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About the object
A Poetical Translation of the Works of Horace, with the original text, and critical notes, collected from his best Latin and French commentators. By Philip Francis, D.D. In four volumes. The seventh edition, revised and corrected.
Printed for A. Millar in the Strand, published in London, 1765; 4 vols., 16mo., contemporary binding in full tan calf, with gilt titles on spines, raised bands. Each volume with armorial bookplate of Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson and signed ‘Horatio Nelson’ in the hand of William, later first Earl Nelson (1757-1835).
Philip Francis (c. 1708-1773) was an Anglo-Irish clergyman and writer, now remembered as a translator of Horace.
Recent research has identified about seventy volumes once belonging to Nelson’s library of which seventeen are known in private libraries and public collections such as the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth.
The titles range across subjects from religion, including several bibles and prayer books, through professional texts such as signal books and atlases, to travel, politics and history.
Many of the surviving volumes display Nelson’s armorial bookplate which was printed in two versions.
These copies show the Admiral’s earliest known bookplate designed following the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797 when Nelson adopted the stern view of San Josef - the Spanish warship he captured at the action in a daring boarding manoeuvre - as his heraldic crest (see San Josef keg page 16).
Following the Battle of the Nile, when Nelson was raised to the peerage, his coat of arms was re-designed in voguish landscape style and augmented with an additional crest designed as the Sultan’s Chelengk (see Nelson’s Chelengk page 32).
In addition to the bookplates, each volume has been named for Horatio Nelson by his brother the Reverend William, later first Earl Nelson. As a child Horatio Nelson was known familiarly as Horace, after his godfather Horace, second Lord Walpole of Wolterton (1723-1809).
Published when he was seven years old, this edition of the works of his namesake, the Roman poet Horace may have been a family gift to Nelson before he attended school at Norwich.