Vice-Admiral Viscount Nelson

Lloyd’s history is entwined with the rise of Britain’s Navy – and much of this maritime glory is due to Horatio, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758 – 1805), held by many to have established Britain as a trading nation and ruler of the seas.

Full length standing portrait of Nelson, painted by Lemuel Francis Abbot (1760 - 1803) and engraved by William Barnard. Painted in 1797/98 following Nelson's attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which can be seen burning in the background, and subsequently altered to show Nelson's Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand, the Turkish Order of the Crescent and the gold medal awarded by the King following the Nile victory.Known for his inspirational leadership and superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics, Nelson was also well aware that Britain’s prosperity depended on the protection of its seaborne trade. For its part, Lloyd’s was deeply conscious of the debt it owed to Nelson and to the Royal Navy.

Lloyd’s has an extensive collection of Nelson-related items, all on display in the Underwriting Room. This amazing collection includes letters, valuable silverware and other fascinating memorabilia.

Not only does it provide an insight into Nelson and his life at sea – it also serves as a reminder of a dramatic period in Lloyd’s own history. It celebrates the events of Britain’s long war with France, as well as a series of brilliant naval battles which culminated with Trafalgar. Lloyd’s played a leading part in underwriting the war effort.

It was after the dreadful losses of the Battle of the Glorious First of June, in 1794, that a committee of Lloyd’s merchants and underwriters set up the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund, initially to help the families of the dead and wounded. This charity is still in existence today.

Lloyd's Patriotic fund

Lloyd's Nelson collection

The Nelson Collection is a display of prized artefacts, letters and valuable silverware. It is displayed in the centre of the Lloyd’s underwriting room.

You can use this interactive tool to find out more about the famous naval battles, Nelson’s life and his links with Lloyd’s, and how each item in the exhibit fits into this exciting era.

Click on the images below to view the items in the collection.

