Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), 1st Viscount Nelson

Head-and-shoulders plaster bust of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson on a round socle. The bust is one of a set of four (see also SCU0031, SCU0032, and SCU0085) made in 1809 for the architect Daniel Asher Alexander for the Royal Naval Asylum at Greenwich, which Alexander was then constructing (1807-10) around the Queen's House. The Asylum combined with the Greenwich (later Royal) Hospital School in the 1820s and, after this moved to Suffolk in 1933, the buildings became those of the National Maritime Museum (est. 1934).


Alexander was encouraged to employ Chantrey by James Montgomery, whose portrait Chantrey had just painted. All four busts have usually been presumed to be copies from works by others. This one is apparently after a bust by John Flaxman and shows Nelson with his hair in queue, in uniform, wearing ribands of the Bath and St Ferdinand, the orders of the Bath, St Ferdinand and the Crescent, with two Naval gold medals on ribbons round his neck. A third medal is fastened with a bow of ribbon (Davison's Nile medal, as shown on the Thaller and Ranson bust).

As indicated above, Chantrey was a painter before he became a sculptor and this set of plaster busts for the Royal Naval Asylum is one of his earliest sculptural commissions.

This is a monochrome studio photograph, from an existing Museum negative showing the bust before conservation undertaken in 2001-02: it will in due course be replaced by a directly taken digital one. To discuss ordering a high-quality image please contact the Picture Library.

Object Details

ID: SCU0085
Collection: Sculpture
Type: Bust
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Chantrey, Francis Legatt
Date made: 1807; 1807-09 1809
People: Nelson, Horatio
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: 940 mm x 635 mm;Weight: 60 kg
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