Quill pen which Admiral Lord Nelson used to write his last, unfinished letter on board HMS Victory sells for £10,000
- Admiral Lord Nelson’s quill used to write unfinished letter has sold at auction
- Naval hero wrote love letter warning that the French and Spanish were coming
- The trimmed 8ins long goose quill pen has sold to unnamed buyer for £10,000
- The pen was even taken from Nelson’s writing desk by Captain Sir Thomas Hardy
The quill pen that Admiral Lord Nelson wrote his last, unfinished letter on HMS Victory has sold for £10,000.
Two days before the Battle of Trafalgar, the British naval hero sat down at his writing desk in his cabin and poured his heart out to his lover, Lady Emma Hamilton.
But it was not to be as Nelson was shot by a French sniper and died without finishing his letter.
The quill was consigned for sale by a private collector, who had owned it since 2005, with auction house Christie’s, of London and went for £10,000. The goose quill pen even has ink stains to its nib
The trimmed 8ins long goose quill pen, which has ink stains to its nib, was taken from Nelson’s writing desk by Captain Sir Thomas Hardy. It lay next to the unfinished letter.
He gave it to Major Robert Wright, of the Royal Artillery, who was then stationed at the Gibraltar garrison.
Two days before the Battle of Trafalgar, the British naval hero (pictured right) sat down at his writing desk on his cabin on the HMS Victory, left, and poured his heart out to his lover, Lady Emma Hamilton
He wrote at the time: ‘This pen was taken by Major Wright out of Lord Nelson’s writing Desk on the 2nd of Novr 1805 in the presence of capt Hardy of the Victory who desired him to keep it as being the pen with which his Lordship had written for the last time in the morn(ing) of the action.
‘It was lying beside an unfinished le(tter to) Lady Hamilton.’
The quill was consigned for sale by a private collector, who had owned it since 2005, with auction house Christie’s, of London.
The buyer’s identity has not been revealed.
Sophie Hopkins, of Christie’s, said: ‘Nelson’s quill transports us directly back through history to his cabin aboard HMS Victory.
‘He turns from a final letter to his beloved Lady Hamilton – with whom he maintained an epistolary relationship of incredible tenderness and passion – to face the advancing French and Spanish fleet, an engagement from which he would not return.’
Nelson was shot and killed by a French sniper while masterminding one of Britain’s greatest victories. The HMS Victory is pictured above in Portsmouth
In the unfinished letter, dated October 19, 1805, which resides in the British library, Nelson tells Emma he has been alerted that his ‘enemy’s combined fleet are coming out of port’ and he loves her and Horatia ‘as much as my own life’.
He adds: ‘As my last writing before the battle will be to you so I hope in God that I shall live to finish my letter.’
Nelson died onboard Victory on October 21, 1805. On his deathbed, Nelson wished for Emma and Horatia to be taken care of financially but his wishes were ignored.