NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805) and Emma, Lady HAMILTON (1761?-1815). 'Mementos of Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton', a collection of 3 autograph letters signed, including one to Emma Hamilton, and a document signed by Nelson, an autograph letter signed by Lady Hamilton, sheet music, medals, miniatures, and intaglios, a manuscript facsimile and a fragment of the Victory's foretopsail, mounted on boards together with a calligraphic and decorated text giving biographical notes and transcriptions, 25 boards in total, 387 x 328mm. Blue morocco gilt by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, covers with elaborate border of intersecting strapwork, gilt fillets with small onlays of red morocco circled in gilt, the cornerpieces with large palmette motifs, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second, the others with a repeat design of fillets and laurel wreaths, but alternating the dates and arms of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, gilt turn-ins, brown morocco doublures, in the upper cover with three glass-covered inset panels containing commemorative medals, in the lower cover with two glass-covered inset panels containing intaglio portrait seals, blue silk liners, gilt edges (some surface damage to liners caused by the covers of the facing inset panels, the catches to two of the glass covers faulty and repaired with tape, extremities lightly rubbed).
A LUXURIOUS COMMEMORATIVE COLLECTION ON NELSON AND EMMA HAMILTON
The contents include:
Horatio, Viscount NELSON. Autograph letter signed to Revd Henry Crowe, Medusa at sea, 8 August 1801, a reply to a request for patronage 'I felt such pleasure at being remembered by an Old Burnham friend', promising to help a relative of Crowe's, giving news of other Burnham friends who are in the service, 'Raven and Howard both behave exceedingly well', and sending greetings, two pages, 4to, on a bifolium (mounted on tape, tears of 78mm and 5mm to centrefolds, touching two words).
The Crowes were the Nelsons' distant cousins, but immediate neighbours during Horatio's childhood in Burnham Thorpe. The announcement of Nelson's appointment to the command of the defence flotilla on the south-east coast to guard against Napoleon's planned invasion led to a large number of requests for patronage. He began his command in the Medusa, and used the frigate to 'take a peep at them on the coast of France', a reconnaisance which established that rumour had greatly exaggerated the threat of invasion.
[And:] Autograph letter signed ('Nelson & Bronte') TO EMMA, LADY HAMILTON, Amazon off Folkestone, 25 September 1801, a despondent letter: the deteriorating condition of Edward Parker, and a calm, have kept him from sailing for either the French coast or Dungeness, and his depression is exacerbated by separation from Emma: 'My heart I assure you is very low last night I had flattered myself, I now have no hopes...we must bear up against these misfortunes. I have not had your letters today they are my only comfort', reporting on a sortie of 'flat boats &c' from Calais which has been repelled, and concluding 'You must my Dear friend forgive me for I cannot write any thing worth your reading except that I am at all times situations & places your for ever affectionate Nelson & Bronte', 1½ pages, 4to, on a bifolium (mounted on thread, light soiling, seal tears), (fragments of seal).
Captain Edward Parker, known as 'Little Parker' and a much-loved protégé of Nelson's, had suffered a shattered thigh during the disastrous attack on the flat boats at Boulogne on the night of 15-16 August; he died after an amputation four days after the present letter. By late autumn, with the season limiting his opportunities for action against an in any case illusory threat, and peace imminent, Nelson's duties in his south-eastern coastal command were becoming increasingly irksome.
[And:] Autograph letter signed ('Nelson & Bronte') to Samuel Briggs, Pro-Consul, Victory, 4 February 1805, an urgent letter written after the French break-out from Toulon, speculating on their movements and making provision for their arrival in Egypt, 'I have wrote to the Governor of Alexandria to be upon his Guard agt a visit from those Gentry...I hope he will take every means in his power...in particular to have vessels ready to sink to prevent the entrance of the french fleet into the old Port', and communicating the intelligence he has at his disposal, 4 pages, 4to, on a bifolium (mounted with tape, tear to centre-fold of bifolium, touching two words).
It was not until 18 February, after a phantom pursuit the length of the Mediterranean, that Nelson discovered that the French had been discouraged by the bad weather they had encountered on setting out from Toulon, had returned to port shortly afterwards.
