Masterpiece Fair 2020 – Virtual Fair

N/A / 11:00 am / July 22, 2020

Regrettably, but in our view sensibly, Masterpiece 2020 has been cancelled.  However, as our preparations were well underway and we had already amassed, researched and photographed 98% of the pieces for our second book in the series ‘Britain on the High Seas’ we are forging ahead with that. At the very least we can send it out as a pdf to interested parties.   

This year we are once again featuring Trafalgar, with personal items belonging to Emma, Lady Hamilton and Admiral Lord Nelson, including her posy box for her wedding flowers and an armorial door panel from his carriage.  H.M.S. Victory and her crew are represented by Naval Surgeon William Beatty’s medicine chest and souvenirs made from Victory oak.  The most exciting collection, however, shines the spotlight on arguably the second most famous battleship of that period, H.M.S. Bellerophon (known as Billy Ruffian by her crew because they could not pronounce her name.)  Having fired the first shots against the French Revolutionary navy, Bellerophon also played her part in the final moments of Napoleon’s bid to rule the world as the ship to which he surrendered in 1815.  His armies had finally been routed at the Battle of Waterloo, some months before, and we are offering two cannon from that battle. These have a nautical connection as they became ship’s cannon on board the private yacht of the Marquess of Conyngham, Minerva.

The Minerva leads us neatly to the middle section of the collection, Trophies, which focuses on yachting for cruising and competing with the flag of royal racing yacht Britannia, King William IV’s ‘gold’ cup for the Royal Yacht Squadron made by William Bateman of Rundell, Bridge and Co and other trophies.  The final section is devoted to Trade.  The defeat of Napoleon ensured a century of peace in which Britain could use her maritime supremacy to create unrivalled trading opportunities.  Exotic imports included silks, porcelain, colonial furniture and large supplies of raw materials. For our purposes the greatest of these was timber.  British craftsmen transformed mahogany, amboyna, ebony and rosewood into luxury furniture of which we are offering a dozen or more fine examples. Our second book is now available to view as a PDF here  ‘Britain on the High Seas: Trafalgar, Trophies and Trade’

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