To enquire about this item please enter your details below and we will contact you shortly.

(Your details will not be shared with any third parties)

Tick the box below if you would like to receive the Armoury of St James's Bulletin - a quarterly e-newsletter that showcases an exclusive selection of the latest military antiques offered at our premises in Piccadilly Arcade.

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
A Regency Admiral Lord Nelson Brooch
Hover over image to zoom, click to expand.

A Regency Admiral Lord Nelson Brooch

Circa 1810

Measurements: Height: 5cm (2in)



A bloodstone cameo profile portrait of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), executed in white vitreous paste contained within a oval gold brooch setting and with a bloodstone suspension in the form of crossed branch of oak (symbolizing the ‘wooden walls of England’) and a palm branch (in reference to Nelson’s motto, ‘Palmam qui meruit ferat’, (‘let he who has earned it bear the palm’)), fitted with a gold pin.

During the reign of George III the fashion for collecting of antique engraved cameos and intaglios reached a high point and demand soon exceeded supply. To fill the gap the Scottish modeller James Tassie (1735-1799) created copies of examples from antiquity as well as cameos of contemporaries including Napoleon, Nelson, and Lady Hamilton. The casting of such utilized a new form of fired vitreous paste to form the portrait that included silica, lead oxide and potassium oxide.

After Nelson’s death his widow is known to have ordered three such brooches from the firm of William Tassie (1777-1860). A further bloodstone and vitreous paste example is in the National Maritime Museuem (0287) at Greenwich, which is said to have been worn by , Horatia Nelson Ward (1801-1881), Nelson’s daughter by Emma Hamilton. The wearing of such cameo portraits was not exclusively confined to ladies as Arthur William Devis’ portrait of Admiral Peter Rainier (1762-1822) demonstrates.