Nelson & His World

Discussion on the life and times of Admiral Lord Nelson
It is currently Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:25 am

All times are UTC [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:24 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:59 pm
Posts: 1
:?: I am speaking to you from Blackpool where you know the Foudroyant was beached. At the turn of the last century the Clifton masonic lodge reported in their minutes that two Chairs that had been recovered from the Foudroyant were to be donated to the Masonic Hall in Blackpool. The photos attached picture these chairs with a closeup of one that shows a date of 1661. There has been some restoration and some is still required to one of the legs.
The Blackpool Masonic Hall has never had the chairs valued or authenticated, yet they have always been known as Nelson's Chairs.
Is this of any interest to you? and how do you think we can have them authenticated?

We would appreciate any assistance you can give
I have a couple of photos - not sure how to send them on this site.

George Holden
Blackpool


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:42 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:06 am
Posts: 2803
Location: mid-Wales
Many thanks for your post, George, and welcome to the forum.

The provenance of the chairs as far as the connection with the Foudroyant seems to be excellent: you have the contemporary record in the minutes that the chairs were recovered from the Foudroyant and that they have been in the possession of the recipients ever since. So there is not much doubt that the chairs came from the Foudroyant.

The authenticity of the chairs - whether they are genuine 17th century chairs - should be quite easy to establish. One way would be to approach the Victoria and Albert Museum. I know in the past that they were willing to give an opinion on the authenticity of antique items but they would not provide a valuation. If they still provide this service, good pictures should allow them to make an assessment. Once you have an opinion, you can then approach a local auctioneer and valuer (check his credentials - there is a professional body - so make sure he is a member of the National Association of Auctioneers and Valuers http://www.nava.org.uk/) and ask them for a valuation. They will probably charge a fee if it is for insurance purposes but won't if you are planning to put them in their auction. You could, of course, bypass the V&A and ask a reputable valuer to do the whole job for you, but they will charge. (The V&A service used to be free, but maybe that has changed.) Also, some auction houses give free valuations, but you will need to get the chairs to them. Also, I don't think these valuations are written, so you couldn't quote them for insurance purposes.

If they are genuine 17th century chairs they will have an intrinsic value; there is less and less 17th century stuff around - though oak (and they probably are oak if they are English 17th century) is not fetching the high prices at auction it did some years ago. Just fashion - tastes may change and oak prices may shoot up again. The association with the Foudroyant will give them an added attraction to collectors of Nelsonian memorablia. Many Victorian copies of Caroline furniture were made in the Victorian era so there is a more than even chance that these are 19th century. Nevertheless, even if they are not authentic 17th century, they will probably be of excellent crafstmanship and the Nelson/Foudroyant connection will still be there, and add to their desirability.

This link will show you how to post an image on the website.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=685

Do let us know how you get on.

_________________
Anna


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:40 pm
Posts: 1088
Please can I add a note of caution.

When Foudroyant was beached off Blackpool it was nigh on 100 years since Nelson had served on her. I feel that it would be highly unlikely that any portable furniture from the Nelson era would have survived on her all that time.

Additionally Foudroyant had actually reached the breaker's yard in Germany when Wheatley Cobb rescued her. Surely by that point she would have been stripped of any portable items.

The chairs could easily be of great antiquity - but might have been placed on board by Wheatley Cobb during the restoration/refurbishment process.

He was after all a very wealthy individual.

Nothing at all to support my logic - but just the way my mind works at times like this! Just ignore if you prefer.

MB


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:11 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:40 pm
Posts: 1088
I might be completely off tack here - and I do appreciate that the minute book says that the chairs were recovered from the ship.

But I would want to be certain that the chairs had not been made from timber recovered from Foudroyant.

The reason I say it is that many, many items of furniture were made from Foudroyant timber - including chairs - mainly by the company Goodall, Lamb & Highway.

A whole catalogue of available designs was produced.

I have a description here of a chair that was sold at auction in 2000.

"An interesting bit of Nelsononiana in the form of a chair made from timber from his favourite flagship HMS Foudroyant commissioned in 1789 and scrapped in 1897 made up by a Manchester firm circa 1899 into a Cromwellian style chair with brass nailed leather upholstery."

Obviously the first line of enquiry is to get a museum/auctioneer/valuer to give an opinion on the date of manufacture.

If there is any doubt on the 1661 date then it could be that they were made later by Goodall, Lamb & Highway.

As ever hope I have not gone off on a wrong tangent.

