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Angela Youngman reports on two local exhibitions that are worth a look.

The Nelson Bullet (1805) Royal Collection Trust

Norwich Castle Museum, Castle Meadow, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 3JQ. Tel: 01603 493625. Runs until Sunday 1st October.


tunned amazement is inevitable when entering the new Nelson & Norfolk exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum. The sheer scale of the main exhibit virtually fills the entire room!

This vast French Tricolour ensign was captured by Nelson’s flagship HMS Foudoyrant during the Revolutionary Wars. The ensign had belonged to the 74 gun French warship, Le Généraux, which had taken part in the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Two years later, during the Battle of Malta Convoy, Nelson’s ships cornered it along the Barbary Coast. After several broadsides, Le Généraux surrendered, hauling down its ensign and handing it to the victors. It has not been seen in public for over 100 years. Very few ensigns from the Revolutionary Wars survive, due to the fact that they are so massive and tended to be severely damaged in battle. This particular ensign is even more important because the Tricolor had only been the French national flag for six years before its capture. Among the other objects on display are paintings, clothes and memorabilia relating to Lord Nelson, especially in connection with his dramatic death and funeral. News clippings from the period highlight the clamour which surrounded his lying in state at the Painted Room in


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Greenwich. The ensign which covered his coffin should have been buried with him, but was seized by sailors and ripped to pieces as a memorial – which is why there are countless pieces scattered around museums throughout the country. One such scrap is on display in this exhibition. A locket containing the musket ball which killed him is on loan from the Royal Collection. There are paintings portraying him as a hero when he returned to East Anglia, as well as the uniform coat he wore at the Battle of the Nile, complete with perspiration marks and powder from his hair. Over all, this is a fascinating exhibition which enables visitors to appreciate the role played by Nelson on both a national and a regional basis, since Norfolk is Nelson’s County. It is worth visiting the exhibition just to view the massive Tricolor, as the chances of seeing it displayed on such a large scale in the future are remote.

Norfolk on My Mind - Autumn 2017  

The Autumn 2017 edition of Norfolk on My Mind Magazine. Cover all of North Norfolk, including Holt, Burnham Market, Sherringham, Cromer, Fak...