A Heroic Icon Redefined

Althorp has a rich history of notable family members and none more so than George, 2nd Earl Spencer. It was he, in his position of first Lord of the Admiralty in the late 18th century, who promoted a young naval officer to Commander of the British Fleet in the Mediterranean. That officer was Horatio Nelson who would later triumph over the French at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson remains Britain’s greatest naval hero.

George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer

The iconic sword motif which adorns the pieces in the range is inspired by Nelson’s gift to Lavinia, Countess Spencer (seen below) of a sword captured in one of his early successes at the Battle of St Vincent.

Lavinia Bingham, 2nd Countess Spencer by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92). The original hangs in the South Drawing Room at Althorp.

Nelson wrote to Lavinia:


As you told me that Lord Spencer was in possession of a Spanish flag on which your ladyship seemed to set great value, I have taken the liberty of sending you the sword of Don Tomaso Geraldino, a Brigadier and Commander of the San Nicholas of 84 guns, which I request you will do me the honour of hanging in your dressing room, and which will at least have the novelty of being the first ever presented to a lady as an ornamental piece of furniture for her dressing room.

Believe me I shall never forget your and Lord Spencer’s kind attention to me.”

Horatio, Lord Nelson, as quoted by Charles Spencer in The Spencer Family

Nelson receives the surrender of the San Nicholas, Richard Westall (1765–1836)

The sword embellished galleries and hilts are forged in our own foundry, and finished by hand with meticulous detail.

The Admiralty Naval Campaign Desk

The Admiralty Naval Campaign Desk



Admiralty Lamp Table (detail)

Look out for a future range of furniture based on the distinctive legacy of each of the nine Earls Spencer and their specific achievements.

For all Althorp Living History furniture in the Admiralty range click here.

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