Would especially like to see the photographs of the chairs if George can manage to upload them.

MB


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:40 pm
Posts: 1088
Folks

Here are the chairs referred to by George.

Image

I cannot think of any way (records etc.) that they could be specifically linked to the Foudroyant - either in the Nelson era or at any other time.

Anyone else?

MB


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:40 pm
Posts: 1088
This is a newspaper report from the time of the wreck.

Image

I am not suggesting in any way that the chairs were stolen - but the last sentence does indicate that there were items of value/antiquity on board.

MB


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:11 am
Posts: 1376
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Mark,

Not exactly something that would go in our flat!

They certainly look 'Cromwellian', not to mention 'Boardroom', in style and as you say, bar them having an inscription such as 'Nelson sat here', there would seem nothing to link them to the Foudroyant apart from the material they are made from. I wonder what happened to the 'brass nailed leather upholstery'? Long since disappeared I imagine.

_________________
Kester.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:11 pm
Posts: 1258
Location: England
Why so suspicious? These chairs look like fine 17th century Wainscot chairs, with solid seats which would never have been upholstered. Both chairs appear to have had feet added. I know nothing about antiques and have no idea whether they might be reproduction pieces, but furniture made from Foudroyant timber by Goodall, Lamb & Heighway would seem normally to carry an inscription to that effect, sometimes on a plaque made from Foudroyant copper - it wouldn't make sense not to advertise the fact.

George said that contemporary minutes of the Clifton Masonic lodge recorded that two Chairs that had been recovered from the Foudroyant were to be donated to the Masonic Hall in Blackpool, so I don’t see any reason to doubt their connection with the Foudroyant.

But I do agree with Mark that it is unlikely that furniture from Nelson’s time in the Foudroyant was still on board when she was wrecked.

The carving on the right hand chair is very unusual, and I would guess perhaps rare? I wonder what scene it depicts? One flight of fancy is that 1661 was the date of Cromwell’s posthumous execution, so could it depict that? And of course Nelson celebrated the Restoration! But the palm trees don’t really fit with that, so is it one of those violent biblical scenes? And what is the tower or stone plinth at the bottom right?

_________________
Tony


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:11 am
Posts: 1376
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Tony wrote:
Why so suspicious?


It's the way my mind works! :?

My guess is that it's some biblical scene as you suggest, Tony. It would perhaps be helpful to see a larger picture – as there also appears to be some sort of small plaque on both chairs, just above the seat.

_________________
Kester.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:40 pm
Posts: 1088
Kester

I have larger images of the chairs that George sent me.

The 2 "plaques" you refer to:

- on the one chair it appears to be just a raised piece of wood with nothing on it.

- on the other it has the date of 1666. Would that be normal - i.e. that if you made a chair in 1666 you would put that year's date on it!!?? I guess would need a furniture historian to clarify that.

Another issue that has got me wondering.

i.e. If you had chairs like this in a ship's cabin surely they would have to be fixed in some way to stop them sliding all over the place.

The same applies to the chairs from Nelson's cabin on the Victory (see below).

Seems a really naive question - but how did that work!!

Image

MB


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:42 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:06 am
Posts: 2803
Location: mid-Wales
Mark:

it was not usual for makers to carve the date on furniture, but not unknown either - in the link below you'll see bible boxes and a chest which have the date incised, though I've never seen a date on anything later than the 17th century. Maybe dates appeared on bible boxes and chests in particular as they were often given as wedding gifts.

http://www.periodoakantiques.co.uk/category.php?catid=8

As for stopping furniture from sliding about on board ship - well, that's a puzzle. Nelson's cabin was furnished with the sort of pieces - bureau, sofa, dining chairs etc that you would see in a house ashore at that period.

The military had 'campaign furniture' that could be dismantled and transported on horseback but I've never seen any made specifically for ships.

