This earthenware mug is transfer-printed with a scene of warships in action inscribed ‘Lord Nelson engaging the Toulon Fleet of the mouth of the Nile’ and a verse. Inside is a pottery frog, a ceramic joke of the period, intended to surprise the unwary by coming into view and gurgling as the ale is drunk. Many cheap pottery items like this were sold to commemorate Nelson’s popular victory at the Battle of the Nile.

This same engraved naval action was used as decoration on earthenware mugs produced to commemorate both the Battle of the Nile and the Battle of Trafalgar, the caption being adjusted to suit the event. In fact the scene is neither of these, but is taken from an engraving dating from forty years earlier. The design actually depicts the Buckingham, 66 guns, Captain Tyrrell RN, defeating Florissant, Aigrette and Atalante on 3 November 1758, as engraved by Robert Sayer after Swaine.

Object Details

ID: AAA4751
Collection: Decorative art
Type: Mug
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of the Nile, 1798
Date made: circa 1798
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 125 x 120 x 90 mm

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