Rare Lord Nelson signature to be sold by Lyon & Turnbull

A wedding certificate from 1879, signed by Admiral Lord Nelson, is to be sold by Lyon & Turnbull Auction in Edinburgh with a £10,000 - £15,000 estimate.

The item appears in their 8th February 'rare books, manuscripts, maps and photographs' auction. 

Lord Nelson signed document to auction at Lyon and Turnbull
Image: Lyon & Turnbull


The single sheet piece of paper certifies the marriage of William Compton and Anne Bottalin abour HMS Foudroyant in the Bay of Naples, Italy, on 9th July 1799.

The then Viscount Nelson was Captain of the Foudroyant from 6th June 1799 until the end of June 1800.

It was at this time, whilst the Foudroyant was moored in Naples that Nelson embarked on his love affair with Emma, Lady Hamilton, wife of Sir William Hamilton, the Ambassador to Naples, with Emma becoming pregnant with Horatia in 1800.

The document reads:

"This is to certify that, on board the Foudroyant lying in Naples Bay, on the ninth of July 1799 the marriage between William Compton & Mrs Anne Bottalin, widow, was solemnized by me S. G. Comyn HM. Chaplain to the Right Honble Lord Nelson, H.M.S. Foudroyant, in the presence of."

It is then signed by Viscount Nelson and Sir William and Lady Emma Hamilton plus the additional signatures of Sir John Thomas Duckworth (Nelson's second in command), Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy (To whom Nelson's last words of 'Kiss me, hardy' were directed), John Rushout, 2nd Baron Northwick, Josiah Nisbet (Nelson's step-son who rescued him when he lost his right arm at Tenerife), John Tyson (Nelson's personal secretary) and the married couple William Compton and Anne Bottalin.

It's a remarkable grouping of signatures and especially rare to get those of Nelson and Lady Hamilton on the same document.

The provenance states the document has been passed by direct descent from the family of William and Anne Compton, and this is the first time that it has ever been offered for sale.

About your Author:

Adrian Roose has over 30 years’ experience covering all aspects of the rare stamp & memorabilia industry during which he has sold over £50m of unique items, helping build collections for Royalty, household name celebrities and 1,000s of collectors around the world.

Adrian was previously a Director at Stanley Gibbons, a Board Member of Stampex, and Executive Director of Paul Fraser Collectibles, PFC Auctions and JustCollecting, prior to founding The Memorabilia Club.

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