Full length standing portrait of Nelson, painted by Lemuel Francis Abbot (1760 - 1803) and engraved by William Barnard. Painted in 1797/98 following Nelson's attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which can be seen burning in the background, and subsequently altered to show Nelson's Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand, the Turkish Order of the Crescent and the gold medal awarded by the King following the Nile victory.
A Nelson mourning ring: a plain gold band inscribed “Palmam Quimeruit Ferat”, with a black enamel plaque surrounded by a white enamel border containing a Viscount’s Coronet surmounting the initial N and a Ducal Coronet surmounting the initial B, underneath both of which is inscribed ”Trafalgar”, the interior rim engraved “Lost to his Country 21st October 1805 aged 47”.
Charles Henry Fehr (British, 1867 – 1940). Portrait bust of Lord Nelson in formal naval attire. Signed on the plinth. Dark brown patinated bronze sculpture.
A cheque signed by Nelson for £300, drawn on Page & Creed[Nelson’sBankers], in Vienna on 20th September 1800. From 21st March 1800 until the end of the year Nelson signed himself as here, Bronte Nelson of the Nile. This cheque was issued when Nelson was making his triumphant overland journey with the Hamilton’s back to England after the battle of the Nile.
A City of London presentation Trafalgar sword, the sword and scabbard cast and applied with silver gilt naval, neo-classical and mythological figures and motifs, inscribed ”T M Hardy Navis Britannice Victoriæ Prefecto Trafalgari XX1 Oct.r MDCCCV Insigniter Merito Civitas Londinensis Hoc Testimonium Summæ Existinationis DD MDCCCVI”, the sword with polished steel blade and ivory handle with silver gilt mounts, the scabbard of shagreen with silver gilt mounts, the silver hallmarked London 1806, mark of RT for Richard Teed, the scabbard engraved Prosser London, in a red morocco leather case, the interior fitted in blue velvet. Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769 – 1839) was Captain of HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and was at Nelson’s side when he died.
A document signed by Captain William Locker, certifying the good conduct of Lieutenant Horatio Nelson on board HMS Lowestoffe from 1777 to 1778, written on board HMS Lowestoffe and Port Royal Harbour, Jamaica on 1st July 1778. This was Nelson’s first period of service as a lieutenant. As the certificate states ”Collingwood succeeded him in this post. Captain Locker was Nelson’s maternal uncle”. This is among the earliest references to Nelson that is known.
A French late 18th century snuff box of rectangular form with canted corners, the lid inset with a later blue enamel plaque, attached to which is a slightly larger facing plaque inscribed in blue on a white ground: “To Lady Emma Hamilton In Memory of the Glorious first of June 1798, from Horatio Nelson, Love Conquers Might”, the box allover engraved with stylised flowerheads and foliage. Presented to Lloyd’s in 1944 by F W Clark.
A gold mounted oak toothpick box, possibly made shortly after Trafalgar, of rounded rectangular form, the 22 lugged hinged top carved in ivory against a blue / grey ground with ships of the line facing each other, presumably representing the Battle of Trafalgar, mounted with a glass top with gold shell corners, the reverse inscribed on a gold plaque: “This box is formed from a splinter of the Victory, commanded by Lord Viscount Nelson in the ever memorable engagement off Trafalgar, 21st October 1805, in which he fell! But not untill his superior skill and most intrepid courage had completely overcome the combined fleets of France and Spain”. Reputedly owned by Lady Hamilton. Presented by H E Fulford in 1939.
A Grant of Arms to Nelson, signed and sealed by Sir Isaac Heard, Garter King of Arms, creating him Baron Nelson of the Nile, issued on 20th December 1798, illuminated with his Arms with Chelengk, with duty stamp, pendant seal, in original moulded giltwood edge and later silk mounted and glazed frame. Nelson received the grant on 21st March 1800 and that day issued a memorandum to the fleet under his command stating that “By my Patent of Creation, I find that my Family name of Nelson has been lengthened by the words, ‘of the Nile’. Therefore, in future my signature will be, ‘Bronte Nelson of the Nile’.”
An autograph letter signed by Nelson to Captain Blackwood of HMS Euryalus, relying on his frigates to watch the enemy – “we cannot miss getting hold of them and I will give them such a Shaking as they never yet experienced, at least I will lay down my life in the attempt”, written from HMS Victory on 10th October 1805. This is one of the best-known and most dramatic of all Nelson’s letters.
An autograph letter signed by Nelson to John Julius Angerstein, sending a return of wounded, with separate address leaf, written from Merton on 15th January 1802.
An autograph letter signed by Nelson to John Julius Angerstein, about the subscription fund for those killed or wounded in defence of the country from invasion, written from Merton on 25th October 1801. Nelson arrived at his new home for the first time in the early hours of 23rd October 1801 – so this letter is one of the very first he wrote from his beloved Merton.
An autograph letter signed by Nelson to John Julius Angerstein, promising to call on him ”as I am sure to be in London before any person is out of bed”, written from Merton on 29th January 1802.
A letter from Lord Nelson to John Julius Angerstein, dated 4th July 1801, signed by Lord Nelson, thanking the Committee for the gift of £500 to be laid out in plate.
