RARE TRAFALGAR FLAG TO BE SOLD EXACTLY 204 YEARS AFTER THE FAMOUS BATTLE

A VERY RARE and finely preserved Union Flag from the most famous naval battle of all time, the Battle of Trafalgar, will be offered by Charles Miller Ltd on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 in his annual Trafalgar Day Sale in London (25, Blythe Road, W14). The sale will comprise almost 300 lots of Maritime Models, Instruments and Art.

TRAFALGAR FLAGThe magnificent flag, which measures 224 x 356cm, was flown from the jack staff of H.M.S. Spartiate during the Battle of Trafalgar. Spartiate was the eleventh and last in Nelson’s weather column, following the Minotaur into action and it is believed that the flag was sewn on board the ship and then given by the crew of 540 men to the highly admired Lieutenant, James Clephan. It is now being sold by one of his descendants, who lives in Australia and is expected to fetch £10,000-15,000.

Capt. James Clephan R.N. (1768-1851) was born in Fife, Scotland and spent his early years as an apprentice weaver. When the Industrial Revolution began, he joined the Merchant Navy. He was impressed into the Royal Navy in July 1794 at the age of 26 and over the next four years he rose to Midshipman. Following the successful cutting out of the Chevrette at Brest, where he was wounded and knocked overboard but was still the first man to reach the enemy’s deck, Clephan was promoted to Lieutenant. In March 1803 he joined the Spartiate under Captain Francis Laforey, where he remained until December 1809. The Spartiate was actually a French-made ship, which had been captured by Nelson in 1803 at the Battle of the Nile.

At the Battle of Trafalgar, Clephan’s courage was recognised once again and he was promoted to First Lieutenant immediately after the battle. During the twenty-two years the Napoleonic Wars lasted, it is estimated that around 600,000 seaman served the Royal Navy, of which considerable numbers were impressed. The chances of a member of the lower decks making Officer were remote, however around 200 did so, and of those, about sixteen became captains of their own ship.

In 1811, Clephan followed Laforey, who seems to have been his sponsor and perhaps mentor, to the Dragon and in April was promoted to Commander to the sloop Charybdis in which he captured two American vessels. Retiring in 1840 with the rank of Captain, he lived in Edinburgh for 11 years, until his death.

Other Nelson-related items will also be offered in the sale including a first edition of ‘The Life Of Admiral Lord Nelson, K.B. From His Lordship’s Manuscripts’ from the library of celebrated playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan is expected to fetch £800-1,200.

The history of the 19th and 20th Centuries and the wonderful stories associated play a key part in the auction. An ‘Electrolier’ chandelier from R.M.S Olympic, the sister ship of the Titanic is estimated at £1,500-2,000. The chandelier, which was positioned on the First Class Grand Staircase, is identical to those that can be seen in the famous deep-sea footage of the Titanic.

From the 1902/3 British Antarctic Expedition, the Ship’s Bell from the Royal Geographic Society Sponsored Steam Yacht Morning, which was the Relief Ship To Captain Scott’s Discovery, is estimated at £3,000-5,000. Although her name is not so instantly recognisable as those other Antarctic stalwarts Discovery, Endurance and Terra Nova, the little steam auxiliary Morning has nevertheless earned her place in the modern history of polar exploration.

A Sea Service Chest from H.M.S. Shannon belonging to Lt. James Johns, Royal Marines who served in the action with U.S.S. Chesapeake on June 1, 1813 is among the American-related items in the sale and carries an estimate of £1,000-1,500. During the Anglo-American War of 1812-14, the event that captured the public’s imagination more than any other was the celebrated duel between the Royal Navy’s frigate H.M.S. Shannon and the new republic’s frigate Chesapeake. Cruising off the eastern seaboard, Captain Philip Broke of the Shannon spotted the American frigates Chesapeake and Constitution refitting in Boston. Broke immediately challenged Captain Lawrence of the Chesapeake to come out and fight and, at about noon on June 1, 1813. Furious action lasted a mere fifteen minutes and Captain Broke was badly wounded. Soon overwhelmed, Chesapeake surrendered and Shannon took her as a prize into Halifax, Nova Scotia, where, on June 6 the captors were given a heroes welcome. An Interesting Cane made from oak recovered from the celebrated U.S. Brig Lawrence, Flagship At The Battle Of Lake Erie, 1813 is estimated at £2,500-3,500.

In 1892, the Royal Yacht Hohenzollern II was built for Kaiser Wilhelm II (nephew of King Edward VII). The steam yacht, served a dual purpose – both a recreational and a naval command vessel – combining lavish interiors with special cannons which had been a gift from the renowned industrialist Alfred Krupp. Over the years, the Kaiser and his uncle in his yacht Britannia frequently raced against each other. A Rare china teapot from The German Imperial Service Of S.M. Yacht Hohenzollern II is estimated at £400-600, while two pairs of silver salts from the same service are estimated at £700-900.

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: [email protected]
Tel: 07790 732448

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