Relic Lord Nelson Flagships Gavel

Relic Lord Nelson Flagships Gavel
Relic Lord Nelson Flagships Gavel British c. 1905 Oak, teak and copper 6 x 2 x 1.75 inches, overall Souvenir relic wood gavel, made of wood and copper from two battle ships of Horatio Lord Nelson (1758-1805). The copper nameplate attached to the mallet head is inscribed "Oak, teak and copper from Lord Nelson's flagships, 'Victory' and 'Foudroyant' 1765 1798." Nelson is one of Britain's greatest naval heroes, admired for his strategic ingenuity, tactical boldness, and ability to inspire those under his command. The HMS Foudroyant and the HMS Victory were two of Nelson's flagships during the Napoleonic Wars. The Foudroyant, which was launched in 1798, was Nelson’s flagship from 1799 to 1801. The Victory, launched in 1765, served as his flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during which he lost his life. About a 100 years later, The Foudroyant was wrecked in a storm in June 1897, and pronounced unsalvageable. It was purchased by a syndicate in Blackpool, England, which removed some of the timber and copper to be made into souvenirs including medallions, coins, furniture and walking sticks. In November 1897, another storm sank the ship to the bottom of the Irish Sea. Meanwhile, other souvenirs were also made of wood and copper from the Victory, or by combining materials from both ships, such as the badge described below by Sir Percy Watts in 1905 for the Naval, Shipping and Fisheries Exhibition, a celebration of the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar "At the present moment, however, the Victory is the Flagship of the Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth, and is in good repair. A large quantity of the timber damaged in action and decayed has been removed from time to time but much of the old vessel yet remains. One occasionally meets with souvenirs of the old ship, as, for instance, easy chairs, constructed of her old timber, and I have in my possession a badge which is a pass to the Welcome Club of the Naval Shipping and Fisheries Exhibition, at present at Earl's Court which consists of a portion of Victory's old timbers held by a rim of copper made from the sheathing of the Foudroyant, also one of Nelson's old flagships. I believe that all members of the club are in possession of this souvenir." It is quite possible this gavel was similarly made in connection with the Trafalgar centennial celebration in 1905, also with wood and copper from Nelson’s flagships. Another gavel made from materials salvaged from the Foudroyant is in the collection of the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia and was presented to the society in 1906, just one year later.

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