Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) Vice-Admiral & Victor of Trafalgar
Mezzotintpublished 17 December 1798
About the work
Lemuel Francis Abbott painted Nelson while he was recovering in Greenwich from the loss of his right arm. The original portrait was commissioned by William Locker, Lieutenant Governor of Greenwich Hospital and a friend of Nelson’s. A second version was painted for Lady Nelson and probably the third or fourth for Alexander Davison, Nelson’s agent. This print, one of many based on Abbott’s portraits, was made after Davison’s painting.
About the artist
Portrait painter Lemuel Francis Abbott was the son of a clergyman and was born in Leicestershire. He studied briefly with the artist Francis Hayman but was largely self-taught. By 1784 he had settled in London, where he became well-known for portraits of naval officers, his most famous sitter being Nelson (examples of his portraits of Nelson are in the National Maritime Museum, National Portrait Gallery and Scottish National Portrait Gallery). In 1798 Abbott was certified insane, according to one account the result of an ‘ill-assorted marriage’. He never recovered, although portraits by him were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1798 and 1800. Abbott died in Clerkenwell, London, in 1802. He is thought to have left a son.
Engraver Richard Earlom was born and died in London. He studied under Italian artist Giovanni Battista Cipriani but later taught himself to engrave in mezzotint. In 1765 Earlom was employed by Boydell to make a series of drawings from paintings at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, which Earlom also engraved in mezzotint. His subjects include fruit and flower pieces after Dutch artists Van Os and Jan van Huysum, and historical and figure subjects, such as ‘Agrippina’ after Benjamin West and ‘Love in Bondage’ after Guido Reni. Earlom also engraved works after Johan Zoffany and Sir Joshua Reynolds. In addition, his series of 200 mezzotint facsimiles of the drawings and sketches of Claude Lorraine was published as ‘Liber veritatis’ between 1777 and 1819.
- Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (1758-1805) Vice-Admiral & Victor of Trafalgar
- published 17 December 1798
- height: 53.20 cm, width: 38.80 cm
- Purchased from Colnaghi, July 1952
- GAC number