Admiral of the Fleet's baton

Admiral of the Fleet's baton presented to John Jervis, Earl St Vincent (1735-1823).

18 carat gold baton, the top terminal surmounted by a figure of St George and the dragon. St George's spear is now missing. A band of decoration round the centre of each terminal depicts roses, thistles, and shamrock, and round the base of the terminals there is a band of laurel leaves.

It is inscribed on the flat base: ‘From his Majesty GEORGE IV King of the United Kingdom OF GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND TO ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET JOHN Earl of St Vincent G.C.B. 1821’. The body of the baton is covered with blue velvet, of which only the black backing has survived. Small gold lions are mounted on the velvet in four straight lines of four and five lions alternately.

Earl St Vincent was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on the coronation of George IV, and on 19 July 1821 the King personally sent him the gold-mounted baton which symbolised the office. Admiral of the Fleet batons were the same in appearance as the red velvet-covered Field Marshal batons, in all but the colour. However, only four Admiral of the Fleet batons were ever made, and these were presented by the Sovereign on five special occasions as a personal honour, one being reissued. The first two were presented in 1821, this Earl St Vincent one and another presented to the Duke of Clarence, which is also in the collection of the NMM (PLT0025). Another went to James, Lord Gambier, in 1832, and in 1897 Queen Victoria presented a baton to her son Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

For the original leather case see PLT174.1.

Object Details

ID: PLT0174
Collection: Decorative art
Type: Admiral of the Fleet's baton
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Northam, John
Date made: 1821-1822; 1821-22
People: King George IV; Jervis, John
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 525 mm x 45 mm
Parts: Admiral of the Fleet's baton

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