©National Archives

Detail of colour sketch of Nelson's funeral cortege on the Thames in January 1806, showing the boat carrying his coffin up the river.

Horatio Nelson was born in 1758 and is one Britain's most famous naval heroes. He is best remembered for his activities during the French Revolutionary War and the early years of the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1805).

From 1803 Nelson was in command in the Mediterranean and blockaded Toulon for two years. However, the French escaped in March 1805 and Nelson spent the next six months tracking them, fearful that Napoleon's plan to invade Britain might finally come to fruition. He eventually caught up with the combined French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar, near Gibraltar. Although the Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a famous victory for the British fleet, Nelson was mortally wounded by a sharpshooter.

The item shown here records Nelson's funeral on 8 January 1806. He is buried at St. Paul's Cathedral, London.