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Admiral Lord Nelson Bulb Vase, 1803-05

Worcester porcelain spill vase by Barr, Flight & Barr. Of plain flared cylindrical form with gilded moulded ring handles and gilded border transfer decorated obverse with figures of Neptune and Britannia seated in a chariot drawn by sea horses and driven by a cupid representing Fame, Neptune holding a shield bearing a portrait of Nelson; reverse with three putti firing a cannon representing War. Backstamp to the base of Barr, Flight & Barr, Royal Porcelain Works, Worcester.
This vase is finely decorated with a transfer celebrating Nelson’s fame.
The same decoration is visible on a pot-pourri vase in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and on a garniture at the Nelson Museum, Monmouth. In Summer 1802, Nelson visited Worcester with Sir William and Lady Hamilton touring the porcelain factories and placing various orders including for a large order for a breakfast, dinner and dessert service from Chamberlain’s.  This remained uncompleted at the time of his death and is now scattered among public and private collections. Among his smaller orders was for a beaker ‘richly ornamented with a miniature of his Lordship, supported by a figure of fame &c’, possibly an inspiration for this vase.

Founded in 1783 and existing in various guises until 1840, Barr, Flight & Barr cultivated an exclusive clientele supplying porcelain to the aristocracy and royalty. Nelson is believed to have owned a dessert service in voguish Japan pattern by Barr.   

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