Nelson's gift to Maddalina Church.
Lithograph with very large margins, rare, watermarked paper; printed area 185 x 125mm (7¼ x 5).
Three major pieces of altar plate made of solid silver- a large crucifix approximiately four and a half feet in height, and two accompanying candlestick holders. These were donated in 1804 by Admiral Nelson to the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, one of a cluster of isles off the north-eastern tip of Sardinia. Nelson both admired Sardinia and found it to be of strategic use thanks to its proximity to Italy, France and Spain. He anchored his fleet of La Maddalena on eight occasions between 1803 and 1805, and he and his officers established warm relations with the local Sards during their frequent visits. The Reverend Alexander Scott, Nelson's Secretary, was probably responsible for choosing this specific gift, which he acquired in Barcelona (where the items had been made in the 17th century). Before presenting the pieces, he had each of them engraved on board the Victory to identify him as the donor, and the three engravings inside ovals near the bases can be seen in this print. The gifts were gratefully received and an accompanying letter by Nelson is still owned by the church. The church was probably visited while travelling in Italy by the printmarker, Mary Anne Theresa Whitby (1784-1850). Whitby was the widow of Cornwallis' flag captain, John Whitby, who died in 1806. Following her husband's death, Whitby spent much of her time with Cornwallis, who left his estate to her on his death in 1819. Whitby was an amateur lithographer who established a private press at Newlands.
Ex: Collection of the late Hon. C. Lennox-Boyd; see Denis V. Reidy, 'Lord Nelson, HMS Victory and Sardinia- a Forgotten Episode?'
[Ref: 35683] £120.00