The logbook of HMS Euryalus: Kept by Frederick Ruckert, Master of HMS Euryalus, with entries initialled by the ship’s Officers, at one point signed by the Captain, Henry Blackwood. The logbook covers the period 23rd May 1805 to ”11th March 1806, the cover made of sailcloth inscribed Log Book. / H.M.S. Euryalus / 1805”.
An English high carat gold combined knife and fork of fiddle and thread pattern, with a steel knife edge set into the fourth tine of the fork, the back engraved with the initial N surmounted by a Baron’s coronet, bearing a maker’s mark only, possibly GA, used by Lord Nelson after the loss of his right arm at Santa Cruz on 24th July 1797. Given to Lord Nelson by Countess Spencer, wife of Earl Spencer, First Lord of the Admiralty. Purchased from a bequest by G J Egerton.
A gold, pearl and amethyst brooch of oval form, comprising an outer band of pearls enclosing an urn shape in amethyst and pearl, inscribed on the back “Presented by Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton”, containing a lock of hair behind glass on the reverse. Presented to Lloyd’s by G D Drayson in 1953.
A gold, diamond and enamel oval memorial brooch in the form of a garland, with two bands of diamonds flanking a black enamel band with gold lettering “Nelson.Oct.21.1805.Trafalgar”. The centre of the brooch contains a lock of hair under an oval glass dome, and on the back is engraved “Helen Gorman, from Post Captain Jonas Rose, given him by Admiral Lord Nelson at the moment he received his fatal wound in the Battle of Trafalgar 21st October 1805”.
A pair of George III silver gilt wine coolers, based on the Flaxman Patriotic Fund vase design, but with handles formed as intertwining serpents around a warrior maskhead, possibly Achilles, the vase covers replaced by collars cast and bolted on with vine leaves and grapes, complete with detachable liners, inscribed “From the Patriotic Fund at Lloyd’s to Sir Samuel Hood KB, commanding a squadron of his Majesty’s Ships at War in the attack of a fleet of the enemy off Rochfort on the 25th of September 1806 when four large Frigates were captured, and Sir Samuel Hood lost his right arm. As recorded in the London Gazette of 4th October 1806”, London 1806, mark of DS BS for
A pair of George II silver candlesticks in the Rococo style, with detachable shaped square drip pans and knopped stems, on shaped stepped square bases, engraved on the drip pans and bases with a script N beneath an Earl’s coronet, London 1743, mark of JC for John Café.
A pair of George III silver oblong tea caddies with slightly domed half reeded flat hinged lids, both with detachable cast flowerhead and berry finials, engraved on the lid with the initial N surmounted by a Viscount’s Coronet and the initial B surmounted by a Ducal Coronet, the bodies engraved on one side with Nelson’s Coat of Arms and on the other with his Crests separated by his Viscount and Ducal Coronets, London 1801, mark of DP for Daniel Pontifex. Presented to Lloyd's by SJ Aubrey 1938.
A Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund presentation Trafalgar £100 sword and scabbard inscribed “from the Patriotic Fund at Lloyd’s to Rich.d Grindall Esq.r Cap.tn of HMS Prince, for his meritorious services in contributing to the signal victory obtained over the combined fleets of France and Spain off Cape Trafalgar on 21st October 1805”, the blade in gilt and blued steel, the scabbard in gilt metal with applied neo-classical decoration, the hilt of gilt metal and ivory with a gold thread tassel, made by Richard Teed of Lancaster Court, the Strand, London, together with a Patriotic Fund sword belt with gilt metal buckle and fittings, the belt made of blue morocco with gold braid embroidered with laurel garlands on a blue velvet ground, the fittings formed as lion masks, in a fitted mahogany case. Presented to Lloyd’s in 1931 by E S Lamplough.
A silver Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund £100 vase, inscribed “In Memory of George Duff Esq., Captain of HMS Mars, who Nobly Fell in the Glorious Victory obtained over the Combined Fleets of France and Spain off Cape Trafalgar, on 21st October 1805. This vase is presented to Mrs Sophia Duff, his widow. From the Patriotic Fund at Lloyds”, London 1808, mark of BS for Benjamin Smith for Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. This vase was awarded on 7th January 1806.
A Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund £100 vase, 39 cm high, inscribed “From the Patriotic Fund at Lloyd’s to Major General Sir John Stuart Commanding in Chief His Majesty’s Troops at the Battle of Maida in Calabria on the 4th of July 1806 in which the Pride of the Presumptuous Enemy was severely humbled and the superiority of the British Troops most gloriously proved, as recorded in the
Part of the Horatia Breakfast Service: An early 19th century Chamberlain’s Worcester porcelain ‘Old Japan’ pattern hot water plate and cover, of circular form with a gilt loop handle and branch side handles, painted with flowers and foliage, both dish and cover with three oval escutcheons painted with a Viscount’s coronet, a Ducal coronet and Nelson’s crest with the San Josef, the base with partially erased printed mark for Chamberlain’s Worcester, including handles. Presented to Lloyd’s by David Green in 1981.
A George III silver circular breakfast dish, the domed cover with a stained ivory finial, the dish with reeded rim and handles, engraved twice on the cover with Nelson’s coat of arms under a Viscount’s coronet, engraved twice on the dish with Nelson’s two crests surmounted by Viscounts’ coronets, including handles, London 1794, mark of HC for Henry Chawner. Henry Chawner was a good, but not top flight, manufacturing silversmith of his day, and was the sort of silversmith who one would expect a naval officer to patronise. This dish is reputed to have been Nelson’s favourite breakfast dish and to have been with him aboard HMS Victory at Trafalgar. Assuming it was made for Nelson in 1794 it would have most likely seen service through the most important of Nelson’s campaigns. This has a distinct bearing on its value.
