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Vice Admiral Lord Collingwood’s Silver Salver (1763), 1807

An eighteenth century circular salver with foliate border on three ball and claw feet, the centre engraved with the crest of ‘The stern of the Royal Sovereign’ granted in 1807 as an augmentation of honour to the armorial achievement of Vice Admiral 1st Baron Collingwood (1748-1810) in recognition of services at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 when first to engage the enemy and second-in-command to Nelson. Hallmarked 1763.

Among the many honours and rewards showered upon Collingwood in the aftermath of Trafalgar, the granting of the ship’s stern crest borne on the present salver bears a special significance in relation to the battle’s senior commanders. Admiral Lord Nelson had received a ship’s stern crest in 1797 following his boarding and capture of the Spanish flagship San Josef at the battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797 - the crest being granted following his creation as a knight of the Bath in March the same year. In 1806 Rear Admiral the 7th Earl of Northesk was granted the additional crest of ‘the stern of a  French line-of-battle ship on fire' in respect of his part as third in command at the victory off Cape Trafalgar. It was therefore logical in 1807 that Vice Admiral Collingwood should receive a similar honour albeit a little belatedly. With both the sterns of Spanish and French ships taken as crests by Nelson and Northesk respectively, Collingwood was granted a crest in the form of the stern of his own flagship H.M.S. Royal Sovereign - the lead ship of the lee column and the first to engage the combined fleets of France and Spain on 21 October 1805.

It should be noted that the official differencing between the three crests is distinct. Nelson’s carrying the word’s ‘SAN JOSEF’ and Northesk’s with flames rising from the main deck. The human figures visible to the starboard and larboard of Collingwood's engraved crest on the present salver can be seen as an interpretation of the relatively elaborate stern decoration carried by his triple deck, 100-gun flagship Royal Sovereign.


Moule, T. (1842) ‘Heraldry of Fish: Notices of the Principal Families Bearing Fish in Arms’, J. Van Voorst, London
Russell, W.C., (1895) ‘The Life of Admiral Lord Collingwood’, Methuen, London

© The Armoury of St James's 17 Piccadilly Arcade London SW1Y 6NH