irwin makes no direct reference to this famous exploit, which he must have witnessed, except to report that ‘Commodore Nelson is well, I need not say what part he bore, the Gazette will inform you of the whole’.

However, in his dispatch Admiral Jervis (created Earl St Vincent following the victory) also ignored Nelson’s boarding of San José and the public had to rely on Nelson’s own description of the battle to learn of his ‘patent bridge for boarding First Rates’. Published in the newspapers, Nelson’s sensationalist account irritated Admiral Jervis and annoyed Admiral Parker who felt aggrieved that Nelson had made no mention of the assistance given by Prince George during his famous exploit.

William Locker Junior was the son of Captain William Locker (1731-1800), lieutenant-governor of Greenwich Hospital from 1793 and an early and important patron of Nelson.

Apparently unpublished.

PROVENANCE

Bonhams, London, 28 September 2004, Lot 114.

ALF Cat. No. L42

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HORATIO NELSON (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed in his left hand (‘your obliged Humble servt: Horatio Nelson’) to Sir John Orde, Bt., Bath, 6 September 1797.

Two pages, 4to., docketed by recipient.

Nelson’s right arm had been amputated immediately after it was severely wounded during a failed attack on Santa Cruz, Tenerife, on 22 July. He was then evacuated to England reaching Spithead on 2 September. Despite daily doses of Opium, he was still in very great pain travelling to Bath to join his wife and father for recuperation. In reply to Orde’s enquiry, Nelson reports that he is ‘under the Hands of Physician, Surgeon & Apothecary & by their joint operations I hope I shall do well’. In fact, the ligatures from the procedure had still not come away causing infection and very great discomfort. As the letter shows, Nelson was also adjusting to writing with his left hand which after a shaky start was beginning to reveal its distinctive later shape.

Nevertheless, it is a necessarily brief letter in which Nelson also asks Orde

to carry a parcel out to his stepson Josiah Nisbet, then serving in the Mediterranean, coupled the hope that the Spanish fleet ‘may come out & salute you upon your arrival’.

The letter is cordial but Nelson’s relationship with Admiral Sir John Orde (1751-1824) would rapidly deteriorate on his return to sea and appointment in the Mediterranean. Exactly a year, on 6 September 1798, Nelson would call Orde ‘a vain ignorant supercilious creature’ (to Evan Nepean,6 September 1798, National Maritime Museum, NEP/4).

Apparently unpublished.

PROVENANCE Christie’s, London, 19 October 2005, Lot 9.

ALF Cat. No. L64

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HORATIO NELSON (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed in his left hand (‘Horatio Nelson’), to the Lord Chancellor [Lord Loughborough], 141 Old Bond Street, 12 October 1797.

Two pages, 4to.

Struggling to recover from the amputation of his arm, Nelson moved from Bath to London in September 1797, to seek fresh medical opinion. The ligature which had been used to tie his arteries during the procedure in July stubbornly refused to come away causing infection and severe pain.

With his wife, Nelson took lodgings in Bond Street where he was inundated with messages of goodwill, gifts and visits from anxious relatives. His exploits at the Battle of Cape St Vincent had captured the public’s imagination giving him a degree of patronage which some members of his family unashamedly sought to exploit and Nelson, despite his discomfort which is so evident in his shaky hand, dutifully tried to satisfy.

In this letter, Nelson writes to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, requesting a ‘small provision’ for his feckless brother Suckling, ‘the Youngest Son of My Venerable Father’. ‘In addressing a letter to you some persons may think me wrong,

and that I ought to have chosen the interference of a friend, but feeling a conviction that if what I have to ask is proper for your Lordship to grant, that I require on this occasion no interest, but your own opinion of my endeavours to serve the State’.

After a failed marriage and unsuccessful career as a shopkeeper, Suckling Nelson (1764- 1799) had re-trained for the church and in 1797 was working as his father’s curate at Burnham Thorpe. Nelson’s appeal to Lord Loughborough was successful and Suckling was granted his father’s living at Burnham Sutton although he died just two years later, his early death probably hastened by his fondness for drink.

PUBLISHED

Nicolas, ii, p.449-450.

PROVENANCE

Bonhams, London, 26 June 2019, lot 167.

ALF Cat. No. L196

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HORATIO NELSON (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed in his right hand (‘as ever your faithful and affectionate Horatio Nelson’) to Commodore the Hon. William Cornwallis (1744-1819), Burnham, 13 October 1788.

Three pages, 4to. with integral address leaf signed (‘Capt: Nelson’) with red wax seal.

Nelson had met Cornwallis in the West Indies in 1779 where the two men had lodged together in Jamaica. Following a disastrous expedition to San Juan in Nicaragua, Cornwallis’s housekeeper Cuba Cornwallis had restored the disease-ridden Nelson back to health. Cornwallis had then evacuated Nelson back to England in his ship Lion.

In 1788, Cornwallis was appointed commodore in India where his brother Charles, Earl Cornwallis (1738-1805) was governor-general. By contrast, Nelson had been made unemployed and in this letter—written after Cornwallis had turned down Nelson’s earlier request to join the squadron in India by suggesting ‘Your fireside is so totally changed…that I did not venture to name you’[Clarke & McArthur, i, p.23]—he denies that life in the country with his new wife had lessened his ambition.

‘[I] was sorry to think that you could suppose any situation in life could ever diminish the ardour I trust it has been always conspicuous I have to serve my country (although I am as happy in domestick life as any person can be. My wish has been (for I may now say a series of years) to serve under you.’

However, with many calls upon the patronage of Cornwallis Nelson was unsuccessful in his appeal and he would remain at ‘my humble & peaceful cottage’ in Burnham Thorpe until the outbreak of war with revolutionary France in 1793.

PUBLISHED Historical Manuscript Commission, Various Collections, 6, (1908) p.341.

ALF Cat. No. L41 (a)

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HORATIO NELSON (1758-1805)

Autograph note signed in his left hand (‘truly yours Horatio Nelson’) to Captain [Henry D’Esterre] Darby, [Theseus off Lisbon], ‘Tuesday morn’ [May 1798].

One page, 8vo with integral leaf addressed ‘To Capt[ain] Darby Bellerophon’, annotated with a list of supplies, traces of red wax seal.

In April 1797, following his victory at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, Admiral Sir John Jervis (created Earl St Vincent 27 May 1797) had imposed a tight blockade on Cadiz anchoring his fleet in lines off the town. Nelson in Theseus was given command of the inner squadron of frigates to harass the Spanish shore batteries, launch boat actions and attempt to goad the Spanish fleet out of harbour. In July, Nelson was detached and sent to Tenerife where, in a disastrous attack on Santa Cruz, he lost his arm.

After recuperating in England, Nelson, now in Vanguard, returned to the fleet off Cadiz in April 1798 where he remained a few days before he was again ordered away by St Vincent to determine the destination of a large armament assembling at Toulon, a mission which would culminate at the Battle of the Nile in August.

This note to his friend Captain Darby of Bellorophon, 74 guns, with its request to carry papers to the ‘Post

Office’ in St Vincent’s flagship Ville de Paris, was written during Nelson’s brief return to Cadiz. Blockade duty was gruelling, dangerous work but, as Nelson remarks, it was enlivened for him by gazing through his sea glass each morning at a beautiful woman on the mole: ‘there is a very pretty young girl sitts every day on a Gun carriage at the mole are you fond of chicken’. For all his recent disabilities, Nelson had lost none of his interest in women.

Bellorophon was also detached from the blockade (‘success attend your undertakings’) and later joined Nelson’s squadron in the Mediterranean with Darby joining Nelson’s elite ‘Band of Brothers’ at the Battle of the Nile.

Apparently unpublished.

PROVENANCE Christie’s, London, 19 October 2005, lot 189.

ALF Cat. No. L87

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MAURICE NELSON (1753-1801)

Two autograph letters signed (‘yours most truly Maurice Nelson’) to Alexander Davison, Navy Office, 2/3 October 1798.

Two pages, 4to., each with integral address leaves to Alexander Davison, Swarland, Morpeth, with red wax seals and postal marks.

