RARE PIPE RACK CARVED FROM OAK WOOD TAKEN FROM ADMIRAL NELSON'S FLAGSHIP, THE H.M.S. VICTORY
(NELSON, Horatio). Oak Pipe Rack Carved from H.M.S. Victory Timbers. No place: circa 1910. Oak pipe rack, fashioned into the shape of an anchor with brass rings at the ends, designed to accommodate four pipes, 8 inches tall on a 7 by 3-inch base, with carved identification at bottom center: "H.M.S. VICTORY" $6500.
Rare pipe rack carved from timbers of Admiral Nelson's flagship, H.M.S. Victory, to help fund restoration efforts to preserve the historic vessel early in the 20th century.
The Battle of Trafalgar was a spectacular success for the British navy over the combined fleets of the French and Spanish navies, but the victory was tainted by the death of Admiral Lord Nelson, shot during the engagement by a French musketeer. Nelson's flagship H.M.S. Victory had been badly damaged in the fight and was towed to Gibraltar by HMS Neptune for repairs, before carrying Nelson's body to England where, after lying in state at Greenwich, he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral on January 9, 1806. In 1910, the Society for Nautical Research was created to try and preserve the Victory for future generations, but the Admiralty was unable to help, having become embroiled in an escalating arms race; thus by the time Frank H. Mason published The Book of British Ships in 1911, Victory's condition was described as "nothing short of an insult." By 1921, she was in a very poor state, and the "Save the Victory" campaign was started, with shipping magnate Sir James Caird becoming a major contributor. (Restoration was finally completed well after the close of the Second World War; today, it is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and attracts over 350,000 visitors annually as a museum ship.) This pipe rack is from a generations-old British military and naval family collection; featured in an April 2015 article in The Mariner's Mirror, "Benjamin T. Hill's HMS Victory Collection," by Rodney Hilton Brown.
Typical age-wear with some minor oxidation to metal rings. An exceptional commemorative piece.