http://www.campaignfurniture.com/info.asp

_________________
Anna


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:11 pm
Posts: 1258
Location: England
I don't know if this answers the question, as it's nothing to do with the Royal Navy, but it is describing a voyage to the West Indies in 1796:
Quote:
Our steward is a very old sailor, tough as the ropes of the ship, and callous to every alarm; being the person more immediately about us, it most frequently falls to his lot to be teased with questions regarding the weather, the wind, and the sea; and the steady apathy of his feelings, together with his excessive sang froid and unconcern, have heen subjects of remark— sometimes, indeed of vexation to us; for his utter insensibility to the circumstances calling forth our cares and alarms, has, occasionally, provoked us. During one of our perilous storms, the wind having shifted to a point somewhat less unfavorable, although still blowing a terrific gale, the usual question was asked—" Well, steward! how is the weather?"—" Squally, squally, gentlemen—the wind^s coming about— be fine weather soon" According to the feelings of this old tar, the severest tempests that we have suffered, were only squalls, for, in the midst of the most tremendous gales, his reply has always been, " Squally, a little squally, gentlemen."—" Are we making any way, steward?" "Oh yes, fine wind, quite free,'going large, make six or seven knots?—" But surely we have too much of this good wind, steward?"—" Oh, no! fine wind as can blow, gentlemen—but a little squally~-rather squally"

Our dinner ceremony is often rendered a humorous scene: at this hour the cabin being the general rendezvous of the party, we meet - crawl, trembling, towards the table, and tie ourselves in the chairs. A tray is set before us, with deep holes cut in it for the dishes, plates, and glasses; the table and chairs are lashed to the deck; yet one or other frequently gives way, and upsets half the things in the cabin! Presently enters the steward with soup, followed by his little slave with potatoes; and the servants with such other covers as there may chance to be. But scarcely are the things upon table, and the servants stationed, clinging to the backs of our chairs, before a sudden lurch of the ship tumbles all into disorder. Away go steward, servants, and little Mungo, to the lee corner of the cabin : the soup salutes the lap of one of us; another receives a leg of pork ; a third is presented with apiece of mutton or beef; a couple of chickens or ducks fly to another; the pudding jumps nearly into the mouth of the next; and the potatoes are tossed in all directions, about the deck of the cabin. One seizes his plate; another stops his knife and fork; some cling to the table, thinking only of saving their persons; this secures the bottle; the next, half fallen, holds up his glass in one hand, and fixes himself fast to his chair with the other. Plates, dishes, knives, forks, and glasses clatter together in all the discord of the moment. Every thing is in confusion. The ship now becomes steady for a moment; the scattered parts of the dinner are collected; and those who have escaped sickness, again attempt to eat. Some, foreseeing all these accidents, fix themselves in a corner upon the cabin-deck, and take the plate between their knees, fancying themselves in security: but, quickly, they are tumbled, in ridiculous postures, sprawling, with outstretched limbs, to the other side of the cabin. One cries out with sore bruises; another from being wetted with the sprays: this calls for help; that relieves his stomach from sickness: some abuse the helmsman ; others the ship; and others the sea; while all join in a chorus of imprecations upon the wind.

Source: Pinckard, Notes on the West Indies

Nelson's cabin floor or deck in the Victory was covered with canvas floor coverings and carpets, so in slightly less rough weather I guess that slowed down chairs a little from sliding about? Probably the best way to stop them was to sit in them! And I guess his steward had the duty of putting things straight again. I guess heavier furniture had to be lashed to the bulwarks, but lighter things like chairs would just need a cord round them to restrain them when it got rough.

All guesswork...

_________________
Tony


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:04 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 10:40 pm
Posts: 1088
Tony

Fantastic description of the realities of life on board in rough weather.

But surely such a chaotic scene couldn't have been allowed in an Admiral's cabin??!!

Is anyone planning a visit to the Victory - or the Trincomalee - any time soon? It would be an interesting question to ask one of the guides.

MB


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:30 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:11 am
Posts: 1376
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Mark,

Thanks for the info on the 'plaques' on the two chairs, with the date 1666 on one. The only event which springs to mind in that year was the Great Fire of London, although it can't be commemorating that – can it? :shock: Seeing the type of chair it is, perhaps dating furniture like it wasn't perhaps that unusual. After all houses and other items often had dates on them in the past.

As to your comment about rough weather and that such a scene couldn't have happened in Nelson's cabin, I'm certain the sea doesn't differentiate between persons – be they a ship's boy or an admiral!

I'm afraid I don't think I'll be going anywhere near either the Victory or the Trincomalee for the forseeable future. In the case of the latter, I unfortunately won't be attending the Nelson Society AGM later this month, when they will be holding the Trafalgar Dinner on board the Trincomalee (those that are lucky enough to get places that is.) :(

_________________
Kester.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Foudroyant
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:45 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:06 am
Posts: 2803
Location: mid-Wales
Here's a link to the sale of what appears to be one of the Foudroyant chairs.


http://blog.christiandaviesantiques.co. ... -1309.html

_________________
Anna


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by p h p B B © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 p h p B B Group