Royal Naval uniform: pattern 1795-1812 (Nelson's Trafalgar coat)

Vice-admiral's undress coat worn by Nelson (1758-1805) at the Battle of Trafalgar. There is a bullet hole on the left shoulder, close to the epaulette. The damage to the epaulette itself is also apparent. There are blood stains on tails and left sleeve, which is probably that of Nelson's secretary, John Scott, killed earlier in the action. The coat is of blue wool cloth with a stand-up collar and button-back lapels. On the left side, Nelson's four orders of chilvary - Knight of the Bath, Order of the Crescent, Order of Ferdinand & Merit and Order of St Joachim - are sewn to the front of the coat and over the edge of the lapel so that it could not be unbuttoned.

The sleeves terminate in an extremely narrow round cuff with two rows of gold distinction lace and three flag officers buttons. The left sleeve is line with black silk twill, but the right is lined with the same fabric only as far as the elbow. At the end of the right sleeve is a small black silk loop which would have secured the sleeve to a lapel button. The tails and breast are lined with white silk twill and the shoulders are quilted with running stitch.

Object Details

ID: UNI0024
Collection: Uniforms; Textiles
Type: Undress coat
Display location: Display - Nelson, Navy, Nation Gallery
Creator: Unknown
Places: Cape Trafalgar
Events: Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
Date made: before 1805
Exhibition: Seduction and Celebrity: The Spectacular Life of Emma Hamilton
People: Nelson, Horatio; Prince Albert, Consort of Queen Victoria Greenwich Hospital Collection
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Overall: 1160 mm x 560 mm x 530 mm

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