Admiral Lord Nelson Victories - A Creamware Baltic Plate, 1802
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Diameter: 24.7cm (9.75in)
Creamware. Dinner plate decorated to the same design as the famous porcelain Baltic service presented by the Ladies of the City of London on the occasion of the inaugural Lord Mayor’s banquet in 1802, featuring a central fouled anchor inscribed 'Nelson 2nd April Baltic' within a border of oak leaves and acorns, inscribed 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, ‘Nelson / the Glorious 1st August / Aboukir’ and ‘Nelson / the San Josef / 14 Feby’ respectively. Labels affixed verso and inscribed by the 19th century collector Charles Wentworth Wass.
The creamware versions of the Baltic service made to commemorate Nelson’s victory at Copenhagen are very rare. Closely related to the Paris and Coalport porcelain Baltic Service, it is likely that the service was ordered by an admirer of Nelson, possibly by one of his captains. The firm of David Wilson & Sons produced the Baltic creamware in Hanley, Staffordshire. The firm operated between 1801 and 1817. Plates from the creamware Baltic service are illustrated by Rina Prentice in The Authentic Nelson (2005); and by L. Lambert McCarthy and J.Lea, Remembering Nelson (1995). A collection of Baltic creamware was acquired by Prime Minister, 5th Earl of Rosebery and Midlothian (1847-1929) for his Scottish seat Dalmeny House on the Firth of Forth.
The victories named on the present plate begin with Nelson’s gallantry and leadership on 14 February 1797 at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent where he decided to dramatically wear his 74-gun ship H.M.S. Captain, out of the British line and followed by H.M.S. Excellent (74-guns), steered across the van of the Spanish line and headed directly for the fleet flagship the 136-gun Santissma Trinidad. Excellent raked the 84-gun San Nicolas at a range of ten feet and passed on, leaving Captain, whose steering had been shot way, to put her helm a-starboard and deliberately crash into the San Nicolas which in turn collided the 112-gun San Josef. Supported by soldiers of the 69th Regiment, Nelson led the boarding party on to the San Nicolas, and using it as his ‘patent boarding bridge’ stormed in turn the San Josef which was duly surrendered. Nelson’s fame was confirmed by the destruction of the French fleet in Aboukir Bay at the Battle of the Nile on 1 August 1798 which effectively destroyed all hopes of French success in Egypt. The Baltic victory refers to Nelson’s decisive victory over the Danish fleet a the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801.
Charles Wentworth Wass (c.1819-c.1906), former owner of the present plate, was born at St Martin’s-in-The-Fields, London, and was a partner in an engraving business and art dealership in New Burlington Street. His firm produced the stipple engraving of John Keats that was published in poet’s collected works in 1840; a stipple engraving of Princess Augusta Caroline; and engravings of Joseph Turner and Samuel Pepys. The business failed in 1858 and Wass became superintendent of the Crystal Palace Picture Gallery for over twenty years. The Wass collection of royal, historical armorial china and coronation glass was exhibited by Thomas Goode & Co. of Mayfair in 1898.