Commemorative toasting goblet to Admiral Lord Nelson. c. 1805, United Kingdom
Owner: Norfolk Museums
Materials: Lead glass
Dimensions: 25.0 x 17.2 cm
The front of the goblet displays a profile of Nelson in his Royal Navy uniform framed by a double oval border. “Admiral Lord Nelson” is inscribed above the profile.
The rummer’s inscription and portrait mark it out as a commemorative symbol to the sacrifice of Admiral Lord Nelson. Born in Norfolk 29 September, 1758, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson died shortly after famously telling his men, “England expects that every man will do his duty,” during the Battle of Trafalgar October 21, 1805. His famous epitaph is represented on the glass.
The main damage to the vessel was structural. As of October 2014, it was in about 32 useable fragments with many small chips and glass dust. It appears as if the goblet was dropped or hit against the rim to the right of Nelson’s portrait, as fractures radiated from this point.
The object came into the conservation lab in 2013 in one piece (top). It had been reconstructed with a yellowing adhesive and fill. The previous conservator made the decision to take down the joins and re-adhere them with HXTAL NYL-1. Unfortunately, during the reconstruction process it became apparent that the HXTAL was contaminated and the already-cured joins were taken down with dichloromethane.
During careful handling for photography and examination, three large pieces of the glass which had been adhered with contaminated HXTAL in 2013/2014 detached from the body.
The glass was dry-fit with tiny pieces of tape on the outside of the vessel. HXTAL was placed along the joins on the inside of the rummer to prevent the epoxy from flowing under the tape. To further stabilize the heavy glass during the week-long curing process, the exterior of the rummer was wrapped in Parafilm.
A large area of loss around the rim was filled with HXTAL (in-progress, right). The resin was built up in layers against a Tiranti Silicone Mould Material backing. The final surface was polished with successive layers of MicroMesh and plastic polish. Finally, a thin layer of HXTAL was added over the top to replicate the glossy surface.
In the final result, the joins can be seen but they are much less noticeable than the original, yellowed adhesive. The glass is stable and able to be handled safely.