Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum


Relics of Nelson and Trafalgar to be auctioned

Chrístõ
chris@cjsquire.plus.com


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Nelson's ships sailed into battle at Trafalgar flying the national flag rather than just their squadron colours, as a result of an order issued by Nelson in the days before the battle: "When in the presence of an Enemy, all the Ships under my command are to bear white Colours [i.e. St George's Ensign], and a Union Jack is to be suspended from the fore top-gallant stay". 

HMS Victory’s two Union flags and a St George's Ensign . . were returned to England with the ship and the body of Nelson . . a vast procession followed Nelson's remains to St Paul's Cathedral . . (including) a group of 48 seamen . . from HMS Victory, who bore with them the ship's three battle ensigns . .
At the conclusion of the funeral service, with the coffin placed at the heart of the cathedral beneath Wren's great dome, the sailors were supposed to fold the flags and place them reverently on the coffin. The conclusion of the service, in fact, played out rather differently, as described by the Naval Chronicle (1806):

"the Comptroller, Treasurer and Steward of his Lordship's household then broke their staves, and gave the pieces to Garter, who threw then into the grave, in which all the flags of the Victory, furled up by the sailors were deposited - These brave fellows, however, desirous of retaining some memorials of their great and favourite commander, had torn off a considerable part of the largest flag, of which most of them obtained a portion." 

lot 116 'The Victory Jack’ Est. 80,000 — 100,000 GBP
………………………..
‘He was one of Britain’s greatest military leaders but letters coming up for auction in the new year reveal a less noble side to Admiral Lord Nelson: petulant, jealous and complaining. Two of the letters are from Nelson to his lover Emma Hamilton, another is written by Hamilton and a fourth features the couple writing together. They shed fascinating light on Nelson, his palpable and obvious love for Hamilton, and how he was probably more at ease when he was fighting.
“I’m afraid it is often the case that Nelson is not at his best when he is inactive,” said Gabriel Heaton, a books and manuscripts specialist at Sotheby’s, which will sell the letters. “In the final letter you can just sense the frustration, he can complain quite a lot … he is itching to get back to what he knows he does best.” . . The letters will feature in a sale on 17 January . . ‘

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/27/petulant-jealous-lord-nelson-letters-reveal-less-noble-side
www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.134.html/2018/of-royal-and-noble-descent-l18306
www.sothebys.com/en/search-results.html?keyword=nelson+letters
lots 133 - 134


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