When the sale closed on February 6, bidding had reached £3200 (estimate £500-800) from a collector in the south of England.
Painted on Paris porcelain, it is decorated with an oak leaf border and a fouled anchor with the word Nelson above and 2nd April, Baltic beneath. The sides read 14th February and The Glorious 1st August. It was part of a small clearance of a house in Arnside.
The precise origin of the Baltic Service is uncertain but it is generally believed to have belonged to Nelson himself. It is thought that the set – embellished in a London decorating workshop – was part of a presentation of chinaware given to him in 1802 by the Ladies of the City of London.
Nelson’s niece, Charlotte Nelson, Duchess of Bronte, accompanied him in the Lord Mayor’s Coach and described the excitement of the event: “…I wish you could have seen all the people jumping up to the carriage to see my uncle and thousands of people round him looking up at him… All the ladies had their handkerchiefs out of the windows when my uncle passed, they and the people calling out ‘Nelson for Ever’.”
A teaset was delivered to Merton, the house Nelson shared with Emma Hamilton, and is listed there in an 1805 inventory, but other family members are known to have owned elements of the service. By descent from Charlotte, Lord Bridport’s auction at Christie’s in July 1895 featured many pieces.
Only occasionally do elements turn up for sale today. A teapot from the service sold for £28,000 at a Waterloo theme sale held by Bonhams in 2015 while a coffee cup took £2000 at Hansons last year.