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On the morning of January 8, 1806, after three days lying in state in the Painted Hall of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, where some 100,000 people came to pay their respects, Nelson’s coffin was placed in a specially prepared funeral barge which then made its way up the Thames at the head of an impressive flotilla – rather grander than the long voyage home from the scene of the battle in the Mediterranean, for which Nelson’s body was famously pickled in a brandy barrel!

When it reached the Whitehall Steps the coffin was taken ashore to the Admiralty where it spent the night before the funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral the following day.

Upon Nelson’s coffin as it made its way up the Thames and as it travelled through the streets of London to St Paul’s onboard the ‘Grand Funeral Car’, the design of which was inspired by the Victory, were six hand-painted heraldic silk panels, one of which is to be offered at Dreweatt Neate of Donnington Priory, Berkshire on October 23.

The panel has been consigned to sale by the great-great-granddaughter of Nelson’s personal secretary and dear friend the Reverend Dr John Scott. Scott was Chaplain to HMS Victory between 1803-05 and it was he who held and supported Nelson as he lay dying. The 171/4 by 231/2in (44 x 60cm) panel portrays two escutcheons displayed accolleé and bearing the impaled arms of Lord and Lady Nelson, Nelson’s on black to signify his death and his wife’s on white to signify her survival, surmounted by a coronet and framed within a gilt border.

Only one other panel is known to be in existence and it was sold at Spink in March 1997 for £46,000. Dreweatt Neate have estimated their panel at £30,000-35,000 and it may be viewed in London between October 14-18 at the offices of Morton & Eden Ltd., 45 Maddox Street, W1S 2PE, Tel: 020 7493 5344.