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The Hero of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Prints, drawings and watercolours
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Nelson, Horatio
EventsNapoleonic Wars: Battle of Trafalgar, 1805

Object details:

Object ID PAI6141
Description A print after the painting titled ‘Trafalgar’ by William Overend (1851-98), who died just before it was exhibited (as by 'the late' artist) at the Royal Academy in 1898. The print was published in the ‘Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News’, 1905, with the title ‘ “The Hero of Trafalgar" Nelson on Board the Victory, October 21st 1805’. In common with other images of Nelson during the same period, the quotation is taken from Robert Southey’s , ‘Life of Nelson’ (1814), which was reprinted throughout the 19th century. The painting also had the inscription: ‘He wore that day as usual, his Admiral’s frock-coat bearing on the left breast 4 stars of the different orders with which he was invested. Ornaments which rendered him so conspicuous a mark for the enemy were beheld with ominous apprehension by his officers; it could not be doubted but that his life would be particularly aimed at. They entreated him to change his dress, or cover his stars, but Nelson replied : ‘In honour I gained them, and in honour I will die with them’….About a quarter after one a ball struck the epaulette on his left shoulder. – Southey.’ As the quotation indicates, Nelson is shown standing on the right on the deck of the ‘Victory’, looking fixedly and determinedly ahead while the activity of battle rages around him. Overend is was an American-born marine and military painter, who latterly worked in England as an illustrator for the ‘Illustrated London News’ and exhibited at the Academy on several occasions from 1872. He also illustrated a number of adventure books for boys particularly focusing on the Empire, including those by G. A. Henty. His unusual second name is sometimes found as Heysham or Huysman, apparently in error.
Date made 1898/ 1905

Artist/Maker Overend, William Heysham
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials chromolithograph
Measurements Sheet: 529 x 795 mm
  • The Hero of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805 (PAI6141)
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