Recently John Howard sold this splendid bust of John Jervis (1735-1823), also known as Lord St. Vincent.
- Jervis was born in Meaford, on the outskirts of the Staffordshire Potteries. (Yay! I like him already.)
- His dad wanted him to follow in his footsteps and be a barrister, but young John ran off to join the navy at the age of 15. (Parenting is so unrewarding)
- In 1782, while patrolling the English Channel during the American Revolutionary War (remember that the French, of course, sided with the Americans against Britain), Jervis hit the jackpot: he captured a seventy-four gun French ship, the Pegase, and for simply doing his job he was knighted. To top it, Jervis also got a hunk of "prize money," as was common in those days.
- In 1795 (the time of the French Revolutionary War), Jervis was given command of the Mediterranean Fleet. His victory on February 14, 1797, against Spain (allied with France) at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent earned him rich prize money, and the titles Baron Jervis and Earl of St. Vincent. (so the tradition of hefty CEO pay is not a modern invention).
- Young Captain Horatio Nelson was Jervis's protege. He served under Jervis at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, and he too rose in rank, wealth, and prestige on the heels of Jervis's victory. (This prize money thing really burst my bubble. I always thought that our heroes were fighting purely for love of country. Alas, it was all about money.)
More importantly, Jervis was a brilliant military strategist, and he is remembered for transforming the Mediterranean fleet into a well disciplined and well equipped naval force. His victories were not luck. Rather, they were the end product of a lot of hard work.
So take a moment to look at the bust of Jervis again. Lovely, is it not? It is also a rather important hunk of pot because it bears the impressed mark HERCULANEUM beneath.
The Herculaneum Pottery in Liverpool is known for making small, well-modeled busts in various bodies, including stoneware, lead glazed earthenware, porcelain, and basalt. The bust resembles Francis Cotes’s portrait of Jervis, which may have assisted with its design. It has been suggested that Pierre Stephan modeled this bust. (Hyland, Herculaneum Pottery, 77).