MAGNIFICENT COPPER HALF-RELIEF OF NELSON, THE HERO OF TRAFALGAR, FABRICATED FROM THE COPPER HULL SHEATHING OF THE H.M.S. VICTORY, HANDSOMELY FRAMED
NELSON, Horatio. Copper half-relief bust portrait of Horatio Nelson. Society for Nautical Research, circa 1910. Copper half-relief measuring 11-1/2 by 16 inches; framed in birdseye maple, entire piece measures 14-1/2 by 18-1/2 inches. $25,000.
Striking copper half-relief bust portrait of Horatio Nelson in military uniform, fashioned out of copper hull sheathing from the flagship where he fell, the H.M.S. Victory, captioned "Nelson" in the relief, handsomely framed in simple birdseye maple.
This beautiful copper half-relief bust portrait of Horatio Nelson was fashioned out of the copper hull sheathing of the flagship where he fell in battle, the H.M.S. Victory. The solid, finely hammered and chased artwork shows tool marks and gilding under an even, well-aged patina, evidence of the quality of the craftsmanship. Following the battle of Trafalgar, the H.M.S. Victory was badly damaged and could not return to port under the power of its own sail. After delivering Nelson's body to London, the Victory was repaired and remained in active service until 1812, when she was moored at Portsmouth. The ship then served as a training vessel for some time. However, by the turn of the 20th century, she had deteriorated so badly that, in 1910, a group of enthusiasts established the Society for Nautical Research to help fund restoration of the ship. The essential parts of the project were not completed until well after the close of the Second World War. The very last repairs were not completed until 2005, just in time for the bicentennial of Trafalgar. Today, the Victory is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and attracts over 350,000 visitors per year as a museum ship. To help fund its restoration efforts, the Society for Nautical Research took unusable parts, such as nails and cooper sheathing, and melted them down to be refashioned as souvenirs. This handsome piece was among the most elaborate of these. From the military collection of Rodney Hilton Brown, founder of the War Museum, New York. Featured in an April 2015 article in The Mariner's Mirror, "Benjamin T. Hill's HMS Victory Collection," by Rodney Hilton Brown.
Tiny repaired split at top of relief, virtually invisible, that occurred upon manufacture. Fine condition.