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The Nelson Bullet 1805

Lead, silk, silver, glass, gilt metal | 5.0 x 7.5 x 2.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 61158

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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  • A single lead shot or musket ball, mounted, with some remnants of gold lace from Admiral Nelson's uniform, beneath glass in a hinged silver locket with a gilt-metal ropework border and suspension loop. The glass of the locket acts as a diminisher so that the shot appears smaller than actual size. The shot is about 15 mm in diameter and weighs about 22 grammes (412 grains), the weight of a contemporary French musket ball.

    This shot or bullet is the one which killed Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson was shot through the shoulder by a French marine from the mizzen-top of the Redoubtable. The shot was extracted from the wound by William Beatty, surgeon on board HMS Victory at the time, but it had caused fatal damage to the Admiral's lungs and spine. The shot was still fused to lace from the epaulette of Nelson's jacket. It was mounted for Beatty into a locket which he is said to have worn for the rest of his life. On Beatty's death it was presented to Queen Victoria.
    Provenance

    The shot was mounted for William Beatty in 1805; presented by Beatty's family to Queen Victoria in 1842.

  • Medium and techniques

    Lead, silk, silver, glass, gilt metal

    Measurements

    5.0 x 7.5 x 2.0 cm (whole object)

  • Category
  • Alternative title(s)

    Lead shot mounted in a locket