Maurice Nelson worked as a clerk at the Navy Office where he closely followed his younger brother’s naval career. In these letters, Maurice excitedly sends first news of the victory at the Battle of the Nile to Nelson’s friend Alexander Davison. ‘My mind is so agitated I cannot write have therefore enclosed you a Gazette which hope will give you the first tidings of the signal Victory obtained by my Brother he is but slightly wounded… but he has written to Lady Spencer to say that his Surgeon has advised him to return to England…I now think he has done enough & I hope the Country will think so too…The French Admiral & his Capt: are killed–We have lost

Capt. Westcote of the Majestic–Sir James Saumarez & Capt. Darby slightly wounded we have not lost a Ship’.

Maurice had hoped his brother would name him prize agent for the action and so he was bitterly disappointed when Davison was awarded the highly lucrative role.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE Sotheby’s, London, 21 October 2002, lot 1.

ALF Cat. No. L110

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HORATIO NELSON, BARON NELSON OF THE NILE (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘your faithful & affectionate Bronte Nelson’) to Sir William Hamilton, 18 February [1799].

One page, 4to. with integral address leaf to Sir William Hamilton at Palermo signed (‘Bronte Nelson’) with impression in red wax seal of Nelson’s ‘Egyptian’ seal.

Le Genereux, 74 guns, was one of only two French line of battle ships to escape the carnage of Nelson’s attack on the French fleet anchored in Aboukir Bay at the Battle of the Nile. After capturing Leander, the British frigate carrying Nelson’s dispatch, Le Genereux made it to the safety of Toulon. On 7 February 1799, flying the flag of Admiral Jean Baptise Perrée, Le Genereux left Toulon to reinforce the French garrison at Malta but had the misfortune to encounter a detached squadron of British ships led by Nelson in Foudroyant off Cape Pissaro, in Sicily. After a short but vigorous engagement on 18 February,

Le Genereux struck to Foudroyant about five o’clock with Perrée found dying on the deck, both legs shot off.

Nelson was thrilled to wreak revenge on a ship which had caused his earlier victory to be incomplete. His first thought was for the Hamiltons, who he had recently left behind in Sicily after their evacuation from Naples. In this breathless note, hastily penned at five thirty, he writes triumphantly that ‘I have got Le Géneréux and a frigate full of Troops & Stores for Malta and am making sail after 2 frigates & a corvette’.

It was a sweet victory, too, for Nelson’s flag captain, Edward Berry, who had been captured in Leander and briefly imprisoned. Norfolk born like Nelson, Berry subsequently presented Le Genereux’s vast tricolour ensign to the City of Norwich.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE Sotheby’s, New York, 13 December 2011, lot 29.

ALF Cat. No. L123

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Manuscript listing ten pairs and sets of silver dishes amounting to £570, together with a sketch for their use at table.

Following the battle of the Nile, £38,436 was subscribed by the underwriters at Lloyd’s Coffee House for the relief of the wounded and dependents of the men killed. In addition, the subscription committee under John Julius Angerstein voted Nelson £500 ‘to be laid out in plate’. This estimate from the royal goldsmiths suggests that Nelson overspent.

The service was completed before 24 January 1801 when Nelson chased his agent Alexander Davison for delivery. Examples from the Nelson’s Nile Service survive in a number of public and private collections.

Accompanying the invoice, is an autograph plan supplied by Davison describing how the dishes should be used at table for first and second course, such as: ‘4 new pattern double oblong dishes which come on in the first course with covers, which covers take off & are used as Dishes in the second course’.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE

Sotheby’s, London, 21 October 2002.

ALF Cat. No. L13

‘ESTIMATE OF A SERVICE OF DISHES FOR THE RIGHT HONBLE LORD NELSON’
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A GEORGE III OVAL SILVER DISH FROM LORD NELSON’S NILE SERVICE

After the Battle of the Nile in 1798, the underwriters and merchants at Lloyd’s Coffee House subscribed to funds totalling £38,436 for the relief of the wounded and the bereaved families.

Nelson was also voted £500 (perhaps £40,000 today) to purchase a service of silver to commemorate his victory. The task of supplying the silver was given to royal goldsmiths Rundell & Bridge of Ludgate Hill who employed Paul Storr

to make the service at his Air Street workshops. Intended for seagoing use by Nelson and his officers, the service was of plain ‘gadroon edge’ design decorated with the admiral’s heraldic devices. Completed in April 1801, the service comprised twenty-two pieces at an over-budget cost of £627. This dish was one of ten ‘oval gadroon edge silver dishes’ purchased for £304 15s 8d.

After the Battle of Copenhagen, the service was extended with a further grant from Lloyd’s Coffee House.

PROVENANCE

Bonhams, London, 5 July 2005, lot 55.

ALF Cat. No. O93

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DEED OF SALE FOR ROUND WOOD NEAR IPSWICH

Vellum with wax seals.

Nelson bought Roundwood unseen at auction for £2000 on 27 September 1797 whilst recuperating in London from the recent loss of his arm. A substantial property, two miles outside Ipswich, with some fifty acres and outbuildings, it was strategically placed for the eastern ports and access to his family in Norfolk.

Roundwood was the only house he would own with his wife Fanny. She moved there in May 1798 but, away

at sea, Nelson never stayed there and would visit only once, after landing at Yarmouth on his return from Italy with the Hamiltons in November 1800. In love with Emma, Nelson left his wife soon afterwards and, as witnessed and sealed by both of them on this rare document, on 10 January 1801 Roundwood was sold to Robert Fuller, an existing tenant, for £3300.

Unpublished.

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HORATIO NELSON, BARON NELSON OF THE NILE (1758-1801)

Autograph letter signed (‘your attached & truly affectionate friend Nelson & Bronte’) to Emma, Lady Hamilton, Plymouth Dock, 26th January 1801.

Three pages, 4to., with integral address panel to Lady Hamilton, 23 Piccadilly, signed (‘Nelson’) with impression in red wax depicting Emma as a Bacchante from an intaglio carved by the Roman gem engraver Teresa Talani (active circa 1800) set in a ring owned by Nelson (now in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich JEW0161).

This letter was written following Nelson’s arrival at Plymouth where he is awaiting orders ahead of the Baltic campaign. It was his first separation from Emma since their return from Italy as lovers with the knowing mention ‘that this day nine months was your birthday’: an oblique reference to the imminent birth of their daughter Horatia with the suggestion that 26th April 1800 was also the first occasion they had sex (in Foudroyant, in a gale off Sicily). Cornelia Knight, a travelling companion in the ship, had marked Emma’s birthday with a song, sung to the tune of ‘Hearts of Oak’ which Nelson here recalls as ‘come cheer up fair Emma’ (later published as Come cheer up, fair Emma, forget all thy grief,/ For thy shipmates are brave, and a hero’s their Chief; )

The letter betrays anxiety, longing and fears that the prince of Wales will seek to seduce her in his absence. ‘‘I wonder that Sir Wm: should have a wish for the Prince of Wales to come under Your Roof, no good can come of it, but every harm…we know he is doatingly [sic] fond of such women as Yourself,

and is without one spark of honor in those respects, and would leave you to bewail your folly.’ Added to the strain of the imminent separation from his wife, Nelson’s ‘private feelings, makes me this day ready to burst every moment into tears.’

Whilst awaiting his orders, Nelson has been joined in Plymouth by his brother William to whom, he reminds Emma, she had promised a paste portrait as ‘He would have had a hard matter to get one of mine’.

PUBLISHED

Pettigrew, i, pp. 416-17 (in part). Morrison, ii, p.109 (in part). Czisnik, p.121, no.63.

PROVENANCE Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003, lot 134.

ALF Cat. No. L23

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A WHITE VITREOUS PASTE PORTRAIT CAMEO OF EMMA, LADY HAMILTON

Probably by William Tassie (1777-1860) after Filipo Rega (1761-1833).

William Tassie (1777-1860) was a prolific and highly successful maker of intaglios and cameos, reproduction gems and medals, many cast in a glass paste developed by his uncle James Tassie whose thriving business he had succeeded in 1799. Like many London firms, Tassie took commercial advantage from the victory at Trafalgar producing large numbers of cameos of Nelson of varying sizes to supply the public appetite for souvenirs.

Filipo Rega (1761-1833) was an Italian gem-engraver and medallist. He was a pupil of Giovanni Pichler in Rome from 1776 but returned in 1787 to Naples, where he gained commissions from the Bourbon and later the Napoleonic court and was no doubt introduced to Sir William and Lady Hamilton.

