Lord Nelson, 'single and double pendants', signed, ink
Lot 2Ω
Lord Nelson, 'single and double pendants', signed, ink
Sold for £32,265 (US$ 54,231) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Nelson (Horatio)
Chart of the “Single and Double Pendants”, issued to the fleet before Trafalgar, 1 page, oblong folio, addressed to “R. Redmill, Esqr. Captain of His Majesty’s Ship – Polyphemus”, and incorporating twenty-one hand-coloured drawings of the distinguishing flag pennants to be used [in the forthcoming battle], small section torn from lower margin, slight dust-staining and traces of old folds etc., “Given on board Victory off Cadiz, 10 October 1805”
signed ("Nelson & Bronte")


  • Captain Robert Redmill, C.B., R.N., entered the Royal Navy at an early age and was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant on 24th December 1783, presumably after service in the American War of Independence (1775-83) although no details of this are available. Promoted Commander in 1795, his first independent command was to the 14-gun fireship “Comet” in which he was present at Admiral Hotham’s indecisive action against the French Mediterranean fleet off Hyères, near Toulon, on 13th July 1795. Remaining in “Comet” throughout 1796, Redmill must presumably have acquitted himself extremely well since, on 16th December the same year, he was made Captain in what was clearly a very rapid promotion. From 1799 until 1802, he commanded the 64-gun H.M.S. “Delft”, a captured Dutch man-o’war, including the operations off the coast of Egypt from March to September 1801 for which he received the Sultan of Turkey’s gold medal. Appointed to the “Polyphemus” in the summer of 1805, Redmill fought in her at Trafalgar and received the official gold medal for the battle, the thanks of Parliament and a sword of honour from the Patriotic Fund to the value of £100. Relieved due to ill-health in 1806, he was created a Companion of the Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 4th June 1815 but died young in March 1819.

    H.M.S. “Polyphemus” was a third-rate of 64 guns built at Sheerness and launched on 7th April 1782. Measured by her builder at 1,409 tons, she was 160 feet in length with a 44½ foot beam and carried a crew of 500 men. Completed just as the American War of Independence was ending, she was laid up for much of the decade that followed until commissioned under Captain Lumsdaine in 1794. Present off Ireland during the ill-fated French invasion in 1796-97 and also at the battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1801, she was quickly in action again once the French Wars restarted in 1803 and captured a valuable Spanish merchantman laden with stores and specie in December 1804.

    Captain Robert Redmill was appointed to her command in the summer of 1805 and at Trafalgar, on 21st October the same year, she was positioned in Collingwood’s Lee column astern of the “Revenge”. During the action which followed, “Polyphemus” first engaged the French ’84, the “Neptune”, and then the 74-gun “Achille”, only leaving the latter when she surrendered. Acquitting herself well throughout the entire battle and during the tremendous gale which followed it, she then enjoyed a brief moment of glory when she took the flagship in tow and gently coaxed her into Gibraltar despite her battered condition. H.M.S. “Victory” had suffered terrible damage during the battle and was barely seaworthy when the gale struck; her crew however, refused to allow Nelson’s body to be transferred to any other ship with the result that the enormous responsibility of conveying the dead hero home for burial fell unexpectedly upon “Polyphemus” and Captain Redmill.

    Remaining in constant service until paid off in November 1812, “Polyphemus” ended her days as a powder hulk at Chatham until finally broken up in 1827.
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