[And:] Document signed ('Nelson & Bronte'), St George, 26 March 1801, three memoranda ordering preparations for the passing of the Cronenburg fort in the approach to the Battle of Copenhagen, directing in particular that anchors should be kept at the ready 'as great precision is necessary in placing the ships', that the ships should tow armed launches, and that as a particular measure for passing the Cronenburg seven ships should tow bomb vessels, 3 pages, folio, on a bifolium (mounted with tape, tear of 112mm to centrefold of bifolium, and of 30mm to upper margin of second leaf, some creasing); [together with:] Manuscript directions for the conduct of the Battle of Copenhagen, n.p. [H.M.S. Elephant], n.d. [March/April 1801], 3 pages, folio, on a bifolium (mounted with tape, light soiling).
Adverse winds meant that the passage of the Cronenburg was not made until 30 March, with the Battle of Copenhagen following on 2 April. For the battle itself Nelson transferred his flag from the St George to the lighter Elephant.
[And:] Emma, Lady HAMILTON. Autograph letter signed ('Emma Hamilton') to Midshipman William Fady, n.p. [Naples], n.d. , 'I send you some cakes port &c...be good & attentive to your studies & the Admiral will love you', one page, 4to, on a bifolium (some soiling); and autograph ownership inscription ('Lady Hamilton Merton Surry') on printed sheet music for Cynthia, a song, together with The Battle of the Nile...The Words by Mrs Knight, The Music Composed & Dedicated to Lady Hamilton By Dr Haydn, supposed to be Lady Hamilton's copy.
William Fady was the fourteen year-old son of a marine killed at the Battle of the Nile, and served as midshipman on Nelson's Vanguard. The words to the cantata Battle of the Nile were by Ellis Cornelia Knight, daughter of Rear-Admiral Sir Joseph Knight and a friend and percipient observer of Nelson and the Hamiltons in Naples and on their journey back to England. The music was composed by Josef Haydn (Hoboken XVIb:4) for Emma Hamilton; he accompanied her in performance of the piece in the course of Nelson's rapturous reception in Vienna in September 1800.
[And:] 'A Piece of the Victory's Fore Topsail', backed on paper with an inscription apparently in the autograph of William John Huggins (1781-1845, marine artist, painter of three large depictions of the Battle of Trafalgar for William IV);
[And:] A bronze medal depicting Peace on the obverse and the Battle of the Nile on the reverse, by Matthew Boulton of the Soho Mint for Alexander Davison, struck to celebrate the Battle of the Nile, 1798, privately inscribed 'Jas. Bews', together with a commemorative medal by Peter Kirke to celebrate Nelson's return to England, 1800, and a medal in white metal, by Matthew Boulton, for the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805 (old adhesive to verso of Kirke medal); [with:] coloured glass portrait seals of Nelson and Lady Hamilton, attributed to James Tassie (1735-1799) or his nephew William (1777-1860); [and:] a miniature of Nelson after Abbott, and two of Lady Hamilton after Romney.
[Together with]: Hilda GAMLIN. Emma Lady Hamilton, an old story re-told. Liverpool: Edward Howell, 1891. One volume bound in 2 4° (). 45 portraits, views and facsimiles, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with the addition of 84 portraits, views, prints and printed ephemera. Contemporary blue crushed morocco gilt by Zaehnsdorf, the spines gilt in compartments, titled in two and dated at the foot, the others decorated with heart and fouled anchor tools, top edges gilt, gilt turn-ins, verso upper cover inset with a strip of wood stated to be from the Victory (spines darkened, extremities lightly rubbed). Provenance: Theodore Seligman (signed with initials on armorial bookplate). [And:] T.O. CHURCHILL. The Life of Lord Viscount Nelson...Illustrated by engravings of its most striking and memorable incidents. London: T. Bensley for J. and W. Macgavin, 1808. 4° (310 x 250mm). 13 etched plates by W.H. Worthington after W. Bromley, 12 hand-coloured, the 13th folding, and one manuscript facsimile. Contemporary straight-grained blue morocco gilt, the covers elaborately gilt with fillets and floral and foliate tools, the spine gilt in compartments, titled in two and dated at the foot, gilt turn ins, gilt edges (extremities lightly rubbed, rebacked).