HORATIO NELSON, BARON NELSON OF THE NILE (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘ever believe me your sincere faithful & affectionate Nelson & Bronte’) to Emma, Lady Hamilton, San Josef, 4 February 1801.

Two pages, 4to, with integral address leaf to Lady Hamilton, 23 Piccadilly, signed (‘Nelson’), bearing an impression in wax of Nelson’s ‘Bacchante’ seal.

On 1 February, Nelson had learned of the birth of his daughter Horatia whilst waiting to shift his flag to St George. Compelled to hide his jubilation, Nelson’s thoughts turned to drafting codicils–‘memorandums’–to his will, to provide for Emma and his child. He was concerned that the death of the elderly Sir William Hamilton might leave Emma impecunious: ‘as a wife can have nothing, and it might be taken from you by will or the heirs of your husband.’

This document, never proved, survives at the British Library [BL Eg.1614 ff.18-19]. In it, Nelson bequeathed Emma various gold and diamond boxes he received after the battle of the Nile and rental from his estate on Sicily. His still unnamed child was granted the balance of his estate after deduction of £20,000 for the maintenance of his wife.

From other letters, it appears that Emma, fearing scandal, was unsettled by such blatant reference to her and their child compelling Nelson to burn many of his memorandums,

Unsurprisingly, given these financial commitments, in this letter Nelson vows to ‘go to work’ not only to

earn prize money but also to ‘save a fortune’ after heavy expenditure entertaining and travelling with the Hamiltons. With this in mind, Nelson notes the recent escape of Admiral Ganteume’s squadron from blockade at Brest–‘What a pretty piece of history’–despite his warnings to the ‘wise ones in power’ of this likelihood. It was feared Ganteume was heading to Egypt to re-inforce the beleaguered French army there, in the event the expedition came to nothing.

Nelson ends the letter in another fit of anguished jealousy at the thought of the prince of wales calling on the Hamiltons. ‘I know his aim is to have you for a mistress. The thought so agitates me that I cannot write. I had wrote a few lines last night, but I am in tears, I cannot bear it.’

PUBLISHED

Pettigrew, i, pp. 421-2, and ii, p.647 (in part).

Morrison, ii, p.111, no. 507, (in part). Czisnik, p.130-1, no. 72.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003.

ALF Cat. No. L24

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HORATIO NELSON, BARON NELSON OF THE NILE (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘ever for ever your attached Nelson & Bronte’) Brixham, to Emma, Lady Hamilton, 13 February 1801 [wrongly annotated in a later hand ‘15th February’].

Four pages, 4to., with integral address panel to Lady Hamilton, 23 Piccadilly, signed (‘Nelson’) with impression in red wax of Nelson’s Bacchante seal.

Apart from trying to move his flag from San Josef to St. George, which heavy weather prevented, Nelson was still largely inactive off the Devon coast, waiting for orders. The lull in his professional duties allowed him to compose lengthy letters to Emma on a daily basis although the weather frustrated an orderly correspondence.

As the moment of crisis with his wife approached, his letters lurch from longing and anxiety at their uncertain future to an agony of jealousy at what temptations Emma might face in London, which it appears she was happy to report to provoke a reaction.

‘As for the P[rince] of W[ales] I know his character and my confidence is firm as a rock till you try to irritate me to

say hard things, that you may have the pleasure of scolding me, but recollect it must remain 4 days before it can be made up not as before in happy times 4 minutes. Consider my dear friend what you ought to say if I did not fire at your scolding letters and suppose me, if it is possible for a mom[en]t answering your scolds with a joke. I know I should fire if I thought that of you, that you was indifferent; but firing like the devil with vexation, anger and retorting, can only proceed from conscious innocence’.

His mood is not improved by reprimands from Emma: ‘I am alone with all your letters except the cruel one that is burnt and I have scratched out all the scolding words and have read them 40 times over and if you was to see how much better and prettier they

read I am sure you would never write another scolding word to me...recollect it must remain four days before it can be made up, not as before in happy times 4 minutes’; and her insistence that he, too, remain afloat to avoid temptation ashore. ‘I shall religiously stay on board, as you like me to do so, and I have no other pleasure’.

PUBLISHED

Pettigrew, I, p.425 (in part).

Morrison, ii, p.114, no. 515 (in part). Czisnik, p.143-4, no. 86.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003.

ALF Cat. No. L26

38 15

NELSON, HORATIO, BARON NELSON OF THE NILE (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘Ever yours for Ever Nelson & Bronte’) to Lady Hamilton (‘My Dearest friend’), Portsmouth, 1 March 1801.

Three pages, 4to, with integral address panel to Lady Hamilton at 23 Piccadilly, signed (‘Nelson’) and dated (‘Portsmouth March first 1801’) with impression in red wax of Nelson’s ‘Bacchante’ seal.

In March 1801, after a flying visit to London to see Emma and his newborn daughter—decorously referred to ‘my Godchild’—Nelson returned to his flagship at Portsmouth ahead of the Baltic Campaign. Although the visit appears not to have been sexually satisfying—‘he is sorry that she was a little unwell when he was in London as it deprived him of much pleasure but he is determined to have full scope when he next sees her’—it had mollified his fears that Sir William Hamilton had been trying to solicit Emma to the Prince of Wales and eased the jealous thoughts that had been torturing him. ‘No, I am sure you will not go anywhere but where it is right, & never suffer that fellow to enter your house. I assure you my very short trip to London has, if possible, given me an additional confidence, and I believe I never shall have cause to think otherwise than I do of you.’

On the verge of a permanent separation from his wife, Nelson suggests that the Hamiltons invite his brother William (‘the Revd: Sir you will find a great

bore at times’) and his wife Sarah to London to introduce Emma into the Nelson family (and recruit them as allies in the forthcoming family schism). ‘I will pay their lodging… for some people may say by and bye thet Sir Wm: maintains the family of the Nelsons which would vex me’.

This lengthy letter is one of three Nelson wrote to Emma on this day revealing the upsurge in passion and commitment in their relationship after the doubts and fears of the previous weeks apart. They still cling tenuously if erratically to the ‘Thomson’ subterfuge, to disguise Horatia’s parentage, but they had now reached that settled state which would last until Trafalgar.

PUBLISHED

Morrison, ii, p.122 (No.530). Czisnik, p.168 (No.110).

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 19 October 2005, Lot 18.

ALF Cat. No. L62

43 16

HORATIO NELSON, BARON NELSON OF THE NILE (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘May the heavens bless and preserve you for your, your, yours and only yours, and for you alone, your own dear affectionate sincere friend Nelson & Bronte’), to Emma, Lady Hamilton, Yarmouth, 10 March 1801.

Four pages, 4to., with integral address panel to Lady Hamilton, 23 Piccadilly, signed (‘Nelson’) and impression in red wax of Nelson’s ‘Bacchante’ seal.

Reluctantly Nelson moved his flag from the comfort of San Josef to St George on 12 February 1801 before sailing to Yarmouth to fall under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker ahead of the Baltic campaign. Although chafing at his subordination to an inferior officer, his jealous anxiety over Emma’s fidelity had been somewhat eased by a flying visit to London where he had seen his daughter Horatia for the first time. Feeling more confident, he had forced a final breach with his wife whilst dreaming of a future with Emma: ‘A cottage, a plain joint of meat, and happiness, doing good to the poor, and setting an example of virtue and goodness, worthy of imitation even to kings and princes’.

Nevertheless, Nelson was still prey to outbursts of jealousy which it appears

Emma deliberately sought to provoke in her lost letters to him: ‘Damn Lord A., do not let him take libertys’. He was also outraged to hear that Sir William Hamilton was selling a portrait of his wife, to fund a lavish London lifestyle (and pay debts). ‘But you are at auction, or rather to be sold by private contract, Good God! My blood boils’.

PUBLISHED

Pettigrew, i, p. 439. Morrison, ii, pp.127-8, no. 542. Czisnik, pp. 186-7, no. 126.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003, lot 141.

ALF Cat. No. L28

44 17

NELSON, HORATIO, BARON NELSON OF THE NILE (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘Nelson & Bronte’) to Alexander Davison, St George, ‘Naze of Norway N West 12 L[ea]g[ue]s’, 18 March 1801, including a receipt in a different hand on verso.

One page, oblong 8vo.

