Details & Cataloguing

Of Royal and Noble Descent


An English stoneware figure of Nelson, circa 1800
modelled by Pierre Stephan, standing before a canon inscribed 'Nelson', the edge of the base inscribed 'Stephan. F', together with an alabaster medallion portrait of Nelson, moulded with half-bust profile, 19th century,
Quantity: 2
overall height 30cm., 11 7/8 in. high, the medallion 9.5cm., 3 3/4 in. long
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The Rev. William Nelson, Trafalgar House, Wiltshire;
Thence by descent;
London, Sotheby’s, Trafalgar: Nelson and the Napoleonic Wars, 5 October 2005, lot 86;
Where acquired by the owner.


Hilary Young, The Birth of the Ceramic Designer, British Ceramic Design 1600-2002, E.C.C., 2002, pp. 23-24, pl. 14.

Catalogue Note

This figure appears to be unrecorded in the literature. Two portrait busts of Nelson in biscuit porcelain and earthenware, modelled by Stephan, are in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. He also modelled feldspathic stoneware busts of Admiral Duncan and Earl St. Vincent for the Herculaneum Pottery in Liverpool. Closely related to the figure of Nelson are Stephan's models of Admiral Rodney and Lord Hood.

An example of Admiral Rodney, probably from the same series as the present figure, also incised with the modeller's name is in the V&A museum, London, museum no. C.134-1937. Hilary Young, op. cit., illustrates two black basalt figures of Rodney and Admiral Howe by Stephen, and an example of Rodney in pearlware was recently sold at Bonham's, 12th November 2014, lot 62.

Stephan is likely to have been of Swiss extraction. He is first heard of in September 1770 when he signed a contract with William Duesbury of the Derby Factory, agreeing to model and repair porcelain for three years. He also produced work for the Wirksworth factory in Derbyshire, for Wedgwood and for Coalport, as well as later occasional work for Derby. For a discussion of Stephan's career, see Hilary Young, Pierre Stephan; the career of a Derby modeller reviewed, Derby Porcelain International Society, Journal 4, 2000, pp. 83-93.

Of Royal and Noble Descent