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Lord Nelson commemorative snuff box

20 x 70 mm (2.75 in)
Medium: Brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Snuff box
Object No: 00040468

User Terms

    The lid of this cast brass circular container with machined base features a stamped portrait of Admiral Lord Nelson in left profile with the inscription 'ADMIRAL NELSON'. Around the top rim of the lid is the inscription 'ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN TO DO HIS DUTY' and 'TRAFALGAR OCT. XXI MDCCCV'. It may have been used as a snuff box or perhaps a bill or wax seal container. Sniffing snuff was the original method of taking tobacco (brought back from the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1496).

    The date of manufacture is unknown but it may have been produced either for the 50th anniversary in 1855 or for the 1905 centenary commemoration.

    SignificanceNelson's standards of discipline, fearlessness and battle tactics were embodied in the Royal Navy and the Commonwealth navies, like Australia's, that followed. He is considered one of the greatest of naval heroes the world has seen.
    HistoryOn 21 October 1805, the Battle of Trafalgar was fought off the south-west coast of Spain. It turned the tide against the French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte's threatened invasion of England. Under the command of Nelson, the British Fleet defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets - but it came at a high price when Nelson was mortally wounded.

    Nelson's death stunned the nation. It also created a huge industry in commemorative ware which continues to this day. Nelson is the most commemorated figure in British history; the first major commemoration was held in 1855 followed by landmark celebrations marking the centenary (1905) and bicentenary (2005) of his death.

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