In March 1801, Sir William Hamilton consigned his collection of pictures— together with vases recovered from the wreck of Colossus—to Christie’s for sale by auction to pay his mounting debts. Among the many Old Masters was Madame Vigée-Le Brun’s depiction of a diaphanously clad Emma posing on a tiger skin with a ship on the horizon, known as ‘Lady Hamilton as a Recumbent Bacchante’. Nelson was outraged to see it offered for sale as—a favourite and erotic image—it had hung above his bed at the Palazzo Sessa, one of fourteen portraits of Emma at the ambassador’s residence.

After expressing his outrage to Emma, Nelson wrote this note to his agent

Alexander Davison instructing him to pay Christie’s £300, well over the odds, to secure the painting by private sale before the auction. ‘But do you not notice it to anybody for I could not bear the thought of Sir William’s selling his wife’s picture’, he ordered Davison although it is inconceivable that Sir William did not hear of the sale from his friend, the garrulous James Christie. The reverse of the note has been receipted and dated 6 April [1801] by ‘William Stalker for Mr: Christie’, presumably his sales clerk.

‘If it had cost me 300 drops of Blood I would have given it with pleasure’ Nelson afterwards told Emma (Czisnik, p.194, no.134.)

The painting went into store and following Sir William Hamilton’s death it was displayed at Merton where it was sold again by Christie’s in June 1809 when Emma, herself heavily in debt, was forced to relinquish the property and sell the contents.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE Christie’s, London, 19 October 2005, lot 20.

ALF Cat. No. L67

46 18

THOMAS DAVIDSON (FL.1863-1908)

THE EVENING BEFORE THE BATTLE OF COPENHAGEN

Oil on canvas, signed ‘T.Davidson’, 30 x 48 inches, 762 x 122mm.

This painting shows Nelson in the great cabin of HMS Elephant, 74 guns, to which he had shifted his flag from the larger St. George ahead of engaging the Danish fleet in the shallow waters off Copenhagen on 2 April 1801.

The evening before the engagement, Elephant had anchored with the British fleet below Copenhagen protected by the Middle Sound (shoal) between Denmark and Sweden. As soon as the ships were secured, Nelson had invited his captains to dinner. Among them was Captain William Bligh of

Glatton who had famously suffered a mutiny in his previous ship Bounty.

Nelson was said to be ‘in the highest spirits, and drank to a leading wind, and to the success of the ensuing day’ (despite telling Emma in his letter of 13th February (see ALF Cat. No. L26), ‘I drink nothing but water at dinner, and a little wine and water after dinner. I believe it has saved me from illness’.)

After dinner, Nelson remained in his cabin until after midnight dictating battle orders with Captain Edward

Riou of Amazon (who would be killed the next day). After a few hours fitful sleep Nelson was dressed again before six, signalling the attack order at eight.

EXHIBITED

Royal Academy, London, 1898, no 457.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 5 November 1998, lot 545.

ALF Cat. No. P70

48 19

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘Nelson & Bronte’) to Thomas Lloyd, St George, Koige Bay near Copenhagen, 24 April 1801.

Two pages, 4to, with integral address panel to Thomas Lloyd, (‘Cilywin (sic) near Carmarthan SO: wales’) with an impression in red wax of Nelson’s ‘Egyptian’ seal incorporating a palm tree, double cornucopia, grapes and bird adopted after the battle of the Nile.

This letter was written by Nelson three weeks after the Battle of Copenhagen. It reflects the frustration and resentment he felt at the mixed reaction at home to his recent victory. Writing to Captain Thomas Lloyd, an old friend from West Indies days, Nelson rails against his political masters. ‘I know the envy of many, both in the late & present Ministry are on me, but whilst my heart tells me I do my business like an honest man I can smile at their dirty attempts to pull me down I stand by myself a perfectly free independent

man and have seen too much of the world to become a tool of any party’.

Nelson informs Lloyd of his uncertain status: ‘We are I suppose on the Road home for the Emperor of Russia has ordered I can give no other name to his paper Sir Hyde Parker & the Danes to be quiet and for us not to enter the Sound but to stay in the Cattegat.’

Nelson concludes with thoughts of home and his unstated desire to see Emma and their new child ‘to go to

England and get if possible, a little rest, the moment Peace comes, I shall go to Bronte & live under the shade of my Great Chestnut tree.’

PUBLISHED Pettigrew (1849), i, p.9. (in part).

PROVENANCE Christie’s, New York, 24 April 2001.

ALF Cat. No. L11

50 20

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘Ever yours Nelson & Bronte’) to Emma, Lady Hamilton, Medusa off Boulogne, 15 August 1801.

Three pages, 4to.

In July 1801, Nelson was given command of a squadron of small ships to defend the English coast from invasion by the French. The unusual appointment was principally a moraleboosting exercise by a beleaguered government but Nelson took to the task with characteristic gusto. He moved his flag to Medusa and stationed at Sheerness then Deal he launched a series of boat actions against French gun vessels at Boulogne. Following an inconclusive foray on 4 August, another larger attack was planned for the evening of 15 August. But in this letter to Emma–written just hours before–Nelson, having now separated from his wife, first presses for news on Emma’s search for a house. ‘At this moment I can only command 3000 £ as to asking

Sir William, I could not do it, I would sooner beg, is the house at Chiswick furnish’d if not, you may fairly calculate at 2000 £ for furniture but if I can pay, as you say, by little and little we could accomplish it…but as to a house you are an excellent judge only do not have it too large for the establishment of a large house would be ruinous’.

But thoughts of his future with Emma are soon overwhelmed by the present and the impending attack. ‘As you may believe my dear Emma my mind feels at what is going forward this night it is one thing to order and arrange an attack and another to execute it but I assure you I have taken more precaution for others than if I was to go myself, then my mind would be perfectly as

ease for after they fired their guns if one half of the French do not jump overboard and swim on shore I will venture to be hanged…many poor fellows may exclaim would it were bed time and all were well but if our people behave as I expect our loss cannot be much my fingers itch to be at them’.

PUBLISHED Pettigrew, ii, pp. 154-5. Czisnik, pp. 274-5, no. 201.

PROVENANCE Christie’s, London, 21 June 1989, lot 248.

ALF Cat. No. L30

21

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter, to Emma, Lady Hamilton (alias Mrs Thomson), [undated, Amazon off Deal, circa 20th September 1801]

Two pages, 4to.

Following the disastrous attack on Boulogne, Emma and her husband had visited Nelson who had gone ashore at Deal where he had anxiously supervised the care of Captain Edward Parker, a favoured officer severally wounded in the action.

The Hamiltons remained for three weeks and on their return to town left Nelson depressed by Parker’s fate (he died on 27 September) and by the highly critical reaction to his ill-fated attack.

Having shifted his flag from Medusa to Amazon, he returned to his ship: ‘I came on board but no Emma, no no my heart will break I am in silent distraction.’ In this low mood, and

fearing interception of his letters, Nelson resorted to the fiction of writing as sailor under his command addressing Emma as ‘Mrs Thomson’, his ‘dearest wife’ and her imaginary confidante. ‘Good God what a change I am so low that I cannot hold up my head, when I reflect on the many happy scenes we passed together the being separated is terrible, but better times will come, shall come if it pleases God’.

The ruse of anonymity, unconvincing today but more common in an age of unexplained children, was often adopted by Nelson, as here, when he enquired after Horatia, his daughter with Emma. It was intended to protect them both whilst lending some

legitimacy to the sudden appearance of a child in Emma’s household.

Merton, ‘the farm’, having been secured, Nelson clings to thoughts of the future: ‘Continue to love me as Lady Hamilton does she knows my thoughts and although this letter is incoherent yet she will explain it all’.

PUBLISHED Morrison, ii, p.165, no.621, (in part). Czisnik, p. 287, no. 213.

PROVENANCE Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003, lot 145.

ALF Cat. No. L31

54 22

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph transcript in his left hand of part of a letter addressed to him by a fervent admirer, probably Emma, Lady Hamilton. [undated], circa October 1801.

Three pages, 4to.

This unusual document is a copy by Nelson of a portion from a highly flattering letter which appears to have been written shortly after preliminary peace terms with France (later ratified at Amiens) had been agreed and signed in London on 1 October 1801. ‘The King was in town yesterday in Council but no acclamations. Not much joy in town although the country seems to have made great rejoicings’.

