Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy (1769-1839) served as Admiral Nelson’s flag captain and was with Nelson aboard the ‘Victory’ at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 on the occasion he was mortally shot. As Nelson lay dying on the deck, consoled by the Vice-Admiral, he made the famous utterance “Kiss me Hardy”.
Hardy’s Cuban mahogany writing cabinet is enclosed by a velvet-lined fall that opens to reveal two sliding shelves and six small drawers, with a further two secret drawers concealed behind the two upper small drawers. Brass carrying handles are attached to the sides.
The small escritoire was used by Hardy – placed upon a table – when he was at sea. The associated and incongruous pedestal was presumably added some time after Hardy’s retirement from service.