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Nelson Funeral Souvenir, 1806
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Nelson Funeral Souvenir, 1806

Measurements: Diameter: 14.6cm (5.75in)

£625

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Printed card circular badge suspended from a silk ribbon. The obverse depicting Nelson’s funeral car decorated with the battle honour ‘NILE, the admiral’s personal motto 'PALMAM QUI MERUIT FERAT' (Let him wear the palm who has deserved it) and the battle honour ‘TRAFALGAR’. The reverse printed with the prayer Nelson’s wrote shortly before the Battle of Trafalgar - ‘May the Great God, whom I worship, Grant to my Country, and for the benefit of Europe, a great and glorious Victory! & may no misconduct in any one tarnish it! & may Humanity after Victory be the predominant feature in the British fleet! For myself individually, I commit my life to him who made me, and may his blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully! To him I resign myself, & the just Cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen.’

Souvenirs such as this would have found a ready market amongst those who witnessed the funeral of Admiral Lord Nelson that took place over five days in January 1806. Arriving at Greenwich on 23 December 1805, the much lamented hero lay in state in the Painted Hall from 5 to 7 January in a coffin made from the main mast of the French ship, L'Orient, destroyed at the Nile. More than 15,000 people came to pay their respects and many more were turned away. Nelson's body was taken from Greenwich up the Thames to Whitehall on 8 January, spending the night before the funeral at the Admiralty. The next day it was placed in the funeral car modelled on the Victory and taken through the streets to St Paul's, where it was finally laid to rest in the crypt.

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