Coupled with its passionate and intimate tone, the document displays a turn of phrase (with idiosyncratic spelling) and knowledge of politics— such as the ‘Poor King of Sardinia’ who she knew personally—and of society which is characteristic of Lady Hamilton. ‘I should like to set Nelson agst: Buonaparte by the ears Peace making, only indeed it would not have been creditable for the Honest Glorious Nelson to have been coupled to the Tigre Villain Buonaparte the Corsican thief’.

It also feeds the private grievance Nelson felt against ministers at the lack of public recognition for his recent victory at the Battle of Copenhagen.

‘We shall now see whether this generous nation will reward you Nelson their saviour, let me see if you will be made an Earl and 5000£ a year at least, and this will be but a poor recompense for the man who all the war has carried great victorys who for the last years has enabled the Minister to sit on his seat, who has given eclat to the opening of Parliament when their resources were lost & they did not know were to turn their eyes Who has kept up the honor of Great Britain who has lost his limb, health, Blood and spent his little pittance to keep up the good name generosity & hospitality of an English admiral. Never tell me that these people can do enough for Nelson. I do not see that this will be a lasting Peace, and there is but one Nelson in this world’.

Only fourteen letters are known to survive from Lady Hamilton to Nelson unlike some three hundred from him to her. Of these fourteen, only two—a brief note from 1803 and a letter from October 1805 which Nelson never opened—are dated after the likely onset of their affair in 1799. This severe and regrettable loss is probably accounted for by Nelson’s instruction, first

recorded in January 1801, that all letters between the lovers should be burned for the sake of discretion. Happily, as so often, Emma ignored this advice, perhaps for her own insurance (she was later accused of publishing Nelson’s letters for financial gain).

Nelson was in Amazon off Kent when peace terms were agreed, and he would not land until 12 October. However, close to shore he wrote to Emma every day receiving regular packets of her letters in return. These he generally acknowledged, as re-assurance they had reached him, such as on 8 October, and possibly in reply to this letter, when he thanked Emma for her ‘kind letters’ but wryly remarked ‘Ministry my Dearest friend think very differently of my services from you, but never mind I shell soon have done with them afloat’.

Apparently unpublished.

PROVENANCE Sotheby’s, London, 5 October 2005, Lot 84.

ALF Cat. No. L59

56 23

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘your sincere and much obliged friend Nelson & Bronte’) to Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, Merton, 13 February 1802.

Two pages, 4to. integral autograph address leaf with wafer seal signed (‘Nelson & Bronte’).

Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth (1748-1817) had a thirst for fame and recognition but an uncertain relationship with Nelson. However, both men had become embroiled in an unseemly legal dispute with their senior officer Admiral Lord St. Vincent, then first Lord of the Admiralty, over prize money earned in the Mediterranean in the 1790’s. After losing the case at the Court of the King’s Bench in March 1801, Nelson, for whom money was always a pressing issue, had appealed to the court and in this letter is assuring Duckworth that ‘every pain has been taken and be it decided for or agt us we have done all in our power to prevent the service being performed by Deputy’.

Nelson writes from Merton ‘a little cottage I have bought 7 miles from London mixing as little as possible with the world which I fear grows falser every day’. In the letter, Nelson bitterly complains of the unfairness of the dispute and how ‘I find it very hard to fight agst the first Lord I much doubt if Justice ought to be painted blind, for I see her Eyes always turn’d to the rich & powerful’.

Despite his pessimistic view of the legal system, Nelson would win his appeal.

The letter is annotated with regards for Duckworth from the Hamiltons. Written in Emma’s hand, it illustrates

how Nelson and Emma worked closely together at Merton with his lover shaping the admiral’s correspondence.

Duckworth missed Trafalgar but would reap his reward just months later when he was showered with trophies following his stunning victory at the Battle of San Domingo in February 1806.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003, lot 147.

ALF Cat. No. L32

59 24

A SILVER COMBINED KNIFE AND FORK

English, circa 1801

A three-pronged silver fork with steel blade fitted adjacently, ivory handle with silver collar engraved N below a viscount’s coronet and B below a ducal coronet (for Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronte).

This fork, designed for use by a one armed man, belonged to Nelson. It may be one of two ‘steel & silver knife & fork’ sets listed in in an 1801 inventory of Nelson’s seagoing silver. In an age of disabling warfare, such implements must have been widely available.

Nelson also owned a similar bespoke combined knife and fork made in gold and gifted to him Countess Spencer.

Nelson rarely mentioned his disabilities: the loss of sight in his right eye in Corsica in 1794 and the amputation of his right arm at Tenerife three years later - indeed he saw them as marks of honour - yet they nevertheless inevitably coloured his daily existence. His handwriting adapted quickly enough, from right to left hand, but the practical difficulties of dressing and feeding himself took longer to overcome. At sea, favoured officers were recruited to sit beside Nelson and cut up his food whilst in England

family and friends anxiously pressed forward to help. An account of Fanny Nelson indulgently shelling walnuts for her husband at a dinner in November 1800 survives; not because this was an unusual sight, but because his violent reaction - pushing the bowl of walnuts away with such force that it smashed - prompted outraged comment from other guests. Nelson’s action was undoubtedly caused by the pressures of the breakdown of his marriage, which were then at their height, though it also indicates pent-up frustration at his predicament and anger at being treated like an invalid. The laborious process of eating may also, to an extent, explain Nelson’s notoriously poor appetite in his last years.

25
PROVENANCE Sotheby’s, London, 5 October 2005, lot 1. ALF Cat. No. O98

Paper and vellum, dated 10 July 1802.

Nelson’s father died at Bath on 26 April 1802, aged 80. In his last days, Edmund’s relationship with his favourite son had been strained by Nelson’s association with Emma and estrangement from Edmund’s daughterin-law Fanny who had cared for the old man. Nevertheless, affected by the loss of a much revered father, Nelson put the household at Merton into mourning although, fearing perhaps he might meet his wife, he stayed away from the funeral in Burnham Thorpe on 11 May pleading ill-health.

The sole executor and principal beneficiary of Edmund’s estate was his eldest son William. In addition, Nelson received £927 in legacies, a sizeable sum.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE Sotheby’s, London, 5 October 2005, lot 20 (part).

ALF Cat. No. L53

WILL OF THE REVEREND EDMUND NELSON
61 26

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘your most affectionate Brother Nelson & Bronte’) to George Matcham, Merton, 26 and 28 April 1802.

Four pages, 4to. These letters were written in reply to a letter from George Matcham warning Nelson of the deteriorating condition of his father Edmund Nelson, then staying with the Matchams at Bath. Nelson tells Matcham on 26 April 1802: ‘I have no hopes that he can recover, gods will be done. Had my Father expressed a wish to see me unwell as I am I should have flown to Bath, but I believe it would be too late’. He assures his brother-in-law that if his father is still alive and ‘wishes to see me no consideration shall detain me a moment’. In fact, Edmund Nelson died on the day this letter was written.

Two days later, Nelson is unsure whether he will attend his father’s funeral. ‘I am not yet fixt: whether I shall go to Burnham, my state of health and what my feelings would naturally be might be of serious consequence

to my self’. But he wishes his father ‘will be buried with all that respect and attention becoming His Excellent Life and Worhty and Benficent Pastor of His Parish for 45 years’.

In the event, although he took a close interest in arrangements, Nelson did not travel to Norfolk for the funeral. He was fearful perhaps of meeting his recently estranged wife, who had been close to Edmund, or of suffering guilt for his behaviour at the funeral of a man he had held in high moral and religious regard.

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE

Sotheby’s, London, 5 October 2005, lot 20 (part).

ALF Cat. No. L53

62 27

NELSON, HORATIO, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

A set of sixteen ‘Weekly account[s] of the R[igh]t Hon[oura]ble Sir W[illia]m Hamilton, and the R[igh]t Hon[oura]ble Lord Visc[oun]t Nelson’, 21 June 1802 - 4 April 1803 (with gaps), two signed by Nelson, ‘Paid by Lord Nelson Feb[rua]ry 9 1803 Nelson & Bronte’, two others with financial calculations in Nelson’s hand, all accounts signed by Francis White (presumably Hamilton’s steward).

16 pages, folio.

