Lord Nelson

Lord Nelson,Andy Peters,Maritima Wood Carving,Frederick Dickerson,Hellyer and son portsmouth,HMS Nile,HMS Trafalgar,HMS Nelson

Carving the bust of Lord Nelson for a private collector

On a recent visit to the Maritima workshop I found Andy busy working on a bust of Lord Nelson that had recently been commissioned for a private collector.

He was carving it in the traditional manner as if it were to go on a ship, with perhaps a nod to the unused Dickerson design of 1859.

 

 

Back in the 1800’s two leading families of ship’s carvers were also tasked with a similar brief, employed by the navy, they were the Hellyer’s of Portsmouth and the Dickerson’s in Plymouth.
The two firms often competed for the same commissions and four designs were accepted for ships where a depiction of Nelson was required.

These were….

Lord Nelson,Andy Peters,Maritima Wood Carving,Frederick Dickerson,Hellyer and son portsmouth,HMS Nile,HMS Trafalgar,HMS Nelson

Lord Nelson as he appeared at Trafalgar

H.M.S. Nile, launched 1839, carved by Dickerson
“In 1851 during the ship’s conversion to steam her figurehead was found to be rotten and Frederick Dickerson carved a replacement for the sum of £35. The ship was renamed Training Ship Conway in 1876 but the figurehead was carried away when the SS Bhamo collided with her in June 1918”
National Maritime Museum, London

H.M.S. Trafalgar, launched 1841, carved by Hellyer
“There were several proposed sketches for this figurehead during the vessels long period of construction, roughly 11 years. The chosen design was that of Hellyer & Son of the Portsmouth Yard for £45. This was based on a bust the Surveyor of the Navy had purchased in London.”
National Maritime Museum, London

H.M.S. Nelson of 1859 carved by Hellyer
There was also a design by Dickerson titled Horatio Nelson c1806 but seemingly unused.
HMS Nelson” was launched on the 4th July 1814 the first three-deck, three masted naval ship to be built after the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. In 1854 she was chosen for conversion to an auxiliary steam vessel and cut down to a two decker, the work completed in 1859

Having restored figureheads from both families, Andy is familiar with their carving style and decided to base his figure very loosely on the unused Dickerson design, where the scrolls adorned with foliage and drapery lead the base of the figure into the stem of the ship. Depicting him as he appeared at Trafalgar. Dressed in the standard Royal Naval uniform, for which he had copies of his famous medals embroidered and sewn on.

Lord Nelson,Andy Peters,Maritima Wood Carving,Frederick Dickerson,Hellyer and son portsmouth,HMS Nile,HMS Trafalgar,HMS Nelson

Dressed in the standard Royal Naval uniform, for which he had copies of his famous medals embroidered and sewn on

Being slightly smaller than the originals, this allowed each to be seen in their entirety. The original jacket is held in the collection at Greenwich, and thus a useful source of reference. Although not shown here, the detailing to the medals has been finished in silver leaf, with brass leaf for the buttons. Consideration was given to painting the rest of the figure in colours, but upon reflection this would have detracted considerably from the grain of the wood, which is after all an appealing feature of the material from which the figure has been created.

Visit the website of Andy Peters, Maritima Wood Carving

 


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