Admiral Lord Nelson, Ottoman Diplomacy and the Chelengk Jewel

Martyn Downer

Lord Nelson’s diamond Chelengk or ‘Plume of Triumph’ is one of the most famous jewels in British history. Presented to the admiral by Sultan Selim III of Turkey after the Battle of the Nile in 1798, the jewel had thirteen diamond rays, to represent the ships captured at the battle, above a wreath (çelenk in Turkish) of enamel flowers centred with a rotating Ottoman star powered by clockwork.

Stolen from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich in 1951 the jewel is now lost, presumed destroyed. This talk will explore the history of the jewel, its political context in the often-fraught relationship between London and Constantinople in the late eighteenth century, and how a remarkable drawing recently discovered at the College of Arms has enabled an exact replica to be made.

Haughton International Ceramics Seminar 2018 at Christie's

G Haughton