These accounts provide vivid insight into the domestic affairs of the ménage à trois established by the Hamiltons and Nelson following the purchase of Merton Place. Nelson sought to be rigorous in sharing the household costs with Emma’s cuckolded husband so the weekly account for 24 to 31 January 1803 totalling £127.12s.0p. is shared equally between them, with Nelson personally endorsing his payment of £63. 16s. 0d. This high amount, perhaps £3000 today, included £11 for the grocer and £7 for the fishmonger. It reflects the heavy entertaining encouraged by Emma at the house, to Nelson’s indulgent amusement and Sir William’s despair. Guests included Nelson’s extended family

and naval colleagues, as well as politicians and royalty for whom the very best food and wine had to be provided.

The accounts also reveal some of the members of the household otherwise hidden to historians, such as ‘Phyllis Thorpe housemaid at Merton’ who was paid £2.13s.9d for three months wages (less than the cheesemonger bill for one week).

Unpublished.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 June 2009, lot 36.

ALF Cat. No. L107

64 28

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘ever my Dearest Emma your faithful & affectionate Nelson & Bronte’), Portsmouth, 19 May 1803 to Emma, Lady Hamilton.

Three pages, 4to. with integral address leaf to Lady Hamilton at 23, Piccadilly signed (‘Nelson & Bronte’) and imperfect impression of Nelson’s “Emma” seal in black wax (following the death of Sir William Hamilton on 6 April.)

This letter was written three days after Nelson received his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean fleet, and the day after war with France had been declared. Nelson was to sail two days later and would only return to Britain once more, for a brief period of shore leave shortly before the Battle of Trafalgar. Like previous departures, his personal effects had arrived in some disarray, if at all—‘my sopha & the Large chair are not in any of the list therefore I fear for them’—although he did not blame Emma for the confusion as he had his wife on earlier occasions.

The letter reveals the bustle around Nelson as he prepared to embark as he met with fellow admirals such as

Gardner (“... I shall get from him as soon as I can for they say there is much drinking...”) and Minto, and gathered around him the men who would serve most closely with him in the coming campaign, such as Sutton, Hardy, and his new secretary John Scott, who was ‘almost worn out running about for me’. Scott would be killed beside Nelson at Trafalgar.

His concern at the condition of the Victory—‘The Victory is in a pretty state of confusion and I have not moved my Cot from the amphion’— was well-founded. Her inexperienced crew was barely able to control the ship and three days out of Portsmouth Nelson was forced to transfer to the Amphion. His palpable excitement at

his return to active duty was tempered only by his separation from Emma Hamilton— ‘..Believe me I hate every thing here the misery of the Place is striking and without you I am sure every place will be the same..’—and his lingering suspicion over the intentions of the Prince of Wales: ‘...I admire the Princes calling but I am confident that none will get into your Company I feel strong on that point and you must think the same...’.

PUBLISHED Czisnik, p.378, no. 263 (in part).

PROVENANCE Sotheby’s, London, 17 January 2018.

ALF Cat. No. L184

66 29

THE SAILCLOTH POUCH FOR HMS VICTORY’S TOBACCO LIST

English, circa 1804.

Lettered in black ink Victory’s Tobacco List 21st Apl 1804, & 29 Aug, 1805, lined with a page from a ship’s muster book printed by March & Teape Tower-Hill, 33x20 cm (13 by 8 inches).

Irish-born Walter Burke (1736-1815) was purser in Victory at the time of the Battle of Trafalgar and the oldest officer in the ship. He was present at the death of Nelson who had earlier exclaimed: ‘It is nonsense, Mr. Burke, to suppose I can live. My sufferings are great but they will soon be over.’

March & Teape printed the muster books used in Victory in 1803-4.

PROVENANCE

Bonhams, London, 5 July 2005, lot 172.

ALF Cat. No. O97

68 30

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘your Ever most faithful & affectionate Nelson & Bronte’) to Emma, Lady Hamilton, Victory, 20 January 1804.

Four pages, 4to.

In May 1803, following the shortlived Peace of Amiens, Nelson was recalled to sea as commander-in-chief of the fleet in the Mediterranean. Leaving Emma at Merton, where she would soon be joined by Horatia removed from care in London, Nelson travelled to Portsmouth to join his latest and last flagship Victory. He had sailed not knowing that Emma was pregnant again.

His task in the Mediterranean was manifold and complex. Charged with keeping the French fleet bottled up at Toulon (although he longed for it to come out for battle), he also had to maintain Spanish neutrality, protect trade and manage Britain’s various interests and often duplicitous few allies in the region. These included the Dey of Algiers who ‘has been made

so insolent by Mr Norths conduct in giving him 30,000£ that nothing I suppose but a flogging will put him in order, and with the French fleet ready to put to sea that I have not time for’.

Nelson also reveals his irritation (and familiar paranoia) with Hugh Elliot, the British envoy who had superseded Sir William Hamilton at Naples.

Anxious to secure a pension for Emma’s services to the King and Queen of Naples, for whom they had both risked so much during the revolution in Naples in 1799, Nelson was frustrated at having to use Elliot as his intermediary to the Neapolitan Court.

He suspected the envoy had fallen under the spell of the King of Naples’s Machiavellian prime minister Sir John Acton who was keen to reduce Nelson’s influence. ‘Acton has him fast, but I

believe Mr E. had rather that acton & the King & Queen looked to him for my services than applying to myself’.

But Nelson’s thoughts were now never far from home and with this letter he enclosed a watch for his three-year-old daughter: ‘by a good maker that is I suppose it will tick for a year instead of a month or two’.

PUBLISHED

Pettigrew, ii, p.372 (in part). Morrison, ii, pp.222-3, no.742, (in part). Czisnik, p.422, no. 300.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003, Lot 150.

ALF Cat. No. L34

70 31

EDWARD GAYNOR ( d . 1846)

His final account with ‘Lord Viscount Nelson’ for ‘Wine, Newspapers Stock &c’, from 6 June to 1 September 1804, receipted by ‘Mr: Ford’, 5 September 1804.

Two pages, folio.

In September 1804 Edward Gaynor was a Quaker merchant from Bristol trading at the Spanish port of Rosas, then neutral. Since assuming command of the Mediterranean fleet in May, Nelson had taken up position south and some forty miles west of Toulon in the hope of intercepting the French fleet should it venture out. Efficiently managed by Gaynor, Rosas, a deepwater port on the Coast Brava, now became a critical fleet resource for water and fresh provisions while Gaynor (and the foreign newspapers he shipped to Nelson) was an important source of intelligence on French and Spanish intentions. He visited Victory, smuggled out Nelson’s private letters

with his own and even helped to apprehend deserters from the fleet. Gaynor was one of the unsung heroes of Nelson’s Trafalgar campaign.

Spanning three months, this bill for £132. 3s. 6d is for provisions supplied to Nelson for entertaining his officers and illustrates the heavy financial burden of a commanding officer at sea. It includes large quantities of fresh fruit, eggs, flour and vegetables and no less than six (live) sheep and seven turkeys. It also covers six months subscription for various foreign newspapers which Nelson, so far from home, relied on for up-to-date information. The bill does not cover wine but, in a letter

to Gaynor, although abstemious himself, Nelson had insisted that this be ‘choice’ at his table (British Library, Add. MSS 34955).

Gaynor’s bill has been paid, on Nelson’s behalf, by Richard Ford, appointed agent victualler afloat in February 1804. Highly industrious, Ford scoured the region for fresh provisions and he played a vital role in keeping Nelson’s fleet wellnourished healthy ahead of Trafalgar.

Unpublished.

ALF Cat. No. L97

72 32

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘May God in heaven bless you My Emma and send us a happy meeting is the fervent prayer of Your Ever faithful Nelson & Bronte’) to Emma, Lady Hamilton, Victory ‘150 leagues WSW from Madiera’, 18 May 1805.

Two pages, 4to.

After two exhausting years watching the French fleet at Toulon, in May 1805 Nelson was mortified to learn that it had escaped his grasp and headed through the Straits to the West Indies joined by France’s new allies, the Spanish squadron at Cadiz. Although outside his command, Nelson decided to pursue the combined fleet in the hope of catching an engaging it.

