Although originally considered to be a stern carving, it is now thought much more likely that this rare surviving carving was made for the funeral of Admiral Lord Nelson. It is clearly the work of a dockyard carpenter of around 1800 whose regular work was carving the decorative joinery both within and without a ship. However, is it really likely that the ever superstitious tar would go to sea in a ship emblazoned with a funeral tribute, even one to their illustrious hero, Nelson? It is much more likely to be a funeral tribute to Admiral Lord Nelson, hastily commissioned to hang on a building, perhaps a naval dockyard or a public house, or any of the works buildings along the route of one of the country's largest funerals ever. It was on the 9th January in 1806 that the funeral procession, consisting of 32 admirals, over a hundred captains, and an escort of 10,000 soldiers took the coffin from the Admiralty to St. Paul's Cathedral. Vast numbers of people lined the streets to view the procession with stands being built and tickets sold for some of the best seats along the route. The procession was so long that by the time the head of the column arrived at St Paul's Cathedral the funeral car had still not left Whitehall. After a four-hour service he was interred within a sarcophagus originally carved for Cardinal Wolsey. The sailors charged with folding the flag draping Nelson's coffin and placing it in the grave instead tore it into fragments, with each taking a piece as a memento. This carving English and dating from 1806.
h.64 inches x w.37 inches