Imperial Order of the Crescent -Ottoman Embroidered Star, Admiral Nelson
The Ottoman Imperial Order of the Crescent, or Hilal Nişanı, instituted by Selim III in 1798 to reward Admiral Horatio Nelson for his victory at the Nile. At the time all Ottoman decorations were solely for Muslim subjects, and the Ottoman Sultan wanted to recognise Christian foreigners who had served the Empire. Other notable recipients of the Order include Admiral Lord Keith, and French diplomat Sébastiani de La Porta.
Knights of the First Class were to wear a breast star such as this along with the sash and badge appendant of the order. There were many variants of this star, with both Turkish and European makers and a variations by the year of issue. Examples can be found of red, blue, and yellow ovals in the background. We have reproduced Nelson's yellow Order of the Crescent, worn on a number of his uniform coats. There are also variations due to the fact that recipients of foreign orders often have copies made by European makers.
As with many foreign orders, strict protocol was not always observed. The prescribed way to wear the order is with the star to the right, however, many wore it with the star to the left, which would be considered "upside down." Examples of it being worn to the left can be found on a number of Nelson's uniform coats, including his Trafalgar coat, and in Tassaert's portrait of Sébastiani de La Porta.