This letter was written mid-chase when Nelson’s thoughts were focused on the prospect of action and his own possible death. A recurring anxiety about providing for Emma and Horatia resurfaced especially as tax had reduced Emma’s legacy from Sir William Hamilton and all attempts to secure a pension for her diplomatic services in Naples had failed. Nelson urged frugality (in vain) and in a series of codicils to his will increased his bequests to her. In this letter he turns his attention to Horatia—who was still in care in London with a Mrs Gibson under the assumed name of Horatia Nelson Thompson—enclosing a document for his lawyer William Haslewood [now National Maritime Museum, TRA/14]. As he explained

to Emma: ‘I send you the enclosed that difficulty may arise about My Dear Horatia in case any accident should happen to me for I know too well the necessity of taking care of those we love whilst we have the power, and these arraingements do not hasten our death’

The document for Haslewood gave instruction that, after returning Horatia to Emma, Mrs Gibson should be paid an annuity on condition of relinquishing any claim on the child and for her discretion or, as Nelson writes here, ‘Mrs G must not presume to chatter’.

Soon after Emma received this letter, Horatia was removed from care and came to live at Merton as her mother’s ‘ward’.

PUBLISHED

White, p.50, no.59. Czisnik, pp.499-500, no. 373.

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003, Lot 156.

ALF Cat. No. L38

75 33

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘ever for ever your faithful Nelson & Bronte’) to Lady Hamilton (‘’My Emma), Victory off Ceuta, 24-25 July [1805].

Two pages, 4to, integral address leaf to Lady Hamilton, Merton, Surrey, signed (‘Nelson & Bronte’) with impression in red wax of Nelson’s ‘Bacchante’ seal.

After his breathless pursuit of the combined fleet to the West Indies, Nelson had returned to the Straits of Gibraltar empty handed with his crew suffering from scurvy and the admiral furious that misinformation from the governor of St Lucia, General Brereton, had allowed the enemy to elude him again. ‘I have reason to hate the name of Genl: Brereton as long as I live and perhaps our country for ever’.

On the 20 July, Nelson had steeped ashore at Gibraltar after almost two years at sea. He was exhausted, frustrated and longing for home but also fearful that he had failed to prevent an impending invasion. After watering and victualling, he would send word to the Admiralty ‘that I am

steering for Ireland or England, as I may hear my services may be most wanted there…in a very few days if it pleases God Nelson will be in the arms of his dear dear Emma’.

It would take another month for Nelson to reach England with this unusually hasty note and its untidy seal revealing the great strain he felt under.

PUBLISHED

Pettigrew, ii, pp.482-3 (in part). Czisnik, p.504, no. 379 (in part).

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 3 December 2003, Lot 157.

ALF Cat. No. L39

76 34

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (‘Ever my Dearest Emma most affectionately & faithfully your Nelson & Bronte’) to Lady Hamilton, Victory off Lisbon, 24 September 1805.

Two pages, 4to, integral address leaf signed (with initials, ‘N & B’), small traces of red wax seal.

Nelson had left Merton for the last time on 13 September 1805 to rejoin Victory at Portsmouth. Amid emotional scenes, he bid farewell to Emma and to their daughter Horatia. It was the culmination of a frantic few days at home when family and friends had descended on Merton following Nelson’s two year absence at sea.

Among the younger guests were the admiral’s many nieces and nephews such as Charlotte Nelson, daughter of Reverend Dr. William Nelson, the admiral’s elder brother, and his socially ambitious wife Sarah. They had willingly surrendered Charlotte’s education to Emma hoping for their daughter’s introduction into aristocratic circles. In return Emma willingly assumed the role of cicerone and educatrix to the younger Nelsons as it integrated her into her lover’s family.

In this letter, written off Lisbon en route to the fleet at Cadiz, Nelson sends Emma an unbound copy of a work by the French comic novelist and playwright Alain-René Le Sage (1668-1747), which he had obviously

enjoyed himself. ‘You will find them the most interesting thing in the world for Your happy pupils to read and refer to’. He also encloses (with excellent advice): ‘three packs of cards which to those who know French may be very instructive the manner of playing is told in the enclosed papers, make them put in money and they will soon tell’. For Emma, there are prints of Algiers and, to her, familiar views of Capri and Strombolo, presumably for display at Merton.

The passage from Portsmouth had been slow and Victory was further delayed off Lisbon by light winds. The sending of gifts suggests that Nelson, after leaving England, may have briefly gone ashore again at Lisbon before his death a month later.

PUBLISHED

Czisnik, p.520, no.392, (in part).

PROVENANCE

Christie’s, London, 19 October 2005, lot 43.

ALF Cat. No. L75

80 35

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Order signed (‘Nelson & Bronte’) drafted by his secretary John Scott (d.1805) with autograph annotation signed (‘Nelson & Bronte’) to Captain Sir Thomas Livingstone (b.1769), Victory, 14 October 1805.

Two pages, folio.

This poignant order was composed by Nelson and drafted by his secretary John Scott just a week before the Battle of Trafalgar when both men would be killed.

In the order, issued off Cadiz and written on the admiral’s personal

letterhead—likely printed in Victory— Nelson directs Captain Livingstone of the frigate Renommée to escort a convoy carrying specie to Malta before returning to Gibraltar.

ALF Cat. No. L40

82 36

HORATIO NELSON, VISCOUNT (1758-1805)

Autograph letter signed (’yours faithfully Nelson & Bronte“) to Admiral Sir James Saumarez, Victory off Cadiz, 18 October 1805.

Three pages, 4to.

Letters from Nelson immediately preceding the Battle of Trafalgar are exceptionally rare. This letter was written just three days before the action to his friend Admiral Sir James Saumarez who, as captain of Orion, had inaugurated the Egyptian Club after their victory at the Battle of the Nile. Nelson is writing in response to a request to shift a Royal Marine lieutenant to a frigate: ‘at present I fear the frigates are full and the line of battle ships empty’. He also thanks Saumarez—then commanding naval defences in his native Guernsey—for a delivery of newspapers and his advice on buying champagne.

But Nelson is clearly preoccupied by the activity of the enemy before him. ‘Our friends at Cadiz are ready to come forth and I hope they will not again escape me’. Although he regrets that the detached squadron operating in the Bay of Biscay under

Sir Richard Strachan was not stronger (in the event, Strachan would capture the four enemy ships which escaped from Trafalgar), Nelson hoped ‘that we shall see Buonaparte humbled’.

With a postscript, the letter was obviously completed shortly before the frigate Penelope left the fleet with final dispatches on the 19 October. Two other letters written by Nelson the same day are known, and three subsequent ones (to Admiral Collingwood, Lady Hamilton and Horatia).

PUBLISHED Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord Saumarez (1838), 2, p.87.

PROVENANCE

Sotheby’s, London, 5 October 2005, Lot 100.

ALF Cat. No. L61

84 37

THOMAS FLETCHER ( b . 1777)

Autograph journal written during his service as second gunner, then able seaman, on H.M.S. Defence, October 1804 to November 1805.

Approx. 170 pages, 4to. Thomas Fletcher (age 26) was pressed into service in 1803. He served on Defence, 74 guns, and begins his journal on 31 October 1804, shortly before she sailed for Cadiz. War with Spain was declared soon afterwards, and over the following months, in idiosyncratic style, Fletcher records the daily business of the Cadiz blockade, including ships detained by the Squadron en route to Cadiz. ‘[13 January] 9 am tooke A Spanish Ship from Hiavenear [i.e. Havana] Bound to Cadiz the Brig Begel in Company loded with Coch and Eile [i.e. Cochineal] and two boxes of Money on bord of her…”). On 23 February 1805 Fletcher recorded that: “the Admiral Maide A Signal for to Form the Line Of Battle … in Case of Action for the Newes is that the French fleet has got Out of Toloune and we think that they will make for Cadiz”. His record of rumours and false alarms over the next weeks reveal the high state of anxiety in the squadron, and on 9 April Fletcher provides us with a vivid account of the enemy’s escape from the Mediterranean: ‘at three the rewen [HMS Revenge] and Sorpe [HMS Sophie] Came runing out of the Gute and aleven Sail of the Line and Nine Sail of French Frigates and Six Sale of Spanish Ships of the Line In Chace of Theme … at fower The Admiral made the Signal To the Squadren to Cast the Ships of and at this time The French Ships Coming

Down Very fast and the Admiral Made the Signal To have Every thing Over Bord Such as Casks and Things and to Cleare away For Action as fast as possable And at five [...] Made the Signal to make Sale as nite Coming On and there flete beine So Strong to our Sqardren only Six Sale of the Line.’

