Nelson died at Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. This is essentially the official biography of his great life. A monumental work of scale and content.
Published by T. Cadell and W. Davis in the Strand, and W. Miller Albermarle Street in 1809.
Two large folio volumes, 375 pages, 511 pages after preliminaries etc. Complete with 21 full page plates including 4 by Westall depicting notable events in Nelson’s naval career, each accompanied by a battle-plan by Nicholas Pocock; also a architectural plan of Mertello Tower and its gun. A two page fold-out of Nelson’s family tree etc.
Bound in sumptuous contemporary style by Roger Perry. Full polish calf with double gilt lines to boards. Five raised bands to spines with separate gilt on black leather title and author/volume labels. Lavish gilt decoration to remaining compartments with alternating Anchor and Square Rigger devices in gilt with ornate gilt boarders; new headbands and endpapers. Best we have seen. Thick wove paper, generally clean in the text although quite some foxing around the borders of plates as usual and the first few pages.
Complied by The Rev James Stainer Clarke FRS who was then Librarian to the Prince and Chaplain of His Royal Highness’s Household and John McArthur LLD late Secretary to Admiral Lord Viscount Hood.
McArthur was a former naval purser who has served with Nelson. After Nelson’s death, he had already begun collecting material for a biography when he saw an advertisement announcing that Nelson’s family has already selected a gentleman of appropriate rank to carry out the task. McArthur claimed Nelson has asked him to carry out that task and that he had already spent huge amounts of money including commissioning a set of paintings from which engravings were to be made for illustrative purposes. A right squabble ensued and the Prince Regent got involved promoting his Librarian and Chaplain James Clarke to the job. To pacify the Prince it was agreed that Clarke and McArthur would work jointly on the project.
The subscribers list a remarkable testimony to Nelson, a “who is who” of the era. William Beckford had a copy “on vellum”, Rear Admiral Hunter late Governor of New South Wales, Sir Home Popham, Admiral Keats, Admiral Cornwallis, Admiral Anson (a later one), Earl St Vincent and of course Lady Hamilton and all the best booksellers od the day
One of the finest biographies of one the greatest of men – in a superb full leather binding