- A snuff box belonging to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson
Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was a British naval officer famous for his victories against the French during the Napoleonic Wars.
Nelson was known for his superb leadership skills and somewhat unconventional strategies.
Nelson was involved in battle almost constantly between 1793 until his death in 1805. During this time he lost the sight in his right eye at the Battle of Calvi in Corsica and lost his right arm at Santa Cruz in Tenerife.
Admiral Lord Nelson is remembered as one of the greatest British war heroes in history. He died during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
This is a snuff box Lord Nelson gave to secretary George Unwin at a dinner party hosted by Nelson mistress, Lady Emma Hamilton, in Italy.
The snuff box, which has a watercolour miniature of the Amalfi coast fitted into the lid, is accompanied by a note from Unwin’s son that reads as follows:
"My Father had either lost his own snuff box on going ashore or in some shop in Palermo and upon mentioning the circumstances at Lady Hamilton’s table where Lord Nelson was one of the party his Lordship handed over to him this identical box and desired him to keep it until he could get a better one.”
The box has been in the possession of Unwin’s family ever since.
It is most likely that this incident occurred in late 1798 or early 1799 when Lord Nelson was in Sicily with Sir William and Lady Hamilton and the King of Naples. It was in Sicily that Nelson and Lady Hamilton first began their affair. It seems very likely that Nelson generously gave this gift to Unwin in an attempt to impress his future mistress.
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