This memorial to Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, Nelson’s friend, companion and latterly the Governor of Greenwich Hospital, stands in the Chapel of the Old Royal Naval College.
It was made by the sculptor William Behnes, who had been appointed as “Sculptor in Ordinary” by Queen Victoria in 1837.
Behnes took a cast for the bust soon after Hardy’s death in 1839.
As this report in the West Kent Guardian following Hardy’s death explains, in taking his cast Behnes found a miniature of Lord Nelson which was placed in Hardy’s coffin.
The inscription on the bust is as follows:
TO THE MEMORY OF
SIR THOMAS MASTERMAN HARDY
BARONET AND G.C.B
GOVERNOR OF GREENWICH HOSPITAL
THE FRIEND AND COMPANION IN ARMS OF NELSON
EMINENT FOR JUDGEMENT
AND SELF POSSESSION;
EVER ANCIOUS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT
OF THE SERVICE
TO WHICH HE HAD DEVOTED HIMSELF;
EQUAL TO ALL ITS DIFFICULTIES AND DUTIES
AND CONVERSANT WITH ITS MINUTEST DETAILS.
THE NAME OF THIS GALLANT AND
WILL DESCENT TO POSTERITY
AS ONE OF THE NOBLEST ORNAMENTS OF THE PROGESSION
TO WHICH ENGLAND IS SO MUCH INDEBTED
FOR SECURITY AND RENOWN
DIED SEPTEMBER 20TH 1839
AGED 70 YEARS
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