Benjamen West's The Death of Nelson: laurenroyal.com
Today is the 208th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Lord Horatio Nelson defeated the combined fleets of Imperial France and Spain, and effectively ended the threat of any French invasion of England. We had a special show at the Bohemian Club seven years ago for the 200th Anniversary. I think it was the last event Dennis ever attended at the club until the reception after his funeral.
(But I guess he didn’t go to that – though I did have two large photo collages of him by the entrance of the main lounge.)
I bought a commemorative decanter of Pusser’s Navy rum and a pair of etched whiskey glasses for the 200th Anniversary, and also sent a pair to my Australian friend Jeffrey Hardy, then in Brisbane, Queensland. (He’s now in Manhattan.)
Jeffrey is a direct descendant of Captain Thomas Hardy, in whose arms Lord Horatio Nelson died after the battle. Because of that relationship, Jeffrey and his sister once had a private tour of HMS Victory at No2 Dry Dock at Portsmouth's Royal Naval Dockyard.
Tradition is that Lord Nelson’s final words were: “Kiss me, Hardy.” Jeff tells of two other versions: “Kismet (fate) Hardy;” or “Kiss me? Hardly!” Oh well, I guess we’ll never really know for sure.
Last year had planned a Trafalgar Dinner for tonight, in my combination Venetian-English-Napoleonic dining room. But Chris, the guest of honor, was visiting the BF in NYC. I was going to serve Beef Wellington, Napoleons for dessert with Pusser's rum served from a commemorative Battle of Trafalgar 200th anniversary decanter, and use my Wedgewood Longwood-House-Ivy service. It was especially made for Napoleon on Saint Helena. Dennis gave it to me --and particularly enjoyed the fact that Napoleon was forced to eat on English ivy stoneware, instead of Sevres porcelain decorated with laural wreaths.
Oh well, we'll reschedule. But I probably won't make Beef Wellington. I would have cheated with prepared puff pastry anyway. So I guess we'll have beef tenderloin.