Book Launch and Talk: Martyn Downer

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Yunus Emre Enstitüsü-London

10 Maple Street

London

W1T 5HA

United Kingdom

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ARTS & CULTURE LECTURE SERIES-11-

"Admiral Lord Nelson and the Ottoman Sultan's Diamond Chelengk"

By Martyn Downer

Date: Thursday 21 February 2019

Time: 7 pm

Venue: 10 Maple Street, London, W1T 5HA

FREE ADMISSION but registration required via Eventbrite!

Please note, this event is highly popular so seating cannot be guaranteed even if you register, only entry.

Abstract: On 1 August 1798 British Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson won an extraordinary naval victory when he destroyed a French fleet anchored at the mouth of the Nile River. The defeat cut off a French army commanded by General Napoleon Bonaparte which had invaded Ottoman Egypt. To reward Nelson for defeating his enemy, Sultan Selim III sent an Ottoman military decoration called a Çelenc or ‛Plume of Triumph’ made for the admiral in diamonds and with thirteen rays to represent the French ships captured or destroyed at the battle. A wreath of enamelled flower heads surrounded a diamond star which was made to rotate in wear by clockwork.

Nelson was thrilled with his glittering Ottoman ‘Chelengk’―the first awarded to a non-Muslim recipient―and wore it on his naval hat like a turban jewel. It was his most precious possession and after Nelson’s death at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the jewel passed down his family until it was purchased for the National Maritime Museum in 1937 by which time many of its fragile elements such as the enamelled flowers and clockwork movement had been stripped off. Stolen from the museum in 1951, the famous jewel is now lost, presumed destroyed.

In his talk, Martyn Downer will tell the extraordinary story of Nelson’s lost jewel and how it was recently recreated in a London workshop.

Martyn Downer is a historian, author and specialist dealer in objects, papers and artefacts relating to Admiral Lord Nelson. A former director of jewellery at Sotheby’s London, he is an author of four books including Nelson’s Purse (2004) and Nelson’s Lost Jewel (2017).

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Yunus Emre Enstitüsü-London

10 Maple Street

London

W1T 5HA

United Kingdom

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