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Admiral Lord Nelson Trafalgar Centenary Portrait Plaque, 1905

Silvered copper. Relief portrait bust of Admiral Lord Nelson, in Vice-Admiral’s uniform and full dress bicorne decorated with chelengk, by Louis Frederick Roslyn. Mounted and contained in period oak frame. Plaque 22cm (8.7in) x 19.5cm (7.7in)

The plaque, designed for the Trafalgar Centenary, is the work of Louis Frederick Roselieb aka Roslyn, F.R.S.B.S., (1878-1940). Educated at Westminster City & Guilds of London Technical College and trained at the Royal Academy Schools, he was the winner of the Landseer Scholarship for sculpture in 1905. His father, a sculptor from Hanover, Germany naturalized as a British citizen in 1897 at which time Louis was employed at the Clayton Works, Kennington. While working at the Standard Plating Company in East London, he produced architectural sculpture which can be seen in Kingsway, London; and a figure representing Commerce and a figure representing Art holding brush and palette at 70-71 New Bond Street, London. In 1911 he received his first major commission, a statue of Edward VII for Tooting Bec, South London. 

On the outbreak of the First World War Roseleib was caught up in the general euphoria of enlistment and joined the United Arts Volunteer Rifles, an obscure home defence unit made up of London’s actors, artists and writers. They drilled with mixed results in the quadrangle of Burlington House, and quickly gave themselves the nickname of the ‘Unshrinkables’ from the white sweaters they wore as uniform. As a result of the widespread hostility to all things of German, anglisized his name to Roslyn, and in December 1915 enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps, but for medical or other reasons was put on the reserve until 1917 when he was called to the School of Military Aeronautics probably on account of his knowledge of metallurgy. He was subsequently commissioned as a Lieutenant. After the war he executed sculptural work for many important war memorials in England and Wales, including those at Holyhead, Haslingden, Oswaldtwistle, Tottenham, Darwen, Clitheroe, Rawtenstall, Bexhill, Basingstoke, Wetherby, Swanley and Calverley. He also executed a war memorial in Trinidad, and portrait busts the Duke and Duchess of Connaught.

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