A Regency Nelson Allegorical Tray, 1805-10
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Measurements: Width: 76cm (30in)
A large early 19th century tole tray commemorating Admiral Lord Nelson; the bust of the naval hero sited upon a classical sarcophogus inscribed: ‘TO EXPRESS THE DEEP REGRET OF AN ADMIRING NATION AND TO IMPLANT IN THE MINDS OF RISING GENERATIONS AN ARDENT DESIRE TO EMULATE THE BRIGHT EXAMPLE DISPLAYED IN THE SKILFUL CONDUCT AND GLORIOUS DEATH OF THE BRAVE LORD NELSON’ .
To the distant left British warships break the enemy line, while in the foreground lie the French Tricoleur and Spanish ‘la Rojigualda’. To the right a forest of English oak looms over Nelson’s tomb on which the figure of Britannia mourns with a lion couchant at her feet referencing British valour. Britannia further rests on a spear as she is yet to be equipped with the Union Jack shield and trident long afterwards synonymous with British naval supremacy. To the left of the tomb the female figure of Victory, fashionably clad in classically inspired dress, pens an epitaph in a book - ‘His Dauntless Bosom met the fatal Ball and Victory Mournd [sic] her Hero 21 October 1805’. A second memorial tome at Victory’s feet, held open by a fanfare trumpet and wreath of victor’s laurels, reads ‘After a series of Transendent [sic] and Heroic Servises [sic] this Gallant ADMIRAL FELL Gloriously in the moment of Brilliant and Desisive [sic] VICTORY / over the Combined Fleets of France and SPAIN off Cape Trafalgar in the 47 [th] year of HIS AGE’.