A George III silver covered soup tureen on stand, of oval form, the cover palm frond leaves emanating from a pineapple finial, with two loop handles cast with a man with fish tail blowing a nautilus shell, the body with cast and applied acanthus leaf handle mounts and laurel rim, applied with two oval escutcheons engraved with a Coat of Arms on one side and on the other inscribed “Lloyd’s Coffee House, A Tribute of Gratitude and respect from his Country to the Memory of Captain John Harvey of his Majesty’s Ship, The Brunswick, who gloriously fell in the Important Action of the 1st of June 1794 when the French fleet was defeated by the British fleet under of Command of Admiral Earl Howe, John Julius Angerstein Chairman”, both escutcheons enclosed by naval flags, sword and symbols, with chased acanthus leaf basal band, on four intertwined dolphin supports, on a conforming elliptical stand, London 1795, mark of IS for John Schofield. Purchased by Lloyd's in 1982.
A George III silver gilt covered soup tureen on stand, of oval form, the cover palm frond leaves emanating from a pineapple finial, with two loop handles cast with a man with fish tail blowing a nautilus shell, the body with a tin liner, with cast and applied acanthus leaf handle mounts and laurel rim, applied with two oval escutcheons engraved with a Coat of Arms on one side and on the other inscribed “Lloyd’s Coffee House, A Tribute of Gratitude and respect from his Country to the Memory of Captain John Hutt of his Majesty’s Ship, The Queen, who gloriously fell in the Important Action of the 1st of June 1794 when the French fleet was defeated by the British fleet under of Command of Admiral Earl Howe, John Julius Angerstein Chairman”, both escutcheons enclosed by naval flags, sword and symbols, with chased acanthus leaf basal band, on four intertwined dolphin supports; on a elliptical stand made to match in 1986 by William Comyns, London 1795, mark of IS for John Schofield. Purchased by Lloyd's in 1986.
From the Nile Service: A set of three George III silver oblong entrée dishes and covers, with rounded corners and gadrooned rims, the detachable finials formed as a Chelengk issuing from a naval coronet, the covers engraved with the Nile inscription, the reverse engraved with Nelson’s coat of arms, London 1800, mark of PS for Paul Storr. The Chelengk was a diamond encrusted order presented to Nelson by the Sultan of Turkey in gratitude for his services at the Battle of the Nile. It was stolen and a copy is now in the National Maritime Museum. Presented to Lloyd's by Peter and John Green 1965. Purchased by Lloyd's 1910.
Silver oval tray: A George III silver oval tray with a gadrooned rim, gadrooned handles with acanthus mounts, on four gadrooned and scroll feet, centrally engraved with an Earl’s Coronet flanked by Nelson’s two crests, all above Nelson’s coat of arms including the ‘Trafalgar’ shield, London 1805, mark of TH IC for Thomas Hannam and John Crouch II.
Silver oval vegetable dishes:George III silver oval vegetable dishes, covers and liners, the domed covers with finials formed as a Chelengk issuing from a Naval Coronet, the dishes of plain oval form with cast acanthus scroll mounts with loop handles, the liners with gadrooned rims and slots for dividers, the covers engraved with the Copenhagen inscription, engraved twice with Nelson’s Coat of Arms on the cover and twice with Nelson’s Crest below a Viscount’s Coronet on both the liners and the dishes, London 1801, mark of TR for Timothy Renou. Presented to Lloyd's by CE Heath 1910.
The Printed Resolutions of the Special General Meeting of the Patriotic Fund, held at Lloyd’s on 3rd December 1805, following the battle of Trafalgar and Strachan’s action after the battle, with a contemporary docket [by Captain Edward Codrington]. The twelve resolutions set out here were the basis for the following documents in the Patriotic Fund archive. Presented by General Sir Alfred Codrington on 5th December 1931.
Three badges for Nelson’s Orders: The Order of the Crescent, on a blue ground. The Order of the Crescent, on a gold ground, instituted by the Sultan Selim III of Turkey. Order of St Ferdinand and Merit. Nelson was a Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand. The Order of the Crescent was created by Sultan Selim III in August 1799 specifically to honour Nelson on the first anniversary of the Battle of Nile. It was the first Turkish order to be instituted and the handful that were given out appear to have been awarded to British officers only. It was discontinued in 1807. Badges for this order are of extraordinary rarity. The Neapolitan Order of St Ferdinand and Merit was instituted by Ferdinand IV on 1st April 1800 to mark the restoration of his kingdom. The first recipients of the Grand Cross were the Tsar of Russia, General Suvorov and Nelson. Presented to Lloyd’s by Percy Hargreaves in 1931.
A wax portrait bust of Lord Nelson, c. 1810, of buff uncoloured form, in Rear Admiral’s full dress uniform with the ribbon of the Bath and three stars (Bath, Crescent and St Ferdinand), the reverse inscribed ”Nelson and Pool fecit”, on a turned wooden plinth.

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Lloyd's history

Lloyd's has a unique past, from its early days as a coffee house to historical events that changed the face of Lloyd's forever.