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A George V Admiral Lord Nelson Bust, 1932
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A George V Admiral Lord Nelson Bust, 1932

Measurements: Height overall: 30cm (12in)

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Copper alloy bust in vice admiral’s uniform with hair tied en queue, set upon an integral square section base inscribed ‘Nelson’ / To / T. Corley, Esq. / A Token of Gratitude for / Valuable Services Rendered / Milford Haven / December 1932 // Presented by / British Sailors / Society // Made of Copper / from / Nelson’s Flagships’. The whole further mounted on a turned and tapered columnar wood base.  Height of copper bust 20cm (8in). 

The copper for this bust is a mixture of that stripped from the 80-gun third-rate ship-of-the-line  Foudroyant in to which Nelson transferred his flag after the Battle of the Nile, and that taken from H.M.S. Victory. Foudroyant was finally wrecked in 1897 in a storm off Blackpool where she was being exhibited as a historical relic of Nelson and the sailing navy. Victory as a continuously commissioned ship of the Royal Navy underwent periodic refits and was thus an ongoing source of such material.

The bust is one of a number created by Toye, Kenning and Spence, London with the permission of the Lords of the Admiralty and presented in the first instance to a select group of international V.I.Ps to mark the 100th anniversary of death of Nelson in 1905. These early recipients of the Sailors’ Society Nelson bust included the Arctic explorer Dr Fridtjof Nansen, the New Zealand Parliament, Admiral Togo of the Japanese Imperial Navy, Lady Megan Lloyd-George (wife of the then Chancellor of the Exchequer), and President Theodore Roosevelt as reported in the press in November 1905: ‘President Roosevelt has accepted from the British & Foreign Sailors’ Society a small bust of Nelson for the White House’  (Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser). Subsequent recipients are presumed to be notable supporters of the Sailors’ Society. The Sailors’ Society was formed by a group of clergymen in 1818 at a City tavern in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars to minister to the religious needs of seamen. As such it acknowledged both Nelson as ‘a child of the rectory’ and his influence in raising an often overlooked ‘class of men to the the pinnacle of greatness’.

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