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Admiral Nelson Battle of Cape St. Vincent Portrait, 1797
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Admiral Nelson Battle of Cape St. Vincent Portrait, 1797

Measurements: Overall: 51cm (16in) x 41cm (20in)

£1750

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Mezzotint. Three-quarters length standing to right, looking towards the viewer, left hand on the hilt of his sword, right sleeve fastened with two ribbons between elbow and shoulder, wearing Rear-Admiral’s full dress uniform with Order of the Bath sash and breast star; Battle of Cape St Vincent in the background. Inscribed either side of Nelson’s armorial and 'Faith and Works’ motto, 'Knight of the most Honorable Military Order of the Bath, / Rear Admiral of the Blue Squadron of His Majesty's Fleet', publishers dedication to the Duke of Clarence, and 'Engraved by Rob.t Laurie, from a Miniature Picture, in the Possession of Lady Nelson, Painted at Leghorn. / Published 12, Nov.r 1797, by Rob.t Laurie & Ja.s Whittle No. 53 Fleet Street London.’ Image: 40cm (15.75in) x 29cm (11.25in). Framed and glazed.

Following the loss of Nelson’s right arm at Tenerife in July 1797 and his use of the tactic of boarding the San José, to attack the San Nicolás at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent (14 February 1797) - aka ‘Nelson's patent bridge for boarding enemy vessels’ - public demand grew for of an image of this newly found national hero. In London Lady Nelson lent the publisher Robert Laurie a miniature of her husband that he had commissioned at Leghorn in 1794 to produce an up to date mezzotint by altering the captain’s uniform to a rear-admiral’s, removing the right arm and adding the Bath insignia. The miniature long remained the treasured possession of Lady Nelson. It is was acquired by the National Maritime Museum in 1948. Laurie later used the image to create an engraving to celebrate Nelson’s victory at the Nile (1 August 1798), showing him full length and with the French flagship L’Orient exploding in the background.
 

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