Reidy, Denis V.
The Electronic British Library Journal (2007)
This article describes the circumstances of Nelson’s gift of a solid silver crucifix and two candlestick holders to the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, La Maddalena, Sardinia, in 1804.
In November 2005, two historians based in Sardinia, Giovanna Sotgiu and Alberto Sega, very kindly offered to donate to the British Library a book which had been sponsored and published by their local historical society, in Sassari, in 2003.
The subject of the book was the restoration project of three major pieces of altar plate, made of solid silver – a large crucifix, approximately four and a half feet in height, and two accompanying large candlestick holders, approximately three feet in height, also in solid silver, apparently donated by Admiral Horatio Nelson in 1804, the year before the decisive battle off Cape Trafalgar, to the parish priest, the church and the parishioners of the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena (St Mary Magdalen), one of the small archipelagos in the cluster of isles off the North-Eastern tip of the island of Sardinia and some twelve nautical miles, as the crow flies, off the southernmost tip of the island of Corsica. It was not commonly known that the Admiral had been in the vicinity of Sardinia, nor that he had made such a generous personal gift to the inhabitants of a small island off the coast of Sardinia. The book contained a wealth of information which should be publicized to a wider English-reading audience.