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A Gilt Brass Nelson Snuff Box, 1806
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A Gilt Brass Nelson Snuff Box, 1806

Measurements: Diameter: 7.5cm (3in)



Of circular form, the sides decorated with panels featuring ships’ hulls, the British lion  and nautically themed trophies of arms. The top embellished with Greek key pattern encircling Admiral Nelson’s profile bust in full uniform, hair en queue, cloak gathered round just below the epaulettes. Signed ‘M&P’ to the reverse for Nathaniel Merchant, R.A. (1739-1816) and Lewis Pingo (1743-1830).

Merchant was noted as a sculptor of intaglios, medals, and poetical designs for cameos. His subjects included copies from the antique, adaptations of famous paintings and portraits of his contemporaries. He held several appointments, including Assistant Engraver to the Royal Mint, Gem Sculptor to the Prince of Wales, Engraver to the King and from 1800, Engraver to the Stamp Office. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1791 and a full Academician in 1809. Lewis Pingo was also an Assistant Engraver to the Royal Mint who succeeded his father in the post in 1776.

The underside embossed with the legend: ‘ADMIRAL LORD NELSON’ / ‘BORN 29 SEPT. 1756.’ Reverse: (embossed between two oak branches) ‘CONQUEROR / At / ABOUKIR / 1 AUGT 1798 / COPENHAGEN / 2 APRIL 1801 / TRAFALGAR / 21 OCTr 1805 / WHERE HE / GLORIOUSLY /

Similar examples are in the Victoria and Albert Museum (O78488) and Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth (212/73).