Boulton’s Trafalgar Medal, by C. H. Küchler, 1805; silver (frosted proof, in watch-glass case)
Boulton's Trafalgar Medal, 1805
In the eighteenth century the Royal Navy became the largest in the world, with a global reach. Earl Spencer, First Lord of the Admiralty, reformed the Navy in the early years of its epic struggle with the French that culminated in Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar. After that final victory in 1805 the prominent Birmingham industrialist Matthew Boulton distributed Boulton’s Trafalgar Medal, at his own expense. Bronze medals were awarded to sailors and marines present at the battle, and a few gold and silver medals were made for presentation to ladies at the court of George III.
The medals all share the same design, which shows a view of the battle, with Nelson’s signal ‘ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY’ above.
The Watson Collection includes one in each metal, but the silver is here featured, partly because of its pristine preservation within a watch-glass, and partly because of the interest of that particular form of display.