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.
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) Vice-Admiral & Victor of Trafalgar
Oil on canvas
height: 65.00 cm, width: 50.10 cm
Purchased from Christie's, 24 July 1980
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
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