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The Trafalgar Polka

Date: 1852-1861
Overall: 337 x 246 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00028682
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This music was composed to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, the momentous victory against the French by Admiral Lord Nelson for Britain in 1805. Polka was a popular dance during the 19th century, often played at balls and concerts. This music sheet was dedicated to Miss Perry and printed in London, England.
    Significance'The Trafalgar Polka' signifies how sheet music was used to commemorate major events during the 19th century.
    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 Britain. Under the command of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, the Royal Navy defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets - but it came at a high price when Nelson was mortally wounded.

    The death of Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 was a great blow to the British people. It also created a huge industry in commemorative wares which continues to this day. Horatio Nelson is one of the most commemorated figures in British history and any place even remotely connected with him produces souvenirs ranging from postcards and bookmarks to glassware and ceramics. Landmark celebrations were held in 1855 and 1905, the most lavish in 2005.

    Sheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were sold fairly cheaply, making them popular purchases with the general public. Music was an integral part of people's social life in the home and at public events such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatre shows.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The Trafalgar Polka

    Web title: The Trafalgar Polka

    Related People
    Publisher: George Warne

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