Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) Vice-Admiral & Victor of Trafalgar

Leonardo Guzzardi

Oil on canvas

1799
  • About the work

    This portrait shows Lord Nelson shortly after the Battle of the Nile (1-3 August 1798). Attached to his cocked hat is the chelengk, a decoration presented to Nelson by Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Selim III, in honor of the Battle. A wound over Nelson’s right eye, sustained during the battle, is clearly visible. He also appears thin and emaciated; an indication of his poor health at the time. Soon after the victorious battle it was resolved that a life-size, full-length commemorative portrait should be painted of the great commander. The commissioning was delayed until the wound over Nelson’s eye had partially healed. The artist selected was Leonardo Guzzardi, who may have been attached to the Neapolitan Court. Guzzardi was also appointed to paint replicas, like this example. The original, full-length work is thought to be that commissioned by Sir William and Lady Hamilton, which was presented to the Admiralty in 1948.

  • About the artist
    Leonardo Guzzardi, about whom very little is known, was probably an artist attached to the Neapolitan Court, which evacuated from French occupied Naples to Palermo in December 1798.
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  • Details
    Title
    Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) Vice-Admiral & Victor of Trafalgar
    Date
    1799
    Medium
    Oil on canvas
    Dimensions
    height: 65.00 cm, width: 50.10 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Christie's, 24 July 1980
    Inscription
    none
    Provenance
    Collection of Mrs Crawley and Miss Violet Woodhouse (purchased in Portsmouth in c.1930); bequeathed to Crawley’s nephew, Esme Strachey; by whom sold through Christie’s, London, 'Fine English Pictures' sale, on 24 July 1980 (Lot 123; with a book: 'Nelson and His Times' by H. W. Wilson); from which sale purchased by the Government Picture Collection
    GAC number
    15080