HISTORIC TREADPLATE DISCOVERED IN FLOWERBED TO BE OFFERED IN MARITIME SALE

. October 3, 2010 . 0 Comments

Auction will also include several pieces relating to Nelson’s State Funeral

A TREADPLATE from H.M.S Kelvin, the Scottish destroyer used by Winston Churchill to view the D-Day Landings at Juno Beach in June 1944, will be offered by Charles Miller Ltd on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 in his sale of Maritime & Scientific Models, Instruments & Art in London (25, Blythe Road, W14).

Discovered recently in a flowerbed being used as a stepping stone in a garden near Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, the historically-important brass plaque is cast with the name ‘Kelvin’ on one side and on the other side, it is stamped in ships stamps: THE?RT. HON. WINSTON CHURCHILL, MP, PRIME MINISTER, STEPPED ON THIS TREADPLATE AS?HE BOARDED H.M.S. KELVIN TO VIEW THE D-DAY ASSAULT AREA, JUNO, ON 12TH JUNE?1944. The plaque measures 30.5 x 71cm. and is estimated at £1,200-1,800.

Kelvin, named after the famous compass and instrument maker William Thompson, who later became Lord Kelvin?(1824-1907), was one of five K-class Destroyers laid down in 1937-38. Built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd, at Govan in Scotland, it was launched on January 19, 1939 and commissioned on November 27, 1939. ? Like her more famous sister Kelly, she had a very active wartime career and gained battle honours for Atlantic (1940); Spartivento (1940); Crete?(1941); Mediterranean (1941-43); Sirte (1942); Malta Convoys (1942); Normandy?(1944) and the Aegean (1944). It was while serving in Normandy that she took Churchill and other VIP’s to witness Operation Overlord first hand. Churchill had been keen to witness the First Wave of the D-Day assault, but had been persuaded that it was too dangerous. Having viewed the action ?from the bridge of Kelvin, he then went and inspected German defences destroyed ?by the Royal Navy. Kelvin was broken up at Troon in 1949.

Charles Miller Ltd’s sale will comprise over 300 lots ranging from artifacts relating to the Georgian Navy to Fine Ship Models as well as Scientific and Navigational Instruments and Marine Works of Art.

Held just six days after Trafalgar Day, the sale will include several pieces relating to Lord Nelson, with the most important piece being a rare painted silk armorial hatchment from his state funeral car. Formerly the property of his Chaplain, the Rev. Dr Alexander Scott, the hatchment is painted with the arms of Lord and Lady Nelson, surmounted by a Viscount’s coronet and framed within a gilt border. Measuring 44.5 x 59.5cm, it is expected to fetch £30,000-35,000.

In the 19th century, like today, State Funerals were a rare occurrence. Nelson lay in state in the Painted Hall at Greenwich for three days; he was then taken up river aboard a barge, accompanied by Lord Hood, Sir Peter Parker, and the Prince of Wales. The coffin was taken into the Admiralty for the night and attended by the Rev. Alexander Scott. At 11 o’clock the next day, 9 January, 1806, a funeral procession consisting of seven Royal Dukes, 32 Admirals, over 100 captains, and an escort of 10,000 troops accompanied the coffin, now in the famous “Grand Funeral Car”, on a black silk cloth decorated with six hatchments (of which this lot forms one) from the Admiralty to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Vast crowds thronged the entire route which were lined by a further 30,000 troops. After a four-hour service he was laid to rest within a sarcophagus originally carved for Cardinal Wolsey, being lowered through the floor directly under the great dome of St. Pauls.

The Rev. Alexander John Scott (1768-1840), known as Dr. Scott to differentiate him from John Scott (Nelson’s personal secretary), was Chaplain to H.M.S. Victory (1803-05), and acted as the admiral’s interpreter, Nelson being – by his own admission – “a poor linguist”. He was also the individual who held and supported Nelson as he lay dying in “Victory’s” cockpit and who afterwards wrote to Emma Hamilton “…what an affectionate, fascinating little fellow he was…I become stupid with grief for what I have lost..”. It seems therefore entirely appropriate that Dr. Scott should have obtained one of the six armorial panels off Nelson’s funereal pall as a poignant memento of the man he had served so faithfully and to whom he was so obviously devoted.

Also relating to Lord Nelson’s funeral is a painted silk banner, which was processed by the Hastings Company of Volunteers. Comprising a black silk panel painted in gold with a trophy-of-arms including cannon, swords, cross staff, sails and sprig of oak, it is contained within oak frame with inscription on reverse reading “This Banner was carried at The Funeral of Admiral Lord Nelson in St. Paul’s Cathedral 1806 January 9 by Mr. Robert Thatcher, An Officer of The Hastings Company of Volunteers”. It is being offered for sale by a descendant of Robert Thatcher and is estimated at £1,000-1,500.

Among the instruments is a rare telescope – only one of four known to exist – by Thomas Jones. The telescope belonged to Captain Frederick Marryat (1792-1848), who joined the navy in 1806 and found fame initially for his signal code, first published in 1817. The Code of Signals for the Merchant Service became an international success going through no less than 19 editions (not including foreign ones) through to 1879 and which was still used by some merchants until the 1890s. When he retired from the Navy in 1830 he became a highly popular author, writing books drawn from his own experiences: Newton Forster, Peter Simple, Jacob Faithful, Midshipman Easy and Japhet. The instrument offered is a very rare form and the huge objective lens gives a bright and wide field of vision suited more to celestial navigation than signals. It is thought that only four others by Jones exist, one of which is in the national collection at Greenwich (estimate: £3,000-5,000)

Among many models is a builder’s presentation model of The S.S. Bernicia and Ivernia, built by Rederiaktiebolaget Svenska Lloyd Göteborg for the London Line 1920-21 by Bassett-Lowke Ltd of Northampton which measures 162.5 x 202 x 54cm. Both these passenger/cargo ships were built for Svenska Lloyd by Oskarshamns Varv of Sweden in 1920. Bernicia was renamed twice – Hunnenberg (1955) and Master Fouad K (1958) and was broken up at La Spezia in November 1966; the Ivernia was also renamed twice – Charlotte (1954) and Tigrito (1958) and was broken up in 1969 at La Spezia like her sister. The model carries an estimate of £10,000-15,000.

For further details of the sale please visit www.charlesmillerltd.com or call 0207 806 5530

For Press Information or images only, Please contact Rachel Aked Email: Rachel@rachelaked.co.uk Tel: 07790 732448

Category: Auction News

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