Nelson

In the 1800’s the two leading families of ship’s carvers employed by the navy were;

 The Hellyer’s of Portsmouth and the Dickerson’s of Plymouth. The two firms often competed for the same commissions. Four designs were accepted for ships where a depiction of Nelson was required;

H.M.S. Nile of 1839 by Dickerson

H.M.S. Trafalgar of 1841 by Hellyer

H.M.S. Nelson of 1859 by Hellyer

There was also a design by Dickerson titled Horatio Nelson c1806 but seemingly unused.

Having restored figureheads from both families, I have become familiar with the carving style of both, and decided to base my figure very loosely on the unused Dickerson design, where the scrolls adorned with foliage and drapery lead the base of the figure into the stem of the ship. I chose to depict him as he appeared at Trafalgar. dressed in the standard Royal Naval uniform, for which he had copies of his famous medals embroidered, and sown on. Being slightly smaller than the originals, this allowed each to be seen in their entirety. (the original jacket is held in the collection at Greenwich, and thus a useful source of reference). Detailing to the medals has been picked out in silver leaf, with brass leaf for the buttons. Consideration was given to painting the rest of the figure in colours, but upon reflection this would have detracted considerably from the grain of the wood, which is after all an appealing feature of the material from which the figure has been created.


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