After this narrow escape, Orde ordered his squadron’s retreat to join the Channel fleet. The summer was relatively uneventful until, on 17 August, Defence’s Captain George Hope received the signal to head south in their renewed hunt for the enemy. In fact the Combined Fleet was by this time in Cadiz, which Defence reached a few days later. On 6 September news was that ‘the french Was Making all Ready to Come Out’, but after this false alarm Defence settled down to wait (recording on 29 September that “Lord admiral Nelson Joined Us with three Sail of The Line”). Defence had a crucial place in the cordon around Cadiz, lying between the shore and the main fleet and was the first ship of the line to see the signal at 8 am on 19 October: ‘the frigate In Shore firid Signall gune To Us that the franch & Spanish Fleet Was out’.

Defence was placed towards the rear of Collingwood’s division, which attacked the rear of Villeneuve’s line. Fletcher then provides a terse description of the Battle of Trafalgar:

86 38

‘Moderate Breezes & clear Wheather at half past 5 in the morning The french & Spanish fleet We Saw to Leeward of Us We Maid A Signal Immeditly to Admiral Nelson that The Enemy was close by he answered it Immedily & maid all the Sail they Could towards them Admiral Nelson Maid A General Signal Saying Boold Britions fooley [i.e. follow] Me the Acton Begon Five Minutes past 12 it lasted untell 20 minutes to 5 in the Even[in]g we took 18 Sail Of the Line and one Blowing in the east Maid 19 in number we took Command Of the Shipes that Struck to us at 5 PM’

Fletcher gives a detailed account of the aftermath of the battle: renewed alerts of possible enemy action, the gales that buffeted the fleet, the problems dealing with prisoners and the wounded. On 1 November, he writes: ‘The Captain thought proper To Read a letter that he Rec[eive]d From Collingwood Concerning Admiral Nelson Death’.

Fletcher’s journal tails off on 28 November, but he returned to it in later years to add two further entries, the final one being: ‘Tuesday Jenary 18: 1807 This Day the Defence Ships Company Received there Midles [i.e. medals] on this Day for the Acton of the 21 Day of October 1805.’ These were the medals struck by the industrialist Matthew Boulton at his own cost and distributed throughout the fleet.

PUBLISHED

Roy Adkin, Trafalgar: The Biography of a Battle (London, 2004); Thomas Huskisson, Eyewitness to Trafalgar (London, 1985).

PROVENANCE

Sotheby’s, London, 5 October 2005.

87
ALF Cat. No. L94

HENRY SINGLETON, R.A. (1766-1839)

THE DEATH OF NELSON AT THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR

Oil on canvas, 25 x 34in. (63.5 x 86.4cm)

After the Battle of Cape St Vincent, when images of Nelson were in demand, Henry Singleton secured a sitting with the admiral in London where he was recuperating from the loss of his arm. Singleton’s painting ‘Lord Nelson Boarding the Spanish Ships’ was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1798 to coincide with the publication of a successful print

after his portrait of ‘The Right Hon Horatio Baron Nelson of the Nile’.

This oil sketch by Singleton may have been made in preparation for an attempt to win 500 guineas offered by printmaker and publisher Josiah Boydell for the ‘best picture’ of the battle of Trafalgar and death of Nelson. Other artists vying for

this valuable prize included Samuel Drummond, Benjamin West, Mather Brown and eventual winner Arthur William Devis [National Maritime Museum BHC2894].

PROVENANCE Christie’s, London, 11 November 1999.

ALF Cat. No. P86

88 39

A PAINTED SILK BANNER

processed by the Hastings company of Volunteers at the funeral of Lord Nelson 9th of January 1806.

Black silk panel painted in gold with a trophy-of-arms including cannon, swords, cross staff, sails and sprig of oak, contained within oak frame with inscription on reverse reading THIS BANNER WAS CARRIED AT THE FUNERAL OF ADMIRAL LORD NELSON IN ST.

PAUL’S CATHEDRAL 1806 JANUARY 9 BY MR. ROBERT THATCHER, AN OFFICER OF THE HASTINGS COMPANY OF VOLUNTEERS.

Dimensions: 19½ x 16½in. (49.5 x 42cm.)

Nelson was accorded a state funeral with full military honours but with so many line regiments on active service–and ships at sea–the funeral route was largely lined by volunteer corps drawn from London and its vicinity. Hastings formed one of three companies of the Cinque Ports Volunteers, on the Kent coast, and was likely invited as its

founder and colonel commandant was prime minister William Pitt (who would die two weeks after Nelson’s funeral).

PROVENANCE Charles Miller Auctions, 27 October 2010, lot 93.

ALF Cat. No. O371

90 40

JOHN SALTER (ACTIVE 1780-1827)

Autograph letter signed to George Matcham, London, 18 April 1806.

One page, 4to. with integral address leaf and wafer seal.

John Salter was Nelson’s sword cutler and jeweller. After an apprenticeship in Portsmouth, he established premises at 35, Strand, London to benefit from the trade of the many naval officers traversing the street from the Admiralty in Whitehall to the Navy Office at Somerset House.

Nelson was a frequent visitor to the shop when in town using Salter to securely store his valuables, such as his celebrated Chelengk jewel, before he went to sea: an indication of his high regard for the jeweller. He also ordered various items of plate as gifts from Salter, such as a silver git goblet for his infant daughter Horatia. Salter may also have supplied the admiral with an 1805 pattern sea officer’s sword before the Trafalgar campaign.

After Nelson’s death, Salter was charged by William, first Earl Nelson with the manufacture of at least fifty four gold and enamel mourning rings for distribution among family, friends and close associates of the admiral. He also remained on close personal terms with Emma, Lady Hamilton acting as her pawnbroker when she faced financial hardship.

It is likely that John Slater also supplied Nelson with additional items of plate granted to him by Lloyd’s Coffee House after the Battle of Copenhagen. The silver was intended to complement an earlier bespoke service of plate also presented to Nelson by Lloyd’s after the Battle of the Nile which had been arranged by royal goldsmiths Rundell & Bridge.

In this letter to Nelson’s brother-in-law George Matcham, married to Nelson’s sister Catherine, Salter apologises for the delay in engraving the late admiral’s arms ‘in full’ on items (viz a ‘tureen & sauce do:’) from the service inherited by Catherine. ‘No pains has been spared in the execution,’ Salter assures his customer, ‘I have taken a cast from one which will put in a small frame for your library’.

Unpublished.

ALF Cat. Ref.Tatoiu

93 41

HENRY CADOGAN

Autograph letter signed (‘yr: Hble. Servt: Henry Cadogan’) to George Matcham, Dover, 24 April 1815, annotated with draft reply.

Two pages, 4to. with integral address leaf.

Henry Cadogan was the British consul at Calais who had taken charge of Emma Hamilton’s pitiful last effects following her death there on 15 January 1815. Cadogan, who lent money to Emma in the last difficult days of life, had arranged and paid for her modest funeral before returning to England, probably on account of the escape of Napoleon and the onset of the Hundred Days leading to the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June.

‘I arrived at this place from France yesterday & felt much disappointed to find the trunk containing the late Lady Hamilton’s effects so long promised to Miss Nelson had not been sent. I have this day sent the trunk’.

In his draft reply, George Matcham, thanks Cadogan for his ‘friendly attention’ to the matter of the trunk and for his ‘parental attention’ to fourteen year old Horatia whilst in France. Matcham had earlier travelled to France to collect his wife’s orphaned niece who had been taken into their family at Ashfold Lodge, near Horsham in Sussex.

Apparently unpublished.

ALF Cat. No. L95

94 42

ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE TEXT

ALF: Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.

Czisnik: Marianne Czisnik (ed.), Nelson’s Letters to Lady Hamilton and Related Documents, Publications of the Navy Records Society, Vol. 167, (London,2020).

Morrison: [Alfred Morrison], The Collection of Autograph Letters and Historical Documents formed by Alfred Morrison (Second Series, 1882-1893) – The Hamilton & Nelson Papers, 2 volumes. Printed for private circulation, 1893.

Nicolas: Nicholas Harris Nicolas (ed.), The Dispatches and Letters of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, 7 volumes (London, 1844-6).

Pettigrew: Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, Memoirs of the Life of Vice-Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, K.B. Duke of Bronté etc. etc. etc., 2 volumes (London, 1849).

Photography by Mark Dalton Designed by Jason Hopper, district-6.com

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