London, South Kensington
16 May 2007
W.J. HUGGINS'S "TRAFALGAR" NOTEBOOK:
a fascinating and excessively rare notebook [or commonplace book] compiled by the marine artist W.J. Huggins to use as he executed his celebrated trio of 'Trafalgar' paintings commissioned by King William IV in the 1830s; the simple cloth-bound volume containing details of those officers (still alive) who had fought at Trafalgar and who were contacted (by Huggins) to describe their experiences, in addition to a detailed account of Victory's figurehead transcribed by Huggins himself from "an old manuscript" in the possession of the flagship's master, various descriptions of the positions of certain ships at given moments of the battle, details of which sails were set and what damage was sustained, the colours of the ships' boats and the manner in which they were stowed, and much other absorbing information on numerous diverse topics such as the colours of uniforms worn by sailors in all three of the navies engaged. Pasted into the front of this remarkable book is a printed invitation [incorporating an attractive vignette of Trafalgar with bust of Nelson above] for Mr. Huggins to join "your Brother Trafalgarians at the Champion Tavern, Goswell Street Road, on 21st April, 1834, at 8 o'clock in the evening"; the volume also contains various loosely inserted newspaper cuttings etc. as well as a receipt for the book's purchase in 1912, and is housed within a handsome full crimson leather book-type case decorated with gilt by the notable binders Rivière.
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