Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson’s Armorial bookplate, 1797
Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson’s Armorial bookplate, 1797
Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson’s Armorial bookplate, 1797
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Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson’s Armorial bookplate, 1797

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Overall: 17.5cm (7in) x 14.5cm (5.75in)

Engraved bookplate on heavy gauge laid paper, incorporating Nelson's shield and crest (depicting the stern of the San Josef), and with the motto below 'Faith and Works’. Plate size: 9.8cm (3.85in) x 6.6cm (2.6in), sheet size 13.2cm (5.2in) x 10cm x (3.95in).

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Many of Nelson’s surviving books display his armorial bookplate which was printed in two versions. The present example is the Admiral’s earliest known bookplate designed following the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797 when Nelson adopted the stern view of San Josef – the Spanish warship he captured in a daring boarding manoeuvre – as his heraldic crest. Following the Battle of the Nile, when Nelson was raised to the peerage, his coat of arms was re-designed in voguish landscape style and augmented with an additional crest designed as the Sultan’s Chelengk. Recent research has identified about seventy volumes once belonging to Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805). The titles range from religion, including several bibles and prayer books, through professional texts such as signal books and atlases, to travel, politics and history.