Product images of Nelson's shirt
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This is the under shirt belonging to Horatio Nelson. The shirt is made of lightweight cream-coloured wool flannel. The skirt is of a heavier gauge wool flannel. The body is made of four panels, the seams are finished with a combination of cross and herring bone stitch in white silk thread. The right sleeve is cut short and the edge is finished with blanket stitch. The collar is edged with linen tape. The shirt fastens in the front with seven Dorset buttons which are supported by a strip of linen tape. The buttonholes are stitched into a wide stripe of cotton/linen tape. The right cuff is edged with narrow linen tape and fastens with a Dorset button. Inside the neck at the top is Nelson's laundry mark which features a coronet above the letter N done in cross stitch in black thread.
After Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805, his belongings were returned to his family. His clothing from his cabin was given, in a small bundle, to his sister Catherine Matcham. This undershirt was included in the effects that Mrs. Matcham receieved, it was passed down through the Matcham family. It should be noted that while it was amongst the clothing Nelson took with him to sea, he was not wearing at the Battle. This is an incredibly rare survival of an undergarment from this period. As clothing was very expensive and difficult to clean, and hygiene was not rigorously looked after, shirts and undershirts often took the brunt of wear.
- Image reference: F8592-005
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. All rights reserved. www.nmmimages.com. Accepted by HM Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Maritime Museum, 2008