This 19th Century Ship's figurehead depicts the most famous British naval officer ever to sail the oceans, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson. Looking back upon his military career, Nelson's tactical brilliance and ingenuity were matched by a high level of personal bravery and commitment, all of which endeared him to both king and common man. Even today Nelson is revered- in a recent poll he was voted one of the top ten greatest Britons in all of history.
Nelson was best loved by the men who served under his command at sea, and most were fiercely loyal to the charismatic commander. While he set high standards, he set an example with his own courage and dedication to country and was known as a compassionate leader with genuine regard for his men. Every succeeding generation of British sailors has held up his memory as example and inspiration. It's no wonder that even within Nelson's lifetime ships were being named in his honor, and that certainly continued after his death at Trafalgar in 1805.
There are about ten known known figureheads of Lord Nelson, four of which are in museums. This figurehead is far superior to all of them, both in likeness and quality of carving. We have not seen an authentic period figurehead of Nelson come on the market in our 46 years in business. Given the size and quality of the figure this was likely from a merchant Brig, Cutter or Barque of substantial size, 400-600 tons.
Overall the figure is well balanced, with expressive facial features and good proportions in the body. Fine details are present throughout and the carving is deep and well executed. The figure is in excellent condition. There were several wood shrinkage splits from age which have been conserved, and the figure retains some of its original paint. From his dark curling hair, to the pleated folds of his neckcloth, to his fine Naval uniform covered in rank and honors and the flourished base, this is a fine tribute to the Naval hero and an outstanding example of the figurehead maker's art.
Brief Biography of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson
Born in 1758, he joined the British navy as a twelve year old. By the time he was 21, he was a Captain. He lost an eye at the Siege of Calvi in 1794, and his right arm from a severe wound received in the 1797 battle of Cape St. Vincent. For his dauntless, decisive action to attack a flanking Spanish squadron in this affair, he was made a rear-admiral of the blue squadron.
Nelson's three most celebrated victories ensured French Emperor Napoleon's planned invasion of England, and subsequent domination of continental Europe and world colonial trade would fail. First devastating the French ships at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, he continued on to shatter the possible intervention of the Dutch fleet in the Battle of Copenhagen, 1801. His immortality was sealed with his fate on the receiving end of a sharp-shooters aim during his greatest victory, the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. All England mourned his loss- King George III, on receiving the news of both the victory and Nelson's death, is alleged to have wept saying, "We have lost more than we have gained."
first name :