Horatio Nelson

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Replicas of embroidered insignia of chivalric orders, made by Hand & Lock.

Replicas of embroidered insignia of chivalric orders, made by Hand & Lock.

On Tuesday, 6th August 2019, Gillian Vogelsang wrote:

Yesterday the TRC received a parcel from the embroidery firm of Hand & Lock. They have been based in London since the late 18th century and are a major force in the world of elite hand and machine embroidery.

For the last few years the TRC and Hand & Lock have been working together to support research into the history of embroidery and as part of this co-operation they donated various embroidered British insignia, to be used in Volume 3 of the Encyclopedia of Embroidery, which is being published by Bloomsbury, London.

Four of the insignia are replicas of the insignia worn by the British admiral, Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The Orders are:

The Order of St. Joachim (top left) was instituted in 1755 by a group of German nobles, in order to promote religious tolerance in Europe. Horatio Nelson accepted the Grand Cross of the Order in 1802. The insignia of the Order is made of gold and silver metal thread with a silk embroidered centre on white raycott. It is surrounded by a raised green velvet garter with gold smooth purl lettering edged with gold pearl purl. The four points of the cross are worked with silver spangles caught down with silver rough purl.

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (top centre) was instituted in 1725 by King George I of the United Kingdom. The insignia of this Order has a central crest that depicts three crowns in gold and silver wire embroidery, which is surrounded by a raised red velvet garter with gold wire lettering.

Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), by Lemuel Francis Abbott (1799). He is wearing, among others, the insignia of the Order of the Crescent; the Order of Saint Ferdinand and Merit; and the Order of the Bath (National Maritime Museum Greenwich).

Rear-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), by Lemuel Francis Abbott (1799). He is wearing, among others, the insignia of the Order of the Crescent; the Order of Saint Ferdinand and Merit; and the Order of the Bath (National Maritime Museum Greenwich).

The Order of the Crescent (middle left) was instituted by the Ottoman sultan, Selim III, to honour Horatio Nelson for his defeat of the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile (1798). The insignia was worn by high ranking officers and others involved in the Napoleonic Wars. It has a raised midnight blue velvet centre depicting a silver plaited embroidered star and crescent moon. The surround is edged with gold wire. In the most recent issue of the Hand & Lock journal (summer 2019), Alice Murrell has writtten a short paper on the Order of the Crescent.

The Order of St. Ferdinand and of Merit (middle centre) was instituted in 1800 by the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The insignia of the Order is made with gold and silver metal thread with a silk embroidered centre depicting St. Ferdinand in a blue and white silk cloak and clutching a silver wire sword. The surrounding points of the crest features silver spangles.

In addition, Hand & Lock kindly donated a badge for a Royal Postillion (middle right), the man who rides or walks with one or more horses pulling royal carriages or the hearse during state funerals. The badge is normally worn on the left sleeve. Also included in the parcel from Hand & Lock was a military cap badge (bottom).

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TRC Gallery tentoonstelling, 12 - 15